Press Brakes

Systems curator

By Lynn Stanley

Above: Minimal reaction time, higher ram and backgauge speeds contribute to 40 percent faster output with Eco Bend all-electric press brakes.

Customer feedback, paired with fresh ideas, creates technology able to cut costs, conserve energy and accelerate throughput

May 2017 - For JMT USA, the art of listening and the art of the deal go hand in hand. The 50-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah-based company has cultivated partnerships with OEMs to curate the market’s most advanced metalforming machinery for its customers. 

“We work with some of the finest producers of metal fabrication equipment around the globe—including the world’s largest volume manufacturer of press brakes and plate rolls—to build machines to our specifications under the JMT label,” says JMT National Sales Manager Shane Reynolds. JMT also designs, manufactures, sells and services bending, forming, rolling, cutting and punching systems. 

Over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in requests for better press brakes. “Fabricators who want to compete are looking to replace older equipment with press brakes that can provide the repeatable precision dictated by complex parts with tighter tolerances,” Reynolds says. 

FFJ 0517 press image1

JMT’s beltless design enhances repeatability and scalability when compared with other machines.

Offline programming and press brake technology that can support faster turnaround times play a larger role in production processes. An engineer can write code for parts and tooling and upload the data to a press brake, making it simple for operators to form components. In many cases, offline programming helps fabricators overcome the skills gap.

“CNC-controlled press brakes require a skilled operator,” says Reynolds. “With technology changing, and parts becoming more complex, it’s become simpler to turn programming over to an on-site engineer than find skilled labor. It also helps companies recoup press brake downtime. Instead of an operator taking production time to program the machine for a bending operation, he or she can just load a program and start making parts.”

Green notes

The ability to take parts programming off the shop floor also contributes to faster throughput. “Turnaround time is faster,” Reynolds notes, “especially for fabricators that have to make multiple parts and tooling changes during an eight-hour workday.”

The push by companies to reduce their carbon footprint has generated greater interest in electric press brakes versus conventional hydraulic models. To meet the demand for energy-efficient, precise, repeatable forming, JMT introduced its Eco Bend all-electric press brake series in 2016. Direct servo drives and a proprietary frame design work in concert to maintain the bending beam’s parallelism to the die at all times. To produce its patented press brake design, JMT partnered with Adira Metal-Forming Solutions. The Portuguese company has developed, manufactured and installed machine tools for 60 years.

The JMT servo electric press brake is available in three sizes: 4 ft., 28 tons; 5 ft., 38 tons; 6ft., 10 in., 56 tons; and 10 ft. 1 in., 112 tons. High cycle times, silent operation and a consumption savings of 75 percent are standard. Brushless servo motors and ball screws make machine movement instantaneous. 

The beltless design enhances repeatability and scalability when compared with other machines “where belts can stretch causing loss of positioning accuracy,” says Reynolds. Minimal reaction time, higher ram and backgauge speeds contribute to a production rate that is 40 percent faster. Fewer moving components cut maintenance to a minimum. 

“A 50-ton belt-driven press brake design that has a 6 ft. bed can only produce 8 tons of bending capacity per linear foot, or just 50 tons equally across the bed,” says Reynolds. If a shop must bend 1⁄4 in. plate, for example, “the job will require a machine that can provide 15 to 17 tons of bending capacity per linear foot.”

FFJ 0517 press image2

Offline programming makes it possible for the operator to continue working while someone else designs a part remotely.

Not so with the JMT EB press brakes. The electric machines can shoulder the extra tonnage required to bend 1⁄4 in. thick material without increasing the footprint. The EB’s compact profile also proves useful for fabricators that previously outsourced bending work.

“A lot of shops are making smaller, repeatable parts,” says Reynolds. “They don’t need a bigger machine to make 12 in. or 24 in. components. Chip shops, laser cutters, CNC milling and lathe shops can bring their bending work in-house with these small press brakes.”

Going modular

In addition to its electric press brakes, JMT is engineering a patent-pending machine configuration that will accommodate larger press brakes. Bending equipment 800 tons and up normally requires an installation pit. JMT has developed a modular configuration and is testing it for flush floor-mounting capability. “In addition to a flush floor mounting, a fabricator could also stack press brakes next to each other, creating a line of machines up to 75 ft. long,” Reynolds acknowledges. 

The prototype could save job shops money in a couple of ways. Aside from eliminating the need for a pit or foundation, the modular press brake could also save fabricators the cost of purchasing larger, individual machines dedicated to specific part runs. 

FFJ 0517 press image3

The Eco Bend servo electric press brakes offer energy savings of 75 percent compared with conventional press brakes.

“If a project gets bigger or new work comes through the door and the fabricator has a small press brake, they can add on capacity like Legos,” explains Reynolds. “They don’t have to start over; they can keep adding on and continue growing with the same machine.”

Mechanization remains a key focus as JMT evaluates the role equipment must play in a digitized production environment. “Technology is always changing,” says Reynolds. “If you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backward. We are always aggressively pursuing new ways to approach things.”

Superior service remains a constant for JMT. “The industry is lacking in good service,” Reynold claims. “Customers are concerned about getting the help they need. We strive to make knowledgeable, experienced technicians available to customers at all times whether it’s a simple programming question or a 10-year-old machine that needs servicing.”

For JMT, it’s also important to know what customers are talking about most. “By listening to them share their frustrations and pain points, we can tailor our equipment offerings and the service and support program we need to provide,” continues Reynolds. “Customers want a good machine at the most competitive dollar spent. They want to know whom they can call when they need help. These expectations hold our feet to the fire to perform.” FFJ



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