10 Things You Need to Know About Press Brake Machines

Press brake machines are versatile industrial tools used for bending sheet metal. The machines come in various sizes, and can be used for jobs ranging from complex intricate bends to simpler angles and curves. Here are 10 things to know about press brake machines.

1. How Do Press Brakes Work?

Press brake machines use hydraulically-powered metal clamps or pincers to push sheet metals against upper and lower hardened dies, bending the sheets into the dies’ angles and shapes.

2. Types of Press Brakes

Press brake machines come in two main types: mechanical and hydraulic. Mechanical presses rely on physical force from a flywheel to bend the material while hydraulic presses use oil pressure to apply more precise force.

3. Uses of Press Brakes

Press brake machines are used to produce stamped sheet metal parts such as brackets, plates, and channels. They are also used to form industrial components, such as exhaust pipes and vehicle body panels.

4. Safety Considerations

Using a press brake comes with certain safety risks, including crush hazards, pinch points, noise hazards, and flying metal debris. Employers should take precautions, such as using guards to protect workers from pinch points, and provide workers with the proper safety gear, such as goggles and earplugs.

5. The Benefits of Using Press Brakes

Press brakes offer increased levels of precision and accuracy over manual forming methods, resulting in faster turnaround times and reduced waste. Press brakes also have low noise levels during operation, making them safer to use compared to other methods of metal forming.

6. How Are Press Brakes Powered?

Most press brakes are powered with either electric or hydraulic motors. Electric motors provide a high level of accuracy and are not as noisy as hydraulic motors, but they require additional components such as electrical wiring and switches.

7. Features of Press Brakes

High-quality press brakes come with a range of features that can make them easier to use. These include digital readouts to measure the angle of the bend, adjustable stops to keep the upper and lower die in correct position, and pre-programmed settings for frequently performed tasks.

8. What Is a Throat Depth?

A press brake’s throat depth is the distance from the bed to the center line of the bend. The throat depth determines how thick materials the press brake can work with.

9. What Are Press Brake Tonnage Ratings?

Press brake tonnage ratings measure the machine’s capacity. The capacity is expressed in the amount of pressure (in tons) the machine can generate.

10. The Price of Press Brakes

Press brake machines range in price from around $2,000 to over $100,000, depending on the size and features. Used press brakes are also available and may be a cost-effective option.


Press brake machines are invaluable tools for metal bending projects. Understanding the different types of press brakes, their features, and their associated safety risks can help you select and use the right machine for your application.

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