Increasing demand for film that protects metal

Rhodes Interform, the Group Rhodes business which specialises in bespoke composite and metal-forming machinery, has seen a sharp increase in demand for ‘Tuff Brake’ film, a product which eliminates markings on sensitive metal materials.

Rhodes Interform is the UK and Ireland distributor of Tuff Brake film, a material which, when placed over metal sheet, eliminates press brake die witness marks. These marks can be caused by the lower die when used for bending stainless steel, aluminium, sheet metal and pre-painted metals.
Steve Jackson, technical sales manager for Rhodes Interform, explains: “Companies producing metal parts are recognising how Tuff Brake Film can help them to reduce manufacturing costs, while increasing productivity. The film protects the workpiece and dies, and means that labour is saved as second operations are avoided. Ultimately, the end result is a better paint finish.”
A spokesperson for user, Durham Sheet Metal, says: “Rhodes Interform’s Tuff Brake is very effective at eliminating contamination and bend marks when forming stainless steel products.”
Tuff Brake Film is available from Rhodes Interform in 0.015″ and 0.03″ thicknesses. Bespoke sizes are available. Known for its longevity, the same piece of Tuff Brake Film can be used many times before there is a need to form fresh material, therefore maximising cost effectiveness.
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College apprentices get to experience industry

Pembrokeshire College in Haverfordwest runs a fabrication and welding course for learners and trainees who want to work within the engineering sector.

The NVQ qualification enables apprentices to demonstrate their occupational competence through gaining knowledge and experience of using industrial machine tools, which prompted the college to purchase a Morgan Rushworth press brake from Selmach Machinery.
“What’s really important to us is the training element of it,” states Malcolm York, curriculum area manager for mechanical engineering and marine at Pembrokeshire College. “Now we can be really accurate when bending substantial thicknesses of plate, which was difficult with our previous resource – a hand-operated bending machine.
“We knew Morgan Rushworth was a good company,” he adds “We didn’t want to get a Chinese import or something and find things going wrong within a year, or have to try to source spares. We needed reliability, so we went for the Morgan Rushworth.
“The machine has met our expectations. We had it serviced not long ago and also had more guys trained. Our learners are now able to bend plate accurately. With the Morgan Rushworth, they are using a similar machine to what they’d use in industry.”
York also has praise for the levels of aftercare and service provided by Selmach Machinery throughout the project: “I cannot fault the service – from getting quotes to the training provided – Selmach have been very patient with us. From when we placed the order to when the machine arrived, and from when Selmach put it into commission and trained us on it, they’ve been great.”
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Allsops invests in Bystronic press brakes

Holmfirth-based sheet metal design and engineering specialist, Allsops Ltd, has recently upgraded its bending capability with the addition of two Xpert 40 Bystronic press brakes offering a bending length of 1 m and a stroke of 200 mm. Raising the number of press brakes on site from Bystronic (and predecessor companies) to 11, the machines provide a more efficient platform for bending smaller parts than is possible using a 3-m capacity machine, which by association has slower axis movements.

The Xpert 40 press brakes are highly efficient, according to Allsops’ production director, Lyndon Tyas: “With these inherently fast bending cells, all of the upper and lower tooling is to hand in drawers on the left and right hand sides of the machine, and the operator can remain seated when loading them.
“Tool positions are automatically calculated as a part of the program, and flashing LEDs on the front of the upper beam instruct the operator where to mount the tool segments,” he continues. “Ergonomic configuration means that setting up the machine is rapid, typically 15 minutes for a straightforward part. Accuracy is high – we easily hold ±0.5 mm, more than good enough for most jobs, and we can even halve that tolerance if required.”
Tyas also points out that there is space to hold cut blanks on one side of the machine and components that have been bent on the other. Another feature is the ByVision touchscreen control, which can be conveniently positioned to one side at the operator’s eye level, or just above it – centrally – if preferred.
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Fourth Unison tube bender at aerospace firm

Aircraft component manufacturer, Globe Engineering, has installed a fourth Unison all-electric CNC tube-bending machine at its facility in Wichita, USA.

The new machine has joined Globe’s existing Unison all-electric tube benders and will help to increase manufacturing capability. With overlapping capacities, the Unison tube bending machines at Globe can bend tubes from 1.25” (31.75 mm) to 6.00” (152.4 mm) in diameter.
In addition to supporting Globe’s ongoing requirements for bending quality aircraft tubing, the latest all-electric CNC tube bender from Unison will be used to bend a range of aluminium, stainless steel and titanium tubes measuring up to 1.25” (31.75 mm).
“We aren’t just creating new capability by buying a new Unison tube bending machine, we’re creating capacity and a safety net, in case we have a breakdown,” explains bend shop supervisor Shaun Knuth.
Describing some of the key advantages that Unison all-electric tube benders have over hydraulic tube benders, he adds: “They’re more efficient because they use less energy. In fact, they only use energy while they are in motion. By comparison, hydraulic benders use electricity all the time they are running, with their energy usage increasing during cycle time. Electric machines are much quieter too, and offer greater repeatability. You simply select the exact pressure required; if you want 1,272 psi (87.7 bar) of pressure, just type that in and the machine creates the exact same pressure every time.”
Knuth also praises the fact that Unison all-electric tube benders can be operated more slowly when hot-bending titanium, all the way down to a creep – a process that removes the risk of overheating and minimises scrap.
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KMF reaps benefit of panel bender upgrade

KMF has purchased a new P4lean-2516 Salvagnini panel bender (P4L) that uses 60% less electricity, saving the company an estimated £8000 a year.

Several upgrades are featured, including CLA-SIM auxiliary blade command, MAC 2.0 to calculate suitable bending trajectories and a patented bending formula which will automatically adjust a bend to any mechanical or thermal deformation. The machine complements an existing P4-2516 panel bender from Salvagnini that has provided more than 78,000 hours of working time for KMF to date.
The P4-2516 required 600 litres of oil, but new P4L machines use electronic actuators with only 13 litres of oil in total. All current P4L machines use touch-screen controls running on a Windows 10 platform. Moreover, the panel bending system is Industry 4.0-embedded, including the service support option of 24-hour machine monitoring to ensure all systems are working within tolerance.
“To provide an idea of efficiency and productivity levels on our panel bender, it is currently around 80%,” explains Pete Krynicki, programming and folding technician at KMF.
The Salvagnini machine can manufacture metal panels up to a maximum of 2500 mm long and form bends up to 165 mm high. A favoured feature is the panel bender’s interactive graphics programming, which will significantly decrease the task of KMF programmers with its intuitive programming and 3D simulation of different bending phases. The new panel bender also offers automatic tool changing and the ability to switch from one operation to another in a few seconds.
“As a metal fabrication subcontractor, being able to complete small and large batches without manual tool changes will significantly improve our speed of processing and flexibility,” adds Krynicki. “We also appreciate the personalised service, training and support on the panel benders that we get from Salvagnini – it is a real partnership.”
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