If you are in an industry where metal fabrication holds a key part of the operation, then you have definitely heard about bending machines.
Since the bronze age, people have been involved in bending and shaping metals for various purposes. With the range of services that steel fabrication offers, it was evident that we needed to go above forging and hammering. Technology has advanced, and we now have different types of bending machines that apply precision force for bending, rolling, and stamping metal with ease.
Market research says that the automated bending machine market is projected to reach a staggering $3.37 billion by 2032, up from its value of $2.17 billion as of 2022. The numbers show that these machines have greatly influenced various industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, automotive, building, and construction.
We have come up with this comprehensive guide on bending machines. Explore with us their importance while receiving insights on different forms so you can make the right choice.
What Is a Bending Machine?
A bending machine is a versatile tool that is used to bend and shape workpieces as per the purpose of use. It serves as both a press and a bending machine, adapting to various materials and shapes.
For example, certain types of bending machines can directly process sheet metal without the need for additional clamping tools. On the other hand, some bending machines rely on clamping devices to secure the metal sheet during processing.
These machines use specialized bending tools that apply pressure to the metal plate to generate the appropriate form. A dependable bending machine’s body and tools are made of strong materials that can handle high amounts of pressure without breaking.
Bending machines are critical in industries such as manufacturing, construction, and automotive. That’s because they’re capable of offering accurate shaping qualities for a variety of applications.
What Are the Functions of a Bending Machine?
A bending machine is basically a forging machinery that plays a key role in sheet metal processing, especially for large sheets. Its functions range from bending and stretching to rounding and punching metals. So you can imagine the possibilities it offers across industries- light industry, aviation, shipbuilding, metallurgy, instrumentation, and more!
The workbench, made up of a base and pressure plate, sits on the bracket. The base connects to the clamping plate through a hinge mechanism. Within the base, you’ll find essential parts like seat shell housing and coil structure that are covered with protective plates.
All these elements make sure that when metals are placed between them for bending purposes, they can be securely held in place while receiving force from the machine. When the wire is connected to the coil, it creates an attractive force on the pressure plate. This forces the thin plate to be clamped between the pressure plate and the base.
Because the system uses electromagnetic force binding, the pressure plate can be shaped to fit a variety of workpiece needs. It can also process pieces that have side walls. You can replace the bending machine mold and can meet your diverse demands.
What Are the Main Components and Structure of the Bending Machine?
We already talked a little about the critical components of a bending machine while mentioning the functions. Let’s dig deeper and find out more about those:
The bend die is also known as the bend form or radius die. It’s a major part of rotary-draw bending machines. The bend die shapes the tube during the drawing process to achieve the desired bend. You must choose the right type of bend die as it directly affects how well the tubes conform to specific radii.
If you’re working with pipe bending applications that require tight bends with small radii, selecting a suitable high-quality bend die becomes even more important.
The clamp die is responsible for pressing the tube onto the bend die. So it ensures that there is no slipping during operation. This particular part provides stability and accuracy to achieve precise bends in metal tubes or pipes.
Suppose you are utilizing a pipe bending machine to make delicate forms or angles on a stainless steel pipe. The clamp die binds it tightly to the bend die to avoid any movement that may result in mistakes.
The primary function of a pressure die is to ensure that the tube or sheet metal accurately follows the bend die’s contour. This specific part applies consistent and even pressure throughout the bending operation, resulting in precise bends. Think of it as a guiding hand that ensures uniformity and accuracy in each bend.
A wiper die is positioned right after the bend die, and it primarily prevents the formation of humps in the inner radius.
During the bending process, the material becomes plastic and starts to deform. That creates wrinkles and larger deformations. However, by incorporating a wiper die after the bend die, these issues can be effectively dealt with.
For bending steel and aluminum tubes, the mandrel helps achieve satisfactory results. Its primary objective is to keep the tube from collapsing during bending, ensuring precise and consistent bends every time.
It becomes necessary for more challenging tasks such as bending small radiuses or working with thin tubes or harder materials. Suppose you’re trying to bend a delicate tube without a mandrel. The tube collapses under pressure, ruining the entire process. That’s where the handy mandrel helps!
What Are the Different Types of Bending Machines?
From pipe benders to press brakes, a variety of bending machines are available. Each of them has designated functions and purposes for industries that prefer metal fabrication.
Pipe Bending Machine
A pipe bending machine is a valuable tool used for shaping metal pipes and profiles into different shapes. Typically, these machines are designed to work with square or rectangular profiles made of thick metals.
The process involves stretching the material using friction between the pipes and the bending tools. Pipe benders also perform operations like swaging, flaring, and crimping. To ensure smooth bending, drawing oil can be applied between the pipes and the tools. That’ll reduce friction and prolong the life of both.
It’s capable of handling different materials such as stainless steel, iron, copper, aluminum, titanium, and carbon steel. With this machine, you receive uniform curves without worrying about external collapses or internal folds. Pipe benders find extensive use in construction projects like buildings, highways, railways, bridges, etc.
