Tooling Factors and Safety
O;line press brake so;ware can determine the bend sequence and, in most cases, gives you the opportunity to override the sequence if necessary. Additionally, these so;ware packages automatically select tooling from a library that
reflects current tooling inventory. Some so;ware packages also allow you to
expand the automatic selection to include the library from your preferred tooling supplier. You can use this instant feedback to make decisions using accurate,
current tooling data. This vital tooling data also can be used to adjust project
budgets and account for any lead time required to receive additional tooling.
If you have a tool that is close to what the part requires, what repercussions
will this have on the part and possibly the fit of the assembly? You can now run
the simulation, check for collisions, and adjust accordingly. If a tooling change
is required, press brake so;ware will make changes to the metadata on the part
and send it back to the design system, such as Solid Works® or Autodesk® Inven-tor®.
Consider Figure 1, in which the original design and flat pattern specifies a dimension of 22.735 by 29. 34 inches. A;er the engineer selects the tools, so;ware
sends that information back to the 3-D model and flat pattern. In this case, the
tooling alters the overall dimensions to 22.593 by 29.114 in., a change that significantly a;ects the finished part and assembly. To take the scenario a step further,
an engineer can select a bend on a part right in the assembly and compare it to
the tool library for the press brake during the design process (see Figure 2).
The technology also allows you to make decisions about secondary costs.
Could you combine multiple parts that were made separately into one? This
would save time, eliminating fixturing and welding. Being able to run a 3-D
simulation will allow you to form the part virtually and check for collisions. If
the simulation reveals a collision, you can resolve it by changing up the bend
sequence or by altering the way in which the backgauges are used.
Would it benefit an operation to purchase additional tools? Perhaps a custom
tool could bend an o;set or hat section in one hit. Do the brakes on the floor
have the tonnage for such an operation? Would there be any gauging or collision
issues? How much time could that tool save? Simulation so; ware could provide
answers before any tool is purchased or made.
An additional consideration with 3-D simulation is press brake safety. You
can scrutinize safety hazards using visualization tools, which include collision-checking capabilities. For example, press brake operators viewing the simulation will see if a part will hit the top of the press brake at the end of a bend,
allowing them to take precautions when forming the part.
According to the original design and flat pattern, the part has an overall dimension
of 22.735 by 29. 34 in. Unfortunately, the shop’s available or preferred tooling cannot
form this part from a blank of this size.
A;er available tools are selected, the e;ects of those tools are fed back to the 3-D
model and flat pattern, including the new bend radius (shown at top). This changes
the overall flat-blank dimension from 22.735 by 29. 34 in. to 22.593 by 29.114 in. The
simulation then proves out the new process.