Press Brake Tonnage Calculator

Last updated:
February 26, 2024

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Press brake tonnage is the measure of force required to bend metal in a press brake machine. Accurate calculation of this force is crucial for precision bending and machine safety.

Factors Affecting Tonnage Requirements

The tonnage needed for a bend depends on several specific factors:

  • Material type: Different materials have varying levels of strength and require different amounts of force to bend.
  • Sheet thickness: Thicker metal sheets require more tonnage to bend.
  • Bend length: Longer bends need more force across the bend length.
  • V-die width: The wider the die opening, the less force required to make the bend.

These factors must all be considered to calculate the appropriate tonnage for a bending operation.

Do you know how to calculate the press brake tonnage? You can use the calculation formula or use the tonnage calculator below to obtain the results directly.

Press Brake Tonnage Calculator

As you know, different countries use different units, some countries use metric units and others use British units. For your convenience, the tonnage calculator of the press brake machine we made can meet the above two different needs at the same time.

If you want to know more about the calculation formula of press brake tonnage, you can refer to this article. Enjoy it.

Recommended V opening of the bottom die

Material thickness S0.5-2.5mm3-8mm9-10mm>12mm
Bottom die V opening6×S8×S10×S12×S

Bending inner radius from V-die opening

MaterialV
Mild steel1/6 × V
Stainless1/5 × V
Aluminium1/8 × V

Required tonnage for other metals

Soft brassTonnage × 0.5
Soft aluminiumTonnage × 0.5
Stainless steelTonnage × 1.5
High strength steelTonnage ×2.75

Hemming tonnage mild steel

t,mmTear,t/mFull hem
0.6923
11540
1.52263
23080
2.55590
377100

Related calculator: Bending Load Calculator (V, U, Wipe Bending)

What Is Press Brake?

A press brake is a machine pressing tool for bending sheet and plate material, most commonly sheet metal. It forms predetermined bends by clamping the workpiece between a corresponding punch and die. The primary functions of a press brake involve the bending of metal sheets to create various angles and shapes, which are integral in the assembly of metal structures and products.

Types of Press Brakes

There are several types of press brakes, each employing different mechanisms to achieve the bending force:

  1. Mechanical Press Brakes: These are driven by a flywheel and use an eccentric mechanism to move the ram, suitable for high-speed bending operations.
  2. Hydraulic Press Brakes: These utilize hydraulic cylinders to move the ram and apply force to the workpiece. They offer precise control of the bending process and are capable of handling high tonnage requirements.
  3. Pneumatic Press Brakes: These use air pressure to move the ram and are typically used for lighter gauge materials or smaller production requirements.
  4. Servo-Electric Press Brakes: These employ a servo-motor to control the ram’s motion, offering high precision and energy efficiency. They are ideal for applications requiring low to medium bending force.
  5. CNC Press Brakes: Although not a type on their own, CNC technology can be integrated into hydraulic, pneumatic, or servo-electric press brakes to automate and control the bending process, enhancing accuracy and repeatability.

Factors Influencing Press Brake Tonnage Requirements

The tonnage required for a press brake operation is a critical factor that determines the success and quality of the bending process. Several key factors influence the amount of force needed to bend a metal workpiece effectively:

  1. Material Type: Different metals have varying levels of tensile strength and hardness, which directly affect the tonnage required. For instance, bending stainless steel requires more force compared to bending aluminum, which is softer and more pliable. High-strength and high-tensile materials demand higher tonnage to achieve the same bend as those with lower tensile strength.
  2. Material Thickness: The thicker the material, the more resistance it has to bending, thus requiring more tonnage to achieve the desired angle. The relationship between material thickness and required tonnage is generally linear; doubling the thickness would approximately double the required tonnage.
  3. Bend Length: The length of the bend also impacts the tonnage requirement. A longer bend length requires more force to be applied across the entire length of the bend. Consequently, the total tonnage must be increased to ensure a consistent bend along the workpiece.
  4. Bend Angle: Sharper bend angles require more force to overcome the material’s resistance to bending. As the bend angle increases, so does the tonnage requirement. This is because the material undergoes more deformation at higher bend angles.
  5. V-die Selection and Width: The choice of V-die, particularly the width of the opening, has a significant impact on the tonnage needed. A wider V-die opening requires less force to bend the material, as it allows the material to stretch more easily. Conversely, a narrower V-die opening concentrates the force over a smaller area, necessitating higher tonnage to achieve the bend.