Metal Sheet Bending Machine
It’s an incredibly versatile tool that’s used to shape sheet metal into specific profiles. When using this machine, the metal sheet is placed on the lower die of the workbench and pressed by punches. The power system drives the movement of the slider, causing the punch to move downwards. That results in precise bends!
This type of machine can bend not only metal sheets but also pipes at any desired angle. Sheet metal bending machines are ideal for processing larger workpieces that may be too challenging for other machines to handle. The clamping shaft securely holds each workpiece in place. At the same time, folding arms swing in an arc motion to achieve perfect flange angles.
Plate Rolling Machine
The pyramid-type mechanical marvel called the plate rolling machine is designed for bending and forming metal plates. It’s equipped with a motor and gear system, and the bottom roller powers its rotation. Meanwhile, the upper roller can be manually adjusted up and down to achieve the desired bending radius.
One notable feature of the steel plate bending machine is its double-sided pre-clamping device. It’s a unique structure that allows both bottom rollers to clamp the workpiece securely in place. Also, there are hydraulic cylinders that lock down the upper roller firmly via these two lower rollers.
When it comes to bending metal plates, the press brake is the go-to machine. It offers accuracy and speed while processing workpieces in bulk. You can find different types of press brakes available, and they are usually powered by hydraulic or mechanical systems.
The secret behind the precision lies within the three shafts of its rear gauge. They provide control over stroke length and bending angle. So whether you need precise bends for automotive parts or intricate shapes for architectural elements, a press brake can handle it all with ease.
Mechanical Bending Machine
A mechanical bending machine allows for precision customization according to your specifications. That’s because it does not use stationary dies like traditional bending machines.
The accuracy of a mechanical bending machine relies on factors such as material properties and the degree of bend required. With different types available, let’s explore two popular options:
- Sheet Metal Bending Machine: This type bends sheet metal based on radial length and width limitations determined by its length (L). Some models even have automated features that can calculate reduction amounts and pre-bend lower roll lengths.
- Hydraulic Press Brake: It utilizes hydraulic systems for upper die movement. Hydraulic press brakes save time and labor while offering versatility across various applications. Enjoy easy operation with safety measures like fully guarded footswitches!
Want to achieve optimal results? When choosing a mechanical bending machine, always ensure it aligns with your specific requirements.
Hydraulic Bending Machine
The hydraulic bending machine consists of a workbench, support, clamping plate, and pressure plate. The clamping action can be controlled manually or automatically using a foot pedal. Inside the machine’s base, there is a movable coil. The coil is energized by a wire attached to a hydraulic cylinder.
One of the advantages of using this type of bending machine is its flexibility and portability. It offers cost-effective solutions compared to conventional machines while easily handling both small and large pipes. In industries like automotive, chemical production, and more – where precision bending plays an important role – hydraulic bending machines are highly sought after for their versatility.
Another variation, known as the hydraulic press brake, utilizes mechanical blocks operated by hydraulics instead of coils. It ensures effortless bends in metal parts.
What Are the Advantages of a Bending Machine?
A bending machine offers numerous advantages that make it an essential tool in the metal fabrication industry. Here are some key benefits:
- Increased Efficiency: Bending machines can handle repetitive tasks with speed and precision. Simply put, it improves production efficiency.
- Cost-effective Solution: By automating the bending process, companies can reduce labor costs and minimize material wastage.
- Versatility: These machines are designed to work with a wide range of materials, such as sheet metal, pipes, tubes, and plates.
- Consistent Results: Bending machines have precise control over bends and angles. So they can ensure consistent quality in every piece they produce.
- Improved Safety Measures: Bending operators have minimal direct contact with hazardous processes like sharp edges or high-pressure systems.
What Are the Different Forms of Metal Bending?
- Air Bending: It’s a way to shape things by pressing a punch into them.
- Bottoming: In this process, a piece of sheet metal is pressed against a V-shaped bottom die.
- Coining: During coining, the hole and the bottom of the object are on the die.
- Three-point Bending: You need a movable die to do three-point bending, which is a fairly new way to bend metal.
- Folding: This method changes the shape of sheet metal parts by cold forming them along straight lines across their whole length.
- Rotary Draw Bending: In this cold bending method, the piece is clamped to a spinning bend die and pulled around it.
- Compression Bending: One older way to bend is called compression bending. It is often used on building sites to bend rebar or electrical cables.
- Elastomer Bending: In this process, a flat pad made of urethane or rubber is used instead of the bottom V-die. The urethane bends as the punch shapes the part, letting the material form around the punch.
Apart from these popular methods, there are wiping, roll bending, roll forming, and stretch bending that are handy and effective for specific roles!
Understanding the different types of bending machines will greatly benefit any industry that requires metal fabrication. From pipe bending machines to press brakes and plate rolling machines, each machine serves a specific purpose in creating precise bends and shapes.
Fab-Line Machinery specializes in providing high-quality metal fabricating machinery, including press brakes, that can meet your unique requirements. We offer a range of products so you can easily find the perfect solution for your bending needs.
Upgrade your manufacturing process with state-of-the-art bending machines from Fab-Line Machinery today! Contact us now or browse through our website to see how we can assist you in maximizing efficiency and productivity with top-notch bend solutions!