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How to choose the hydraulic press brake machine for your shop?

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The old adage about choosing “the right tool for the job” applies not only to your toolbox but also to your workshop or shop. Any machine – be it a plate bending machine, a bending machine, a profile bending machine, or a hydraulic press – should be chosen wisely.

Air bending process
Air bending

Choosing the wrong bend for a factory risks losing your investment. For your benefit, always choose the right press brake tool for your workshop and the job at hand. There are many factors in the operation of a press brake, and choosing the right one can be difficult. To help you make the right choice, keep in mind the following five basic attributes.


When we buy any piece of equipment that needs to be powered by electricity, we should and must declare to the supplier the availability of electricity in our workshop.

Details include electrical standards: voltage, and frequency.

The most important thing is capacity, and a high-capacity press brake will most likely require you to change your electrical wiring.

To rule out limitations or safety issues, first, check electrical system compatibility. Make sure your electrical system supports your press brake’s power needs, or find ways to increase your power supply.


Any machine such as a plate bending machine, press brake machine, or profile bending machine, first needs the installation space of the machine (this is the three-dimensional space: length, width, height), and then the working space.

The working space must meet the normal activity space for the operator to operate safely and the storage space for the workpiece. It is recommended to purchase machines suitable for your workshop space and height.


The right press brake tooling improves quality, efficiency, and productivity—and even prevents machine damage and accidents.

The best-case scenarios with incorrect tooling result in more set-up time, additional processes needed to get accurate bends, or lost productivity. In the worst-case scenarios, the wrong tooling can do short- or long-term damage to the machine, or even damage parts and cause accidents.

You can be prevented with the right press brake tooling chosen specifically for the project at hand—and, in many cases, for future projects. Press brake tooling can be versatile enough to be used for multiple metal forming jobs or custom enough to make a large run of parts efficient and profitable.

What is the material being bent?

The type of metal you use most often is a significant factor in choosing a press brake. You may work with all sorts of metals, but you should pick a machine that specializes in the material you use most often.

knowing 5 factors of the material being bending

Bending parts correctly—and consistently—means knowing various aspects of the material being used for the job, including such things as:

  1. Tensile Strength: This is how resistant the metal is to failure—specifically breaking—under tensile stress while being bent or stretched.
  2. Yield Strength: is the most stress that a metal can take before permanently changing shape, whether during fabrication or in practical use as a component.
  3. Springback: this is the amount a bent piece of material returns back towards its original shape following being bent. (This is why operators will overbend an angle, knowing that the workpiece will relax back a couple of degrees when the pressure is taken off.)
  4. Ductility: This is the capability of the metal to be stretched without becoming weaker. It is perhaps best measured by elongation, which is the percentage of the original length of the metal that can be stretched until it reaches the point of failure.
  5. Hardness: which is how resistant the metal is to penetration, as measured by the Rockwell scale or similar test.

5 Types of Axes On The Press Brake

There are 3 main types of axis controlled by the CNC on a press brake and while many more axis can be added these 3 categories are the basics that every fabricating shop using or thinking of purchasing a press brake should know.

Generally speaking, you’ll gain more precision with your end product by having more axes available for use. A higher number of axes also helps the end user complete projects that initially sound easy, but require more complicated bends as you proceed. Determine the average needs of your client base to find out exactly what type of press brake you need.

Type 1#: Y axis

The Y axes can be found on a synchro machine and is broken down onto the Y1 and Y2 axis; they work independently on the top tooling to control the left and right cylinders. These give the top beam an incredibly even drop and can be adjusted independently for complete control to keep the beam level.

Type 2#: A axis

If work pieces are heavy, then crowning becomes a serious issue, the A axis helps to alleviate the risk by making adjustments across the beam symmetrically. The A axis adjusts the entire beam but focuses more on the middle, to counteract bowing.

Type 3#: Z axes

Broken down into the Z1 and Z2 axes, both can be independently programmed. If you are working with small parts on your press brake, or need to frequently adjust the width of its fingers then the Z axes can be programmed to save the time swallowed up by manual adjustments for each different bend.

Type 4#: R axes

Here, the R axes controls the backgauge’s bar height up or down. Invaluable if you plan to put a bend into a piece, then another bend further into the same piece. The R axes can be broken down into R1 and R2 axes for complete backgauge control, ideal for tilting and more bespoke work.

Type 5#: X axes

This axis controls the backgauge forwards and backwards. If you need to measure flange length as you bend, a press brake with an X axis is invaluable. When the inserted sheet touches the backgauge, then the correct point to begin bending has been identified. The X axis can be broken down into X1 and X2 axes for complete backgauge control, similar to the R axes.