Introduction to Brake and Shear Machine Tools

Press breaks and shears are two of the busbar machine or machines used in fabricating things out of metal.

A press break is used for bending sheets, while the shears is utilized to cut, trim or clip metals.

A press break is your sophisticated version of your manual break used in your metal sheet bending needs. In terms of the application of force, a press break can be categorized as mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic and servo-electric.

Mechanical press breaks were used until the 1950’s in the advent of more sophisticated technology which includes computerization of machines. This development led to the creation of hydraulic machines and hydraulic press breaks started to become popular. Hydraulic breaks are reliable, accurate, use little energy and are safer.

More technological advancements paved way for pneumatic and servo-electric presses which are used for bending metals with lower tonnage. Pneumatic press brakes are commonly used in the industrial sites where production efforts are not that high. On the other hand, servo-electric presses are designed for high precision because of their programmable working speed.

There are several things that you need to consider when buying a press break, one of which is the size and capacity. You must have an idea as to how large is the largest material that you will be dealing with and multiply it by two or three times.

A small press break is capable of bending metals under 25 tons (tons of pressure per meter of length). Thus, if you will be working with hundreds of tons of raw materials with more that 10 feet of working length, then go for the large models.

If you are a neophyte in the business, consult technical people who can give you an idea of what you will be up against before making your final purchase.

Other than bending metals, another common fabricating process is cutting or shearing metal sheets using the shears. The advantages of the shears are its ability to cut flat metal sheets in a straight line and its flexibility in making relatively small cuts. This is made possible because the blades of the shears can be mounted in a certain angle that reduces the force required.

Materials that are commonly sheared are aluminum, brass, bronze and steel. Shearing can be done on metal sheets, strips, bar, plate and even angle stock.

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