Sheet metal bending has been making the rounds among industries, especially with the popularity it enjoys, which is closely linked to processes that are environmentally friendly and produce fewer waste materials. Also, there have been new and improved methods of conducting sheet metal bending, including tools that are made available for process simulation. But if you’re unsure about the process, here’s a quick rundown of the basics of sheet metal bending:
What is it?
Sheet metal bending involves applying force to a piece of sheet metal (hence the name of the process), which in turn causes that metal to bend to an angle, forming the desired shape. This is usually done on a machine known as the press brake, which can either be operated automatically or manually. Today, there are a lot of options when it comes to buying sheet metal brakes; brands like Baileigh offer them in various sizes and models to accommodate the unique needs of different users.
What is it for?
Some widely known uses and applications of sheet metal bending include the construction of cabinets, aircraft and automobile panels, and house structures. Customization of sheet metal parts so that they can fit into varying sizes and configurations is a usual sight in sheet metal fabrication, as well. As such, there has been much clamor for more modern bending press tools, such as modern press brakes. Automatic tool change systems, offline programming, bend sequence simulation have also been on the rise. While some of these pieces of equipment are costly, they help industries deliver sheets based on the required specifications.
What else can be done?
Many sheet metal bending issues nowadays involve individual parts, which some modern equipment may still find hard to solve. Fortunately, a lot of studies have already come up with algorithms for multi-part setup planning for sheet metal bending processes. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, for one, already worked out how to generate shared setups, so that batch production environments’ operation time is optimized.
Another innovation introduced is the V-model of the VDI guideline 2206, which was proposed by Damerow et al. five years ago. This innovation can help industries take corrective action during processing, as well as reduce setup time and scrap rate.
The next time you see panel benders, press brakes, and the likes, note that sheet metal bending undergoes a lot of processes and that it has a lot of applications. There is an art and science to it, as it involves both precision and organization. With various methods in place such as slotting, bottoming, and even working in cuboids, this article only barely scratches the surface about sheet metal bending. But at least, you now have a basic knowledge of what it is, where it is used for, and how it may help you if you face metal fabrication or aluminum and stainless steel problems someday.