“Old Reliable” should be stencilled on the side of every press brake in the world. Press brakes are, without a doubt, the sturdiest, strongest, and most dependable bulls in the pasture. It is common when searching for used press brakes to find many of the top brands like Amada and Cincinnati with vintages from the 60s and 70s still kicking and in great condition. This is because press brakes have only one function: bending metals.
Press brakes have a simple operation: Secure the workpiece on the bed and the ram will descend upon it, using its tonnage to accurately bend the metal to the specified degree. The different types of metals commonly fabricated by these machines include steel, aluminium, brass, and sheet metal. Press brakes are rated by their pressing capacity (tonnage) and the bed length, which dictates the overall length of your workpiece that can fit in the bending zone. Tonnage capabilities range anywhere from 25 tons all the way up to 1,000 tons. The smallest bed lengths start at four feet, whereas the longest beds can reach a length of almost 30 feet.
There are four types of press brakes:
The two most common brakes used in nearly all contemporary machine shops are mechanical and hydraulic. Mechanical brakes dominated the industry until the 1950s when advances in technology introduced computer controls. This made the hydraulic brakes much more popular and user-friendly.
If you have lower tonnage requirements, mechanical brakes should be at the top of your list of machines to invest in because they are simple to maintain and will not break the bank. If your shop is bending very thick metal, you will need higher tonnage capabilities. In this case, go with a hydraulic press brake. It's the most powerful and efficient type of machine for larger jobs using thicker metals.