FABRICATING Bend Tooling
keys to extending bend
In a world of tight budgets and
ever-stricter customer demands,
extending the life and quality of your
bend tooling is more imperative than
How exactly to do that, however,
depends on a number of factors,
•;The type and thickness of the
material you’re bending.
•;Your customers’ surface quality
•;Your dies’ tonnage capacity.
•;Your faithfulness to simple
Extending your bend tool and
die life also depends on if you
maintain dedicated sets of tooling
for each of your press brakes and
how much you’re willing to invest in
tool hardening — induction or laser
hardening, for example.
Whatever your mix of
considerations, with traditional
tooling generally running $2,000
to $4,000 per meter, it’s worth your
time to keep your tool sets useable as
long as possible.
That starts with simply preventing
and mitigating the premature wear
that turns too many tools into scrap
before their time.
“The number one cause of tooling
wear is abrasion — you can’t get
away from that,” says Tom Bailey,
TruBend product manager for
TRUMP, Farmington, CT. “The
single best thing you can do to
extend tool life and prevent wear is
to keep the tool lubricated.”
decreased die wear and less demand
on the machine’s hydraulics, gears
or servos. For some light gauge
material, the answer might be as
simple as a layer of WD- 40. Heavier
sheet or plate may require a heavier
oil. However, for some applications,
such as stainless steel appliances, oil
won’t pass inspection. In that case,
coating tools with a hard nitride,
increase tool life, but also cost up
to 25 per cent more than standard
tooling. Other options include
specialty coatings like Wilson Tool’s
Nitrex, which is applied as part of a
heat-treating process that hardens
tools to 68-70 NRC. It also increases
the lubricity of the tool without
adding to the thickness of it (like
an anodized or nickel-plate coating
might) because it permeates the tool
By LincoLn Brunner
Wilson Tool LVD style press brake tooling.
Steve Brown says induction hardening
provides more endurance to the tool.
Bailey says keep
to extend life.
Tooling on Bystronic's Xpert press
brake. Frank Arteaga advises that most
production tools be surface hardened.