Each of these factors must be carefully considered when calculating the tonnage requirements for a press brake operation. Overestimating the tonnage can lead to overworking the machine and potentially damaging the workpiece, while underestimating can result in an incomplete bend. Our press brake tonnage calculator above, which takes into account these variables, can help operators and engineers determine the correct tonnage to apply for a specific job, ensuring both the quality of the bend and the longevity of the machine.

The Formula for Press Brake Tonnage Calculation

Calculating the tonnage requirements for a press brake operation is essential to ensure accurate bending without damaging the equipment or the workpiece. The standard formula used for tonnage calculation is as follows:

P = 650 S² L/V (when σb = 450N/mm²)

Here, P represents the tonnage required, S is material thickness (in mm), L is the bend length (in mm), and V is the die opening (in mm). In this formula, σb is the material’s tensile strength (in N/mm²).

Another variation of the formula for estimating the tonnage requirement is:

P = 1.42 σb S² L/V

Both these formulas offer a reliable means to calculate the tonnage required for an air bend operation.

Overestimating Tonnage Requirements

Using excessive tonnage during the press brake operation can lead to several risks and complications. It is important to understand these risks to maintain the quality of the workpiece and the integrity of the press brake machine.

1. The Risks of Using Too Much Tonnage

  1. Damage to the Press Brake: Overestimating the tonnage can exert undue stress on the press brake components, potentially leading to premature wear or even catastrophic failure of the machine.
  2. Tooling Damage: Excessive force can damage the punch and die, resulting in costly repairs or replacements and downtime for the machine.
  3. Workpiece Damage: Applying too much force can cause defects in the metal, such as cracking, warping, or exceeding the desired bend angle, which can render the workpiece unusable.
  4. Reduced Accuracy: Over-tonnage can lead to springback variations and inconsistencies in the bend angle, compromising the precision of the bending process.
  5. Safety Hazards: Operating a machine beyond its intended capacity can pose safety risks to the operator and other personnel in the vicinity.

2. Tips for Avoiding Overestimation

  1. Use Accurate Material Data: Ensure that the tensile strength and material thickness are accurately measured and accounted for in the tonnage calculations.
  2. Select the Appropriate Die Width: Choose a die opening that is suitable for the material thickness and type, as this can significantly impact the tonnage requirement.
  3. Consult Material and Equipment Charts: Manufacturers often provide charts that relate material properties to the required tonnage for specific bend lengths and angles. Utilize these charts for more accurate estimations.
  4. Employ a Tonnage Calculator: Use a reliable press brake tonnage calculator that factors in all the variables, including material type, thickness, bend length, and die width.
  5. Consider the Bend Radius: Account for the desired bend radius in your calculations, as this can affect the amount of tonnage required.
  6. Perform Test Bends: Conduct test bends on scrap material to determine the actual tonnage needed for a particular job, which can help refine your estimates.
  7. Use CNC Controls When Available: For CNC press brakes, take advantage of the control system’s ability to calculate and adjust tonnage automatically based on programmed parameters.
  8. Stay Within Machine Limits: Always refer to the press brake’s specifications to ensure that the tonnage does not exceed the machine’s maximum capacity. Operating within the press brake’s limits is crucial for the longevity of the equipment and the safety of operations.
  9. Train Operators: Properly train press brake operators to understand the importance of accurate tonnage calculation and the risks associated with overestimation. An informed operator is more likely to make precise adjustments and recognize when tonnage settings may be too high.
  10. Regular Maintenance: Keep the press brake and tooling in good working condition. Regular maintenance can help identify potential issues that may affect the accuracy of tonnage requirements, such as worn-out tooling or calibration drift.
  11. Document Adjustments and Results: Keep a record of any adjustments made based on test bends or previous jobs. This documentation can serve as a valuable reference for future work on similar materials or with similar bend specifications.
  12. Consider Material Springback: Account for material springback, which is the material’s tendency to return to its original shape after bending. This can affect the final angle and may lead to overcompensation in tonnage if not properly considered.
  13. By following these tips and maintaining an awareness of the risks associated with overestimating tonnage requirements, operators can help ensure that press brake operations are both safe and effective, producing high-quality bends without unnecessary wear on the equipment or the risk of damage to the workpiece.

