Press Brake Buyer’s Guide: 4 Principles, 7 Factors to Consider

For companies planning to purchase a new type of press brake, the manufacturers can offer a variety of pricing with different controllers.

But experience shows that it is not easy to consider the overall situation. Then which type of press brake to buy?

The ideal way is to analyze your own needs and place them in the core position of the selection process.

And where should these considerations be started? The following press brake buying guide might be helpful for you.

Principles For Choosing Press Brake

Four principles should be followed when choosing press brake:

CNC Hybrid Press Brake Machine


  • Principles#1: The precision used in the operation of the mechanical system.

In principle, it can be argued that the error of the radius is physically unavoidable, so the point is how much deviation can be accepted by the user.

Slightly less accurate for simple parts is acceptable, but most parts often require high precision, especially in the case of continued fabrication after bending.

  • Principles#2: How flexible new machinery must be.

The wider range of the parts, the more species, then the more requirement for flexibility of the press brake machine.

In other words, for economic reasons, the press brake in the hardware and software operations must be very simple.

Even when the order changes frequently and is rarely repeated, the adjustment time can be minimized.

  • Principles#3: Need to determine the production capacity and size of the press brake machine.

From the dimensions of the part, the pressure, bending length, stroke and structural height must be measured

  • Principles#4: It is advisable for the prospective buyer to consider carefully from the end-use of the machine, the possible deflection of the known machine, the bending radius of the part, etc.

Factors To Consider Before Buying Press Brake

7 Factors You Should Consider Before Purchasing Press Brake

Press brake and other CNC equipment are different in aspect to processing field and technology, so as the manufacturers, you have to take full consideration (including the application, deflection, bending radius of parts, etc) before you made the decision to buy a press brake.

Bending Work Station

As the decision-maker, you gonna have the responsibility to understand the performance, processing range, function, precision of press brake.

This is not the trivial matter because once you made the wrong decision, your production cost will surge and your cost recovering gonna be an impossibility.

Therefore, before making a purchase decision, you should carefully consider the following 7 factors that can help you make the right decision.

1. What parts you gonna produce?

7 Factors You Should Consider Before Purchasing Press Brake


The point is you need to purchase one press brake which can help you finish the processing task, rather than the one with the shortest worktable and the minimum tonnage.

Check the types of steel sheets as well as the max thickness and length. If it’s low carbon sheet metal with max 3mm thickness and 2500mm length, then the free bending force has no need to exceed 80 tons.

Regarding how to calculate the press brake bending force, you can read this article.

However, if you need to process a hollowing block at the bottom, probably you should consider purchasing one press brake with about 150-ton force.

If the sheet metal is low carbon steel with 6mm thickness and 2500mm length, then you should purchase a 100-ton press brake.

If you need to bending sheet metal with a hollowing block at the bottom (bottom bending), then you gonna need a large CNC press brake.

If the sheet metal is about 1250mm or shorter, then a smaller CNC press brake should be choosing, even half above size.

In this way, your purchase cost will decrease a lot.

You should remember that the length of sheet metal is one of the key factors for you to choose a suitable press brake.

2. Deflection

Fig. 6 Long parts bending and crowning


During the bending process, especially bending those long workpieces, the CNC press brake must have deflection.

The longer of the workpiece, the larger deflection of the press brake.

Under the same load, the deflection of those press brake which processing 2500mm sheet metal is four times than those processing 1250mm sheet. That is to say, the shorter press brake with less gasket adjustment will make qualified products. Reducing the adjustment of gasket also helps short preparing time.

The good thing is, most CNC hydraulic press brakes have already added the hydraulic deflection compensation function during the manufacturing process, which is helpful for reducing the operator’s adjustment of machines. Meanwhile, it improved the accuracy of bending as well as production efficiency.

The hydraulic deflection compensation function is controlled by the CNC system.

Hydraulic oil enters into a compensation oil cylinder via a magnetic servo valve, and pushes the worktable upward. At the same time, the deflection compensation force increased with the bending force of the press brake, which plays the function of deflection compensation.

3. Texture of the materials

7 Factors You Should Consider Before Purchasing Press Brake

Compared with low carbon steel, the bending force needs to increase by about 50% for stainless steel. But for soft aluminum sheet metal, the bending force will decrease by 50%.

You can get the standard bending pressure parameters from CNC press brake manufacturers.

The following datasheet shows the bending force which will be needed for 1000mm sheet metal with different thicknesses and materials.

