Press Brake Professionals Attended Certificate Course
An FMA-sponsored press brake training was hosted at JMT headquarters on April 14th and 15th, 2016. This intensive two-day seminar not only informed the participants about the history and theory of press brake bending, but also taught them critical techniques, such as how to make the necessary bend deduction math calculations that are usually left to a CNC controller. The attendees were also given the chance to earn an industry-recognized credential upon the completion of the course.
While the main target of the training was your typical press brake operator, the course was open to supervisors, engineers, designers, programmers and even owners of fabrication businesses as well. Three JMT staff members attended the press brake training: a co-owner, a sales manager, and a service technician. All said they enjoyed the experience and were benefited by it.
Taught by Expert Press Brake Trainer Steve Benson
FMA (Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International) chose JMT as the host for the event and sent their press brake expert, Steve Benson, to conduct the course. Steve, who is known for his digital textbook, The Art of Press Brake, is the president of Asma LLC, a supplier of training materials for press brake operators and engineers.
Steve brought his more than three decades of industry experience to bear in his press brake training, and the participants could tell. “I thought it was very informative, said JMT service technician Corey Allen, who attended the two-day event. “Steve is a great guy – very knowledgeable. He’s definitely had a lot of years in the business and knows what he’s talking about. A heck of a nice guy too, and just willing to share all the information that he knows.”
“I was very impressed with Steve Benson and his training,” added JMT co-owner Bryan Jorgenson, who also took the course. “I learned a lot myself, even though I’ve been in the industry for quite a while. He shared little tips that he picked up when he was a press brake operator himself, such as how to calculate tooling heights, how to pick the right tooling to make the desired part, and knowing what radius you would get with different die openings and punches. I think these were very helpful to the press brake operators who were there for the training.”
JMT sent our National Sales Manager, Shane Reynolds, to the class, as he has to help train all JMT sales personnel and all JMT distributors. Shane observed that Steve is “a man very well known in the industry for both his knowledge of theory and his practical experience with press brakes. His expertise includes such things as bend theory, the different types of bending, the different kinds of press brakes, safety, applications, tooling, and why all of these are important in the press brake world.”
Press Brake Training Take-Aways
Our staff who attended the event shared a few of the insights they learned over the two days of training:
- Shane Reynolds: “Some of the things Steve covered in the two-day course included determining punch and die selection, having the right tonnage ranges, and keeping the tooling within the safety parameters of the machine – all of the things that are very critical to both keeping operators safe and having the machine run correctly for the application. For example, often I’ve seen people in their shops trying to achieve certain inside or outside radius on their parts and usually having a battle to try and get those right. Steve Benson taught us why this happens, why it is critical, and how to fix it. It was a very good, two full days of this type of training.”
- Bryan Jorgenson: “I liked how he explained very clearly the differences between air bending, bottom bending and coining. He also stressed how important it is to measure the inside radius of a part. He asked the participants how many of us had inside radius gauges and I don’t think anyone raised their hand. We all owned protractors to measure the outside bend, but the measurement that is critical in determining shrinking or stretching of material is the inside radius.”
- Corey Allred: “I learned a lot about how to compensate for our bends. Normally now with all the CNC equipment we just punch in the angle we want and go from there. This way we learned the actual math behind that and how to compensate for that, just in case we work on an old press brake that doesn’t have a computerized system, so that was great.”
- Bryan: “Steve gave a lot of good pointers on press brake bending, such as how crowning works on a machine and what materials not to use in crowning, which I found very interesting. He said that banding material, which is made out of spring steel and is very hard, should not be used in crowning as it will damage the brake over time. He suggested using thin urethane material (which will return to its natural state) or even paper, though that will flatten with use and have to be changed out frequently.”
- Corey: “I’m used to just using maybe one angle, but he taught us how to use different angles on the same machine and the same piece material. To me that was very interesting. I thought it could be done, I just didn’t know how I could do it – I didn’t think I was smart enough – but now I believe I could do it. I feel really confident.”
- Bryan: “Another point he made was that the bigger the top beam, the less deflection you have on your press brake. It was nice that the training was held next to a JMT press brake that has a large top beam that he was able to use as a good example of a brake that helps limit the amount of deflection you will have in your material.”
- Shane: “I’ve often seen a disconnect in the industry between engineers and press brake operators, where the engineers say a process will work and they send it down to the shop floor and it becomes the operator’s challenge to make sure those parts match the drawings and the customer’s expectations, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen. For that reason alone, an operator could take this course and come out of it very skilled and able to understand what would need to change in a situation like this to actually produce the parts to specification, as well as the ability to know if it is even possible to make them.”
- Bryan: “He really emphasized press brake safety, even pointing out many of the safety features on our JMT brakes as examples. He said that an operator is not to ever remove or disable any safety features of the machine, as that makes the operator liable for any harm that happens to others who subsequently use the machine. If the operator notices that the company has bypassed a safety feature he needs to let the company know that he won’t operate the machine until it has been fixed – after all, it affects the operator’s livelihood if he is injured on the job.”
Press Brake Training That Left an Impression
Shane Reynolds talked about how impressed he was by the class: “There’s just a wealth of knowledge that I’ve taken away from the course that I’m hopefully able to incorporate in my day-to-day sales activities. It was a very well done course.”
Since this press brake training course can be used for industry certification, it included a comprehensive test. Some participants — like JMT’s Corey Allen — apparently weren’t aware of that going in. “I was surprised there was a test,” said Corey. “I was a little nervous about it being a test, but I learned a lot and it made me pay more attention, so I did learn a lot of math and other stuff that I just didn’t know went into bending material.”
“The press brake training with FMA was very useful,” commented Bryan Jorgenson. “All of the attendees seemed to enjoy the course and they commented on how impressed they were with Steve and his training.”
Shane gave a glowing endorsement of the press brake training: “I have been selling press brakes for a few years all over the country, and it’s amazing to go into these shops where there are different applications, different types of brakes, and different tooling. Really, my job as a salesman is to make sure the customer gets the right machine to do the job and that they understand how to use both the press brake and the tooling properly. I have to make sure they are getting not only the right tooling but that they are getting good tooling, and that they know how to tell the difference. A course like this one from FMA really helps teach those things. These two days of training were well worth my time, and I’m not even an operator. I would recommend that every operator in this industry attend one of Steve Benson’s courses offered through the FMA. Operators, salesmen, even business owners can be benefited by it.”
To learn more about FMA’s Precision Press Brake Certificate Course and to find one being held near you, please visit the FMA website HERE.
To learn more about Steve Benson, please visit his Art of Press Brake site HERE.
To learn more about press brakes and the models offered by JMT, please visit our Press Brake products page on this website.
You can also ask questions of our press brake team by calling 855-PressBrake (855-773-7727) or emailing Info@JMTUSA.com.
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