Cleaning Press Brake Tooling
As you bend metal on a press brake, you cause mill scale to flake off of your material, particularly when you are working with black iron. Regardless of what material you are bending, dust and debris will come off of the metal and will work its way down under your dies. Even if you are bending aluminum, there are fine particles along the cut edge that will break off. Any material coatings, rust-proofing chemicals, and built-up resin will also flake off during bending.
All of these particles are continually building up in and around your tooling, getting compressed and stuck to it. If you aren’t changing your tooling often — or even if you are, but don’t clean it in between uses — you can significantly affect the accuracy of your press brake. For example, if enough dust collects to change your press brake tooling height by two thousandths of an inch, you might throw off the accuracy of your bends by as much as two degrees.
Wiping oil — which can collect dust — and mill scale off of your tooling as you are changing it can make a huge difference in the long run. Besides cleaning the working surfaces of the tooling, you should also clean underneath your bottom die and wipe off the top part of your upper punch (where it seats to the machine). It is also a good idea to keep your tooling clean to sight on the exposed surfaces as you are using it.
Seating Press Brake Tooling
Another issue that can affect your press brake tooling is seating. As you load and unload your tooling, make sure it is seating correctly. The upper tool should be seated under a little bit of tonnage to make sure it’s up where it’s supposed to be. You also need to periodically check and verify that your tooling is aligned correctly. Whenever you start running into problems with your press brake, one of the first things to check is to make sure your tooling is aligned.
Keep in mind, if you are using old, beat up tooling, you can’t expect to get perfect accuracy out of it. Your tooling always affects the performance of your machine.
This Is Part of a Series on Press Brake Maintenance
Other articles in the series:
How Do I Troubleshoot My CNC Press Brake Control?
Why Should I Keep My Press Brake Clean?
Do I Need to Maintain a Tight Press Brake?
Do I Need to Follow Scheduled Press Brake Maintenance?