Dr. Hochstrate Maschinenbau Folding Machine vs Press Brake

Steve Jackson, Technical Sales Manager for Rhodes Interform, part of Group Rhodes, looks at the advantages of the Dr. Hochstrate Maschinenbau Hydraulic CNC Folding Machine over traditional press brakes for folding sheet metal.

“Having been involved in the manufacture and sale of press brakes for most of my working life, I am very much aware of their strengths and weaknesses,” says Steve “and to a certain extent the machine you choose is very much a matter of selecting the most appropriate and cost effective technology for the task in hand. The recent UK launch of the patented Dr. Hochstrate range of folding machinery has significantly widened this choice, and for interested parties I detail below a few of the reasons for why folding machinery in general, and Dr.Hochstrate equipment in particular continues to grow in popularity.

  1. Traditional Press Brakes can only operate as a bending machine, whereas the Dr. Hochstrate CNC Folder can also operate as a press. Not only can CNC Folding machines form the most complex of profiles, but as “clamp tonnage” can be applied by the top beam, the beam is able press pre-bent sheets to produce a “safe edge” or edge seam. Where required, stepless pressure regulation of the top beam is available.
  2. A Press Brake requires compensation for parallel bending along a length, a facility that is not fitted as standard to many makes of press brake. By way of contrast, the Dr. Hochstrate CNC Folder uses a patented Hydraulic Dynamic Camber device to ensure parallel bending at all times.
  3. The Dr. Hochstrate CNC Folder is a standard machine design, allowing for bending material thicknesses to 25mm (available with automatic sheet thickness detection) and total bending lengths up to 8000mm. Within these parameters the Hydraulic Folder can form certain complex profiles not possible using other types of machinery.
  4. The Dr. Hochstrate machine is fully programmable through a Siemens graphic touchscreen control, allowing over 800 programmes to be stored, each with 8 back gauge positions and 8 bending angles. This makes the machine ideal for both development work and subsequent full scale CNC production.
  5. For certain press brake operations, a tool change is required for either the bending tool or the width of the vee; this is due to a variation in the material thicknesses being formed. On a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic CNC Folder, a variety of profiles can be bent with the same tooling.
  6. Bending a radius on a Press Brake is difficult and may require a tool change; if this is not done the individual bending steps result in marking of the bent material. With a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic CNC Folder, a bending radius is possible at any time without the need for a tool change. Radii between 20 – 5000mm can be performed simply by adjusting the bending angle. This is achieved by using a combination of a straight bending tool and a motorised back gauge, a technique that results in a smooth curve with no surface marking.
  7. The intrinsic action of a Press Brake, particularly on long sheets can cause the material to move. This introduces inaccuracies into the bending process unless the material is suitably supported. With a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic Folder, the material is bent whilst horizontal within the machine and is fully clamped to stop any possible movement during bending.
  8. Operator fatigue is greatly reduced on a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic Folder, as the material to be formed is laid flat on the machine bed. This method also results in spring back being controlled more easily.
  9. On a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic Folding machine, small variations in the thickness of the material do not affect the bend angle.
  10. Due to the requirement for less tool changing, there is a substantial reduction in operating time on a Dr.Hochstrate Hydraulic Folder. For specialist box and pan type components, a wide variety of quick change segmented tooling is available.
  11. On a Dr. Hochstrate Hydraulic Folder skilled labour is not necessarily required as the bending cycle is automated and managed by the CNC system. A standard interface is provided to allow a wide range of automated robots and handling devices to be fitted.
  12. On the Dr. Hoschstrate Folding Machine, a heated element can be fitted facilitating the bending of Polycarbonates and some Engineering Plastics and Composites.

In summary, the Dr. Hochstrate CNC Folding Machine represents a major advance in forming technology for sheet materials and is fully protected under Patent DE10164040B4. If you are looking to invest in this type of technology, then any market review demands inspection of the Dr. Hochstrate range.”

For further details on Dr. Hochstrate GmbH CNC Hydraulic Folding Machines or to arrange a practical demonstration of a machine in our works please contact steve.jackson@grouprhodes.co.uk or Telephone +44 (0)1924 371161.