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The Basics of Sheet Metal Bending

By Roberto Leoni

Sheet metal bending refers to the process of changing the angle of a metal sheet and giving it a new shape. The process can turn a sheet of metal into a "U" or a "V" shape, or into other shapes as required.

The sheet metal bending machinery comes in two styles:

1. Moulds Bending

This process is used when a large number of small-sized sheets are required to be bent into complicated structures.

As a thumb rule, if the required quantity exceeds 5,000 pieces per year and if the size of the sheet metal does not exceed 300mm X 300mm, then it is best to create special punch moulds for this process to save time, money and work repetition.

These moulds can be either U or V shaped. If these moulds will be used quite regularly, then a company should acquire fillet moulds.

2. Press Brake

Press brake can process large sheets of metal. It is used for a large percentage of the sheet metal bending jobs.

These press brake machines can be the traditional or the CNC version of the machines. The CNC version is used to bend the metal sheet into irregular or unequal shapes, while operating under a very specific plan. The CNC machinery uses bending tools such as the up dies and down dies to form various shapes from the metal sheet. CNC press brake machines have their benefits. They move quickly, are quite accurate, convenient to clamp on top of being simple to use. There is a drawback to this process this type of press brake can only make simple shapes out of the sheet metal. However, there are more advanced versions of the CNC machinery that have been designed to overcome this drawback.

How sheet metal is formed into a shape

The upper die is also called the bending tool and determines what the shape is made with the sheet metal. The down die is the support the upper die's shape as the upper dies pushes into the sheet metal. The shape for the down die is determined by the shape of the supper die as well as the desired product's shape.

Sheet Metal Bending Machines can Handle Various Materials, of Varying Thicknesses

Depending on the sheet metal machinery, the metal can be bent from inside to outside, from a small shape into a larger shape, from a simple to a complicated shape, from creating metal into a shape and then ensuring uniformity of all the manufactured pieces, etc.

Above are some basic facts of bending metal sheets. This is used most commonly in industries such as medical tables, airplanes, building roofs, automobiles and other such types of industries. This machinery can work with lots of different materials such as steel, iron, copper, aluminum, nickel, tin, gold, titanium, platinum, silver and more. Sheet metal bending also is beneficial to the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry.

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