Tooling Setup Automatically For Press Brakes
Tooling Setup Automatically For Amada Press Brakes made in china
When it comes to bending automation, the focus used to be just on robots that handled the material and part manipulation during the bending sequence. Today a new generation of press brakes with automated tool changers and no robots in front of the press brake are starting to gain the attention of fabricators.
Sometimes it’s hard to see something even when it’s right in front of you.
Normally the automated press brake bending equipment was purchased to produce a high-volume part for a customer in the transporation industry.
Once up and running, the press brake was a testament to speed and accuracy. The machine tool just produced quality part after quality part.
Even with the tooling nearby and an experienced operator in front of the press brake, setup is going to take some time. A job setup that requires numerous tools to be placed in the press brake for staged bending could run 15 to 30 minutes easily.A less experienced worker realistically could take a lot longer to do the same job.
The automated tool changer on the robotic press brake, however, doesn’t demonstrate great variabilities in the time required for tooling setups. A complex setup requires three minutes.
“What if you have 20 different configurations to run over a shift?” “One guy is going to get a small amount done because of that setup time, but the other guy is going to get it all done because of the automated setup.”
Even with the addition of a tooling station, the Amada HG 1003 ATC does not require a much larger footprint than a typical press brake without the additional storage. This unit has a total length of about 20 ft. and a width of about 10 ft.
CNC Synchro Press brake Tooling to the Side
Amada displayed its HG 1003 ATC servo-hydraulic cnc press brake at the FABTECH® 2014 show in Atlanta. Like on the Astro robotic multi axis cnc press brake, the automatic tool changer sits to the right of the press brake operator, facing the bending brake; unlike on the Astro, the operator handles the blank as it is being bent.
The manual press brake with automatic tool changer has been available for about many years .
The very nature of today’s fabricating, with short runs and varied jobs, was putting more pressure on metal fabricating shops’ bending departments. Metal Fabricators were trying to create tooling layouts that maximized product throughput, with several setups on the same length of the press brake bed, but these complex setups could take more than 30 minutes to pull together. Tooling changeover on the Amada CNC Press brakes HG 1003 ATC occurs in three minutes.
The Amada press brake relies on four manipulators (two for the punches and two for the dies) to transport tools from the storage area to staging in the press brake. When a job is started, the manipulators remove any tooling that may already be in the press brake bed, deliver it to storage, retrieve the required tooling, and place the punches and dies in their precise positions.
The storage area can accommodate about 86 feet of tooling. The top has enough room for 15 punch stockers, and the bottom can hold 18 die stockers.
The CNC synchro press brake also has a feature that rotates the stockers if a fabricator wants the tooling to be installed in a reverse orientation. This way the press brake operator gets to use both sides of something like gooseneck tooling with a simple programming command.
The specific Amada cnc pressbrakes had a 23.5-in. open height and was working with punches that were about 8.5 in. tall, a situation suitable to accommodate fabrication of deep boxes. The press brake bending tooling that comes with the automated tool changer is designed specifically for use in the press brake, but also is tailored around the fabricator’s most frequent bending jobs. The press brake could accommodate operations such as hemming, but most fabricators aren’t going to include specials as part of the tooling in the tool changer. This changer is set up for throughput, not special jobs.
Press brake bending Tooling in the Rear
LVD’s contribution to the automated tooling setup discussion is its ToolCell, which made its debut at the 2012 EuroBLECH sheet metal working technology tradeshow in Hanover, Germany. At the 2014 FABTECH, the company featured the ToolCell 135/30, which references its 135 metric tons of power (150 tons) and 3,060 mm (10 ft.) of bed length.
These units have been solid in Europe, Asia, and Australia. LVD’s Tony Marzullo, director of engineering, said he believes that North American fabricators will jump onboard with this approach to lean manufacturing as they have to remedy the bottleneck that is the bending department.
The LVD ToolCell has enough tool storage to fill up the 10- or 13-ft. length of press brake beds on its two models.
At this point, press brake bending tool change becomes very significant, Now you have a sheet metal bending&folding machine that can do the bending tool change automatically while your operator can be moving material. Instead of the tool change becoming part of the setup, it is now being taken care of while he prepares for the next job.
By the time he gets there, the machine is ready too. All of the press brake bending&forming tools are lined up.
The LVD press brake stores the tooling in the area on the other side of the forming window from the operator .The “tooling stadium,” as company literature describes it, holds about three rows of punches and seven rows of dies.
The unit’s press brake bending back gauges actually double as the robotic arms that remove tooling, store it, and place new tooling in both the upper and lower sections of the press brake bed. The machine’s backgauges are designed with specialized fingers that allow the arms to grip the tooling for precise placement.
The press brake tooling is also designed to be used with this type of machine. The punches have a button on them that the robotic grippers depress so that the tooling can be placed in the ram. The dies have a groove on them that helps the gripper locate and precisely place the tooling.
If the metal fabricator is doing staged bending on the machine, all of the tools are located in the right location.The first time they go to bend the part, no adjustment is needed. The press brake bending tools are exactly where they need to be. They are immediately bending the first part efficiently and effectively.
The press brake tooling change on the press brake is typically done in 2.5 minutes. He said the company continues to work to optimize that process.
Other automated press brake bending tooling systems have been introduced, and others are likely to emerge in the coming years. The desire to keep up with production demands, while also finding technology that is the right fit for existing shop floor conditions, could push fabricators to consider this type of press brake design.
With these potential benefits comes additional cost, obviously. These aren’t stripped-down press brakes machines. They have the latest bend correction technology, which helps to deliver quality first-piece parts even when working with challenging materials; crowning correction systems, bending angle measurements; and state-of-the-art controls to guide the most inexperienced operators through a complex press brake bending job.
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