This past year, Kloeckner Metals’ Santa Fe Springs Branch
upgraded their facility with a new press brake. The machine is a 750 ton, 28-foot, Cincinnati CNC press
brake with back-gauges. This specific machine has a deep throat. It is a
deeper throat so you can fit a plate deeper into the machine for bump-forming.
“It is kind of custom-made in that regard,” said Operations
Manager Josh McCarty. “It gives us more access to form more arc length at the
The new hydraulic machine has a major advantage over the
older mechanical and pneumatic machines: it doesn’t have a stroke to it. The
older machines need to bottom out all the way before they can come back up,
which isn’t the case with the new press brake.
“Safety-wise, it is a big deal,” Josh said.
The new press brake’s CNC capabilities, back gauges, and
pressure sensors also provide many advantages. The branch does a lot of
bump-forming, making truck beds for example. In some parts, a two or three-foot
section can take 20 to 40 hits. With the old machines, every hit had to be laid
out by hand, manually moved, and shimmied into place. With the new CNC machine,
you can just put a starting point, a radius, an end, set it up with the
back-gauge, and go.
“You keep the crane
so you can support the material and the machine just does it, exactly where it
needs to hit it,” Josh said. “Knowing exactly what to hit and where to hit it,
the efficiencies go up 60 to 70 percent more than the older machines. Where our
old press brake would take say an hour to do a job, we can do it in 20 minutes
with this machine.”
The programs can also be saved for later use, further
lessening lead times on repeat parts. Once you have your program and your
set-up, you can just stand back, operate the crane, and make sure it is moving
the plate correctly. Overall, the machine is safer and easier to operate.
“The guys out there,
they love it,” Josh said. “It is just a time-saver across the board.”
In addition to the new 750-ton press brake, the branch also
recently got a new, smaller, 175 ton, 12-foot Cincinnati CNC. The smaller press
brake replaces an old Amada machine that had seen the end of its days. With the
two new press brakes, Santa Fe Springs is able to process a wide range of parts.
“We do a lot a lot of intricate gauge parts that we need the
smaller press brake for, and that thing just pumps out the steel,” Josh said. “It
is a good machine. They both are.”
Between the two new machines and the rest of the branch’s
ever-expanding capabilities, they are able to satisfy a lot of different
customer demands. They work with a wide range of gauges, up to 2 inches on the
big press brake alone. Their die collection is between 200 and 300.
“I think we have a reputation in the marketplace here in
Santa Fe Springs,” Josh said. “We have similar customers to our competitors,
but they do the simple, easy stuff. They give us all the complex work because
we can do it. Our guys out there are talented as well, on top of everything.”