Underestimating Tonnage and Its Consequences

Just as overestimating tonnage can be problematic, underestimating the force required for a press brake operation can also lead to a host of issues. It is important to understand these potential issues to avoid compromising the bending process.

1. Potential Issues with Using Insufficient Tonnage

  1. Incomplete Bends: If the tonnage is too low, the machine may not be able to bend the metal to the desired angle, resulting in an incomplete or insufficient bend.
  2. Inconsistent Bends: Without enough force, the bend may not be uniform across the length of the workpiece, especially for longer bend lengths, leading to an inconsistent bend angle.
  3. Increased Wear on the Machine: Repeated attempts to achieve a proper bend with insufficient tonnage can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the press brake and tooling.
  4. Reduced Productivity: Operators may have to run multiple passes or make manual adjustments, which can slow down production and reduce overall efficiency.
  5. Poor Quality of Finished Products: Inconsistent or incomplete bends can lead to substandard finished products that may not meet the required specifications or quality standards.
  6. Material Waste: Workpieces that do not meet quality standards due to improper bending may need to be scrapped, leading to material waste and increased costs.

2. Strategies for Ensuring Tonnage Accuracy

  1. Understand Material Properties: Gain a thorough understanding of the material you are working with, including its tensile strength, thickness, and how these factors influence the required tonnage.
  2. Use Correct Formulas and Calculators: Employ accurate formulas and reliable tonnage calculators that take into account all necessary variables. Ensure that the data input is correct.
  3. Refer to Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Consult the press brake and tooling manufacturer’s guidelines for recommended tonnage settings based on the material and bend specifications.
  4. Conduct Trial Bends: Perform test bends on scrap material of the same type and thickness to determine the actual tonnage needed for a specific bend.
  5. Calibrate Equipment Regularly: Ensure that the press brake is calibrated correctly and that any measuring devices used to determine material thickness and bend angles are accurate.
  6. Stay Updated on Tooling Conditions: Inspect the condition of the tooling regularly, as worn tools may not perform as expected and could contribute to the need for higher tonnage.
  7. Train Operators Thoroughly: Ensure that operators are well-trained in understanding the nuances of the press brake machine, how to read and interpret technical drawings, and how to make appropriate adjustments during the bending process.
  8. Adjust for Springback: Account for material springback in your calculations. Different materials will spring back to different extents after bending, and this needs to be factored into the tonnage and bend angle calculations.
  9. Maintain Detailed Records: Keep detailed records of previous jobs, including the type of material, thickness, bend angles, and tonnage used. This historical data can help in setting up new jobs with similar parameters.
  10. Use Quality Tooling: Invest in high-quality tooling that is appropriate for the material and type of bend. High-quality tools can produce more accurate bends and may require less force than worn or lower-quality tooling.
  11. Monitor Machine Performance: Pay attention to the performance of the press brake during operation. If the machine struggles or fails to make a clean bend, it may be a sign that the tonnage is underestimated.
  12. Implement a Verification Process: After calculating the required tonnage, have another experienced operator or a supervisor verify the calculations as a double-check against potential errors.
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