Offline software and tools


Why you need any additional software, pay money for it if you have the same in your CNC control? The answer is simple enough – besides operator there could be other people who need to work with bending technology. All manufacturers of CNC machines normally have the software as offline package to install at different place for preparation of programs for the machine. It could be necessary first of all for engineers to develop and project the part and to leave to the operator the standard work to control the machine. For small companies engineer and the operator could be the same person but if there is the engineers department usually there are different people with different work tasks. Moreover on the market there are independent software manufacturers to offer independent software packages for the most common machinery. For example, for press brake market there are around 5 manufacturers to sell the software with nearly the same possibilities.

At first as we said the software is great to offer the programs preparation outside of the machine. At second software can increase the possibilities of the machine as well, for example to make 3D simulation of press brake bending if it is CNC control only with 2D visualization possibilities. Or to perform auto-nesting (optimization of parts position on the sheet metal to reduce the percentage of waste part) for CNC cutting machine – laser, plasma or waterjet. At third somebody could require some separate functions, for example to go to the tool library to verify the availability of necessary tooling for the new order.

It is also clear that outside of operator and engineer there are other staff to check the production flow, machine status control and availability of production for the order. Even sales manager should know how to calculate, for example tonnage for the press brake in production to understand if it will be enough to perform the order. Sure thing in future with the grow of Industry 4.0 of these questions will be fully integrated – customer will get the information about the machine, if the tooling is necessary the order will automatically go to the purchase department and software will allow to run immediate production of possible and the drawing doesn’t need the intervention of the engineer. But today all the actions are separated and to realize them all in the most convenient way – is the task for software to present all necessary functions for necessary departments. Today mostly offline software is the engineering software to make the program but it is sure that tomorrow the winner of the competition will be the manufacturer who will implement inside more and more necessary management and production flow functionality.

For what do you need the punching products?


Usually all are interested what is the application for this or this technology. Let us talk about punching… Very small explanation – punching is a process of metal fabrication with the use of punch which goes with the necessary force inside the part to perform the cutting. As you can understand punch has the geometry of hole so the hole will be the same as the punch. The force to perform the punching called punching force or necessary punching force if you want to calculate what tonnage you need for your task.

We speak about sheet metal punching as the main process but there are more similar processes: tube or profile punching, structural parts punching etc. Punching is performed for sheet metal with the use of punching press which could be general just as the unit to perform the hit of punch and low positioning of die, stamping press which is usually the part of forming process or coordinate punching press – press with the table where the part of sheet metal will be positioned where it is necessary to make the punching.

Punching press is the most used technology for sheet metal together with laser for metal cutting. The differences are that the punching press needs punching tool for the work and laser – not. Punching tool at least has two main positions – punch as the tool to perform the hit and the die on the low position to support the material at the working area. Punching is the cheapest technology to make the holes at sheet metal.

What is it for? It is clear that in general there no final products after punching at all. But the punching is the main operation to get the unfolded part for future bending. And after the bending it will be the product for lots of different applications: electric or other equipment metal cabinets, metal furniture units, metal boxes, safes, arms boxes, metal shelfs, panels for elevators, architecture and design, metal doors, bar and restaurant kitchen furniture, ovens, medical furniture etc. The other part is perforation – process with the making of lot of same holes in the sheet. The use of them could be the architecture panels or panels to perform the normal ventilation, for example top panels of the subway or railroad wagons.

Press brake tools from Italy


Historically Italy had a big quantity of separate press brake manufacturers. Lots of them are unknown outside of Italy; lots of them closed, came to bankruptcy or were sold so today Italy lost the big potential and the leading place for press brakes manufacturing.

In spite of this Italy has the top place for the production of press brake tools with the dozens of strong and professional companies, known worldwide. Good quality, competitive prices, short delivery times make Italian tools the powerful competitor even against the Asian products. Hundreds of brand names including the press brake machines manufacturers are used for sale of Italian tooling all over the world. Why Italy is so powerful on this market even today? Together with the heavy background it is necessary to say Italy is one of the strongest players for different metal parts production by turning, milling and grinding operations.

As the country of lots of private and family businesses Italy grew with the growing of small workshops (in Italian “Officina meccanica”) and even today there are huge quantity of Italian sub suppliers for different kind of products. So finally press brake tools are the one of the final products which had a start in workshops. Horizontal cooperation also helped to grow – for example today almost all manufacturers of press brake tools use one or two the same partners to make the tool hardening outside of the main production.

The last word is the technical school. Italians like engineering, want to be engineers and have a lot of engineers to achieve the power at the industrial market. Without any doubts – tooling “Made in Italy” is the mark of the quality.


Combination sheet metal punching machines


Thirty years ago all leader manufacturers for sheet metal machinery sold laser and punch combination machines. The advantages of such machinery are incredible high – you have a standard punch with fast speed and standard punching tools but some travels or cuts could be made my laser. In this case you are free with any part solutions – you do not need to punch the edge as the straight line but can do any wave or other figure cuts without any problems. Do not have the right tool to punch? You do not need to order it if the time is limited – run the laser. This more interesting machine for jobshop production with different orders – you can’t know what tools you should need for the tomorrow order but you can do it.

From other hand the maintenance of combination laser-punch machines was also high. You have tools, you have hydraulic for the punch, you have laser and all beam transfer system together with necessity for all gases. Moreover the price for this types of the machines was really expensive so it will be necessary to calculate very well the price for the laser freedom possibilities.

Next thing is punching and shear cutting combination machine. Operators usually understand what is the duration of life for slitting punching tool, their costs and how long it could be in high production. So to speed the time punching and shearing machines are used to perform the side cuts not with the punch but with the blade. This technology gives the boost of speed but for sure costs of such machines are very high for investments. Market for this kind of the machines is very low because these machines are perfect if the production is with thousands of equal pieces every day. But for mass products like refrigerator panels, washing machine sides, electrical cabinets etc. the solution is perfect.

New generation machines came together with the start of fiber laser integration. Together with modern, powerful and high-speed servo electric punching technology the installation of fiber laser is much easier because of the simple way from the source and the maintenance for this kind of the machines much more simple. So the new combinations of punch and laser system are really powerful units with low consumption, green technologies and the same effective use for different style of applications.