Press Brake Tooling

Time for upgrades

By Gretchen Salois

Above: Orbel Corp. offers start-to-finish custom engineered solutions, including board level shielding, finger-stock gaskets, metalized fabric gaskets, photo-etched precision metal parts, precision metal stampings and electroplated metal foils.

Consumer expectations require the latest in forming technology

September 2021 - After researching what it would cost to upgrade existing equipment, Orbel Corp. President Ken Marino realized it made more sense to invest in new machinery. “The cost of the upgrade packages [for our existing machines] came pretty close to new machines—and you’re still dealing with wear and tear of older equipment without a warranty,” he says. “We realized we would be trying to take an old piece of equipment and make it new without the ability to produce the tolerances new machines are capable of making.”

Marino researched the options and decided upon a CoastOne C9 servo-electro press brake from Automec. Automec is the U.S. importer of CoastOne servo-electric press brakes manufactured in Finland. “The C9 gives us tighter control of the parts we’re forming and we’ve got the statistics to back it up,” he says. “Automec did a great job of training our people and we began running the machine right away.”

Easton, Pennsylvania-based Orbel is in the process of phasing out its older machines. “[Automec’s machine] is so much faster and much more ergonomically friendly for our operators,” Marino says. “Before, operators had to lean over to work on the press brake. The C9 has nice lighting and the table is set up higher. Our operators have easier access and are more protected.”

CoastOne’s C-Series machines are designed with operator comfort in mind. “It is especially important for operators bending small parts to be able to stand or sit comfortably at the machine,” says Bill Helinski, Automec president. “We offer an adjustable front worktable to provide more comfort and space for the operator.

“A front cut-out slot was also incorporated into some of the C-Series machines so that operators could get closer to their work without the need to arch their back in uncomfortable positions,” he continues. “The slot also works very well for operators who are seated.”

Loading and offloading is made easier because of the front forklift slots. Users can easily move the machines around the shop. “The machines are not as heavy as many hydraulic brakes and do not require overhead cranes or anything larger than a forklift,” says Helinski.

Accessibility allows users to easily train operators to program and run the machine. “There is no need for rigorous training or retraining sessions,” Helinski says. “Our installer [technician] often spends one to two hours reviewing the features of the control and calibration procedures before the operators are bending parts.”

The CoastOne C9 is designed with a ball screw/servo direct drive system that allows the operator to accurately bend parts anywhere across the press brake bed. “Reading from the rotary encoders on the ram servo motors allows users to have 0.00008-in. accuracy/repeatability,” Helinski says. The C9 is also energy efficient and consumes measurable energy only when the ram is in motion.

FFJ 0921 pbt image1

The CoastOne C9 is designed with a ball screw/servo direct drive system that allows the operator to accurately bend parts anywhere across the press brake bed.

Easy access

CoastOne press brakes uses its own proprietary software. “The hardware is manufactured with easy access to replacement parts for customers around the world,” Helinski says. “The software was specifically designed so that all operators can easily program at the machine.

“The control is icon-based so that it can be universally understood without any language barriers,” he continues. “CoastOne does not restrict customers to a single offline programming software. Virtually all third-party offline software companies can create a post-processor for our machine so that customers are not handcuffed to one specific brand.”

Automec is a press brake solution company that’s been helping customers for the last 50 years. “Our primary products sold are retrofit controls and back-gauge systems for press brakes. If we cannot provide our customers with a solution they need, we will always [recommend] another vendor/manufacturer that can,” Helinski says. “We know virtually everyone in the industry with our extensive company history.”

CoastOne and Automec connected in 2017. “We decided to start representing a press brake line that we believed in,” Helinski says. “The CoastOne press brake acts as an option for customers who have decided that they need a new press brake [instead of a retrofit solution].”

Automec’s customer service department supports users over the phone, online and on site. “We also have dozens of distributors throughout North America who know our product line and act as another line of defense for customers who may need immediate on-site assistance,” Helinski says. “Throughout the pandemic, we have resorted to webinars and Zoom meetings, along with FaceTime calls to help diagnose problems” when staff is unable to travel on-site.

When the pandemic prevented international travel, Automec adapted in order to support customers located overseas. “Most customer inquiries are resolved over the phone or virtually,” Helinski says, “and we are particularly good at resolving issues when an on-site visit is needed.”

Automec expects to release the CNC600+, its newest CNC retrofit control, later this year. “There are new features added with this control and it is something that we have built from the ground up here in Waltham,” Helinski says. “We are extremely excited about the control’s capabilities and the future growth it will create for our organization.”

Marino says it was the relationship between Orbel and Automec that reassured him when making such a significant capital investment during a pandemic.

“We couldn’t fly out to Finland to see the machine in person—I believed in Bill [Helinski] and in Automec/CoastOne’s reputation,” Marino says. “We knew we had to do something—either upgrade or take another path. We needed solid machinery with the accompanying support.

“We probably could have waited a year or two and taken the risk,” he continues. “But then one day the machines go completely down and that’s it, your entire operation is broken and everything is stopped.”

Since installing the CoastOne from Automec, Marino says his operators are enjoying the ergonomically friendly design and easy software interface. “It’s not an easy job, working a press brake day in and day out,” he says. “This machinery makes it a better day for each of our operators—and the customer gets a better part. We’re in the process of ordering two more.” FFJ



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