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If your old press brake is beyond repair, there is no choice but to scrap it. But, if it is just run down, make sure you weigh up your options of either selling it and installing a new one, or increasing the productivity by retrofitting and modernising it.

Consider and add up how much it would cost you to organically upgrade your old press brake, before rushing to buy a replacement.

Evaluate the Overall Condition

Remember to check these vital features to see what condition they are in:

  • Press Brake Control: Figure out if you can still run the machine without the integrated control because, if not, retrofit options can be very expensive.
  • Pedestal Control: Does this still function properly?
  • Backgauge Control: You are able to use the existing structure of the backgauge and just replace the control that runs it, if the mechanical structure is of good quality.
  • Ram Accuracy: Make sure that the ram is accurately consistent and level on both sides.

Know What You’re Working With

Are you working with a mechanical press brake or a hydraulic press brake? There are significantly more retrofitting options for a hydraulic press brake, because due to interfacing the controls of the machine, ram programmability is achievable. This is not an option for mechanical press brakes.

What are the main struggles?

If you are having to make numerous tool changes and having to manually adjust the ram depth/angle a lot, consider implementing an R axis or Y axis to the backgauge/frontgauge system. This addition could increase productivity levels by allowing you to program the height adjustment and adjust the angle and depth, for every job sequence. Also, if operator programming errors are a problem, offline programming could be a beneficial investment; by pre-programming a job, the bend sequence and process will be optimised, while avoiding any mistakes normally made by operators.

These productivity upgrades and options may not only be valuable for your old press brake, but could work for your functioning one too. The cost of retrofitting is usually considerably less than purchasing a brand-new machine, but, if after calculating and researching it seems too much hassle, there are a loads of options available out there for a new press brake.

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