Air Bending Force Chart - Mild Steel
Air Bending Force Chart - Stainless Steel

There is one quick way to calculate the bending force which is required by your press brake. To use our online press brake bending force calculator to calculate the required press brake tonnage.

4. Bending radius of the workpiece

press brake bending radius

During the bending process, the bending angle radius of the workpiece should also be taken into consideration.

The bending radius is 0.156 times compared to the V groove opening dimension.

During the free bending process, the dimension of V groove opening should be 8 times larger than the thickness of the metal sheet.

For example, if use press brake with a 12mm V groove opening to bend 1.5mm low carbon sheet metal, the bending radius should be 1.9mm. If the bending radius close to the thickness of the metal sheet or less than it, then the bottom hollowing mold should be used. However, the pressure will be four times larger than free bending.

For air bending, please pay attention to the clearance between the punch and die at the bottom of the stroke, and the resilience of when bending sheet metal with 90°.

Generally, the air bending mold will generate less than 2 degrees’ resilience angle on the new press brake. And the bending radius equals to 0.156 times of down mold opening distance.

Thus, for common free up and down bending processing, the mold angle will be 86°-90°.

At the bottom of the stroke, there should have one clearance which is slightly larger than the thickness of sheet metal.

5. Bending Angle

Press Brake Toolings


The reason why the angle of punch improved is that larger bending tonnage of hollowing block dies been used (4 times bigger than air bending mold).

This is helpful for reducing the resilience force within the scope of the bending radius.

Coining is the same as air bending.

The only difference is the front end of the punch been turned into the bending radius which gonna be needed.

Meanwhile, the resilience force is avoided because the clearance between the punch and die at the bottom of the stroke is less than the thickness of sheet metal, plus enough pressure force (10 times than air bending), the front end of the punch will contact with the sheet metal.

In order to choose the press brake with the lowest tonnage, you better choose the one with a bending radius larger than the thickness of sheet metal. And choose air bending because a large bending radius will not affect the quality of finished products and will ensure the long service life of the press brake.

6. Bending accuracy requirement

7 Factors You Should Consider Before Purchasing Press Brake


It is just the factor that determines you choose CNC press brake or common NC press brake.

If the accuracy requirement is ±0.5 degrees and can’t be changed, then you should put your eye on the CNC press brake. The repositioning accuracy of the ram can be controlled at ±0.01mm.

So for those highly precise finished products, you have to choose such a press brake with high accuracy and good performance.

However, the ram’s repositioning accuracy of NC press brake is about ±0.5mm. Under the proper condition of the punch, it still will cause ±2~3 degree deviation.

Besides, CNC press brake always equipped with a CNC controller for quick punch installation and clamping. If you need to process many small parts, then this factor has to be your first consideration.

7. Punch and die

press brake punch and die


Press brake toolings are been used for forming sheet metal and have a direct influence on the accuracy of the bending process.

Therefore, the punch and die should be checked carefully.

The tool has a variety of shapes, different punches and dies are been used for different parts.

In order to get the desired shape of the parts, the physical properties of the materials are mainly been changed through the molding.

It is a tool for making the blanks into parts with a specific shape and size under the influence of the press brake bending force.

Press brake standard mold can be divided into punches and dies, for sheet metal stamping and separation.

The forming mold has a cavity and the separation mold has a blade.

Press brake dies generally use T8 or T10 steel, and some better toolings use the 42CrMo material.

It requires high strength, high toughness and good wear resistance.

Cold work dies steel Cr12MoV is also a good material.

While 42CrMo is a high strength alloy quenched and tempered steel, with high strength, good toughness, and can work below 500 degrees.

Besides, the wear of each mold must be checked by measuring the length of the punch from front to the shoulder and the length between the die shoulders.

For conventional molds, the deviation per foot should be around ± 0.001 inches and the total length deviation should not be greater than ± 0.005 inches.

As for the fine grinding toolings, the accuracy per foot should be ± 0.0004 inches, the total accuracy should not more than ± 0.002 inches.

It is best to use fine grinding molds for CNC press brakes, and conventional molds for manual press brakes.

Final thoughts

After working in this field for so many years, I know how important it is for the end-user to buy one good press brake machine.

Here I say “Good” not just mean the quality, also include good price, good after-sale services. I’ve seen many people buy press brake machines from those small factories without services, once the problem comes, the seller always chooses to disappear.

I’ve seen some agents lose a lot of money just because they choose the wrong supplier.

So pls spend some time to do your homework first before making your decision to work with the seller.

You will find that the time you spend is worth it.


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