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When is it the right time to replace that old Press Brake?

Updated: Mar 29

When is it the right time to replace that old Press Brake?

We have all been there, sitting and pondering over the idea of getting rid of your old press brake. When your throughput is not what it should be and you are starting to encounter different types of production problems, it is time to make a new press brake a priority. Some of the common problems that indicate it is time to look at a new press brake include:


1) Annoying hydraulic leak and oil on the floor 24/7

2) Displays no longer working, possibly needing parts you can no longer find

3) Setup times longer than the norm

4) Inexperienced operators (or the lack of operators)

5) Software sitting on the shelf that you may not be able to use with that current machine.


So many times, I see Hydraulic Machines leaking, and we tend to nurse them way too long before we eventually get fed up. There is an extra strain on the budget because of the daily costs of nursing older machine. And with soaring prices in oil, now could be time to look at an Electric Brake or possibly a Hybrid (Dual Drive System) where the oil needed for daily operations is slim (20 gallons on the Mitsubishi BH) to none (on the Mitsubishi BB).


Displays and controllers most certainly get out of date, man sometimes we cannot even see them! Not to mention that some are older and can’t be fixed or replaced. I know, I get it, Retrofit - Retrofit – Retrofit! Sometimes retrofitting is not the answer, as it could potentially decrease the production of the machine. In addition, retrofitting or using out of date controllers may make it more difficult to train or slow down the onboarding of newer or inexperienced operators.


Setup times longer than the norm. I have seen many older brakes where everyone has a different setup card (Paper Index Card) for setting up that XYZ Job. Sometimes I have seen a difference of an hour or two, I kid you not! So giving operators the ability to store programs notes on the controller is a big plus - I give that a big thumbs up. Your throughput will rise on that new machine simply because your operators are all using the same set up and you can store more programs at the machine. Just imagine adding the capabilities of offline bending software.


Software is my last point. Most older machines and controllers can not and will not accept programs from offline bending. When you add software to the mix, BOOM! You will eliminate wasted production time due to trial and error at the machine. No more tying up your laser to cut 5 more pieces to practice your setup just to get it right. This brings me to what I read the other day about Know Before You Bend.


1) Know you have a Workable Design

2) Know you have an Accurate Flat Blank

3) Know you have Tools for The Job

4) Know you have A Good Program and Setup


I hope this gives you something to think about, it’s good to get another view.

Dean Fowell

BluTec Machinery





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