cincinnati press brake

52′ Cincinnati Press Brake at Santa Fe Springs


The main benefit of Kloeckner Metals Santa Fe Springs’ new 52-foot Cincinnati Press Brake is in the name: 52 feet.

In tandem configuration, this Cincinnati Press Brake machine combines two 26′ press brake machines and accomplishes a massive 1500 tonnage—much more than a typical press brake machine can handle.

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What is a press brake machine?

press brake

Press brake machines bend sheet metal. Utilizing various sized dies and varying amounts of pressure they form metal into simple and complex shapes ranging from basic channels and angles to shapes with multiple radiuses. For example, they form parts seen in amusement park rides with complex geometry, conics, structural components, shipbuilding, lighthouses, decorative shapes for creative architecture, water tanks and more. But not all press brake machines have the same capabilities.

Why 52’ Matters

A larger press brake machine forms larger pieces of sheet metal. Compared to smaller, competitive press brakes, our setup at Santa Fe Springs has the potential to save customers 30-50% of their time, bending one channel, for example, without any welding need, versus bending two 20-feet and one 12-foot piece and needing to weld three channels together.

Higher Production Value

This Cincinnati Press Brake can form metal 52’, 50’ or anything less. In the video above you can see how this 52’ press brake also functions in single-mode configuration, where the 26’ machine on the left can work independently from the 26’ machine on the right. That means that fabricators on this machine can form two totally different products on each side!

The video above shows two different types of heavy truck bodies that are being produced simultaneously. On one side, they are forming what is likely the back or side of a dump truck used for picking up and unloading gravel and things of that nature. On the other side, fabricators form a similar product but this one has a “return channel” (two bends on each end).

Being able to form two sheet metal projects simultaneously allows us to meet higher production volumes and prioritize projects – whatever is hot on the schedule can be formed first. Customers  benefit from our higher efficiency with quicker production times.

Press Brake capabilities

What You See With Experienced Fabricators

It goes without saying that cutting edge equipment offers a key advantage for fabrication shops. Features like the automatic backstop in this Cincinnati press brake machine improve safety and help to reduce human error by simplifying the process, while also making it easier to achieve more complex bends in shorter time frames.

You might wonder, what is the value of having experienced fabricators? Do they make much of a difference in the overall product?

To best answer these questions it’s important to first consider the responsibilities fabricators have, outside of what the machine does automatically.

Setting up the press brake

Before loading the metal into the press brake machine, operators must select the correct die and confirm that the amount of pressure required for the job can be accomplished by their machine. Once they confirm that these parameters can be met, they measure and mark the correct bend dimensions directly on the metal.

Loading the machine

Typically, the assistant and the operator work together on a daily basis for years. They learn to anticipate each step in the process, and set a plan based off of the blueprint beforehand. Because assistants and operators work with each other frequently, they tend to develop a mutual understanding and adopt an efficient pace.

Constant communication

Then, they have to communicate with each other when to push the metal forward. In this case they can have up to 52’ between them. Their timing as well as their amount of force must sync. In order to achieve just the right force at exactly the right time, they might signal to each other in a stream of choreographed body movements like head nods and thumbs up. They might have developed certain words to quickly and adequately troubleshoot issues.

After the first bend completes, the automatic backstop pushes the part forward to get ready for the second bend. The part must be touching the backstop, or else the bend might come out wonky and uneven. One of the safety features of this machine is that the fabricators can take a few steps backward as the part bends, minimizing risk. But operators will still double check that the bend measurements match the blueprint specifications, before they push the metal forward and wait for the crane to further unload the metal.

So, as you can see, even with sophisticated equipment, experience matters! When choosing a press brake shop, it is essential to make sure that the press brake operators have the experience your unique project requires.

Tips when operating a press brake machine

All in all, experienced fabricators offer reassurance throughout the process and maximize the benefit of having state of the art machinery. Santa Fe Springs Fabrication Manager Ron Atilano has an impressive 45 years of experience under his belt. And he works everyday alongside other skilled fabricators at our Santa Fe Springs with 20+ years experience.

Consider their tips:

  • The right pressure. Always double check that the machine can satisfy the tonnage requirements for the job.
  • The right die. Choosing the right die depends on the thickness of the metal. The job requirements (i.e., the number of radiuses involved) also play an important role in determining the correct die.
  • Ensure that bends are straight. One of the main goals is to bend the metal perfectly straight. You don’t want any camber or bow to it. The 52’ channel seen in the video above is perfectly straight — a result of excellent fabricators and a cutting-edge machine.
  • Ask for help. Even fabricators with 2-5 years of experience encounter problems that require strategic problem solving. Parts with complex geometry with multiple radiuses can pose a challenge to fabricators. Multiple radiuses requires thoughtful sequencing of the bended parts. Bend out of order and the intended project might be impossible to complete.

The Bottom Line

Whether it’s servicing the automotive, structural, or oil and refinery industries, our 52’ Cincinnati press brake allows us to say, “if you can name it, we can form it.” Ron, and our incredible team of dedicated metal fabricators, will be there to make sure customers get exactly what they’re looking for and prove the benefits of a 52′ Cincinnati press brake every day.

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Kloeckner Metals is a full-line steel supplier and service center. Kloeckner Metals combines a national footprint with the latest fabrication and processing technologies and most innovative customer service solutions.

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Natalie Spira
Natalie Spira is Kloeckner's Acquisition Marketing Manager. Previously, she was the Founder and CEO of Fraction Marketing, a marketing agency providing fractional support to scaling startups with a focus on acquisition marketing and demand generation. Natalie holds a MBA from Tel Aviv University with concentrations in entrepreneurship and marketing and a BA in English from UCLA.
cincinnati press brake
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