Press brakes have a tendency to last a long time and resist depreciation. The press brake industry, however, continues to make improvements to the control systems technology. This presents a decision for shops between keeping old press brakes that are still functional or making an investment for the up-to-date press brakes.  Training new operators on the older control systems may be difficult and waste time and resources.  However, purchasing an entirely new press brake while you still have a functional one may also be wasteful.

Retrofitting

An article in Fab Shop Magazine Direct describes a method to keep costs low but the technology modern. Retrofitting is the process of installing new controls and software to old press brakes. This is a cost-effective way to keep your machinery competitive. There are several companies that can help you with this process. Cybelec, a Swiss manufacturer of numerical controls, produces the ModEva RA, a flat-console touchscreen control unit, onto which Metamation installs its RA Software Interface.  This retrofit offers many advantages including the abilities to:

  • Run 2D and 3D CAD files that are unusable with the old press brake controls.
  • Modify 2-axes backgauges to provide full 5-axes functions.
  • Facilitate interactions between engineering and programming departments with an integrated computer network.

Options

Depending on which type of machine you have, some machinery companies offer a retrofitting service.  For an example of retrofitting, this Amada RG25 CNC press brake was retrofitted with an Amada NC9EX (3 Axis) control system.

amada-rg-25-pic

Retrofitting an old press brake to install a more updated control system is an economically efficient solution to balancing cost and technology.  This may be the best option for you to get a competitive edge in your shop without investing too much in an entirely new machine.

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