Press Brake

Operating the Press Brake 200

This class describes how to operate a press brake and also covers the different modes of operation and controls used when operating a press brake.

  • Difficulty Intermediate

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 13

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Objectives
  • Operator Duties
  • Basic Controls and Components
  • Control Panel and Operation Station
  • Foot Switches and Palm Buttons
  • Startup and Verifying the Setup
  • Cycling the Press Brake
  • Bending Concerns
  • General Operation of CNC Press Brakes
  • Ergonomic Concerns
  • Safety Controls
  • Maintaining Product Quality
  • Summary
  • Describe the duties of the press brake operator.
  • Describe the basic controls and components of the press brake.
  • Describe the control panel and operating station.
  • Identify controls for cycling the press brake.
  • Describe the preparation process for operating the press brake.
  • Describe how to start the press brake once preparation is completed.
  • Describe the bending concerns of the operator.
  • Describe the general operation of the CNC press brake.
  • Describe the safety concerns of running a press brake.
  • Describe the various safety controls on the press brake.
  • Describe the importance of maintaining product quality.
Vocabulary Term

attribute gage

A measuring instrument that determines the accuracy and acceptability of a finished workpiece.


An undesirable bend line in the front corner of a vee die opening. Backbend occurs when the press brake operator does not properly secure the workpiece during a bending operation.


Adjustable components of the press brake against which the workpiece is located when forming takes place.

backgage zero position

The neutral position on a press brake controller. All parameters on the press brake are set from the backgage zero position.

bed plate

The foundation for the entire press brake. The bed plate is located at the bottom of the machine.


The conical distortion in the middle of a long, wide sheet of metal. Bellying occurs when the operator does not sufficiently support the blank during bending.

bending aid

A device attached to the press brake to support workpieces that are too big or heavy for the operator to handle alone.

bending simulation

A feature on CNC press brakes that allows the operator to see in advance if a bending operation will produce a desired part.


The piece of material, usually metal, that is formed on the press brake.


Computer numerical control. A CNC press brake uses programs to automatically execute a series of bending operations that leads to increased productivity and flexibility.

control panel

The group of controls on a CNC machine that run, store, and edit the commands of a part program and other coordinate information.


A document that contains a collection of lines illustrating the shape and features of a part. Drawings also contain special instructions about forming the part.

dry run

Performing a preliminary operation to ensure that the press brake is properly set up and creating workpieces properly. After a successful dry run, the press operator can begin using the press to create workpieces.

dual palm buttons

Two separate buttons that must be pressed simultaneously in order to power the press brake and initiate motion of the ram. Dual palm buttons are considered safeguarding devices.

emergency stop

A device that can be activated to stop the press brake during an emergency situation. The emergency stop is located either on the foot switches or between the dual palm buttons.

fixed guard

A barrier guard that prohibits access to the die area at all times during a press operation. Fixed panel guards cannot be adjusted.

foot switch

An operator control that requires the press operator to insert a foot into a guard, and press a button with the foot in order to cycle the press.

grain direction

The arrangement of material layers or structure resulting from the original manufacturing of the material. To ensure accuracy and avoid defects, all bending operations must stay consistent with the proper grain direction.

hand control

A device that allows the operator to initiate movement of the press brake. Hand controls function similiarly to foot switches, with the exception that the operator uses the hands instead of the feet to operate the machine.

housing brace

The device which secures the two uprights together at the very top of the press brake.


Using power applied via the motion and pressure of liquids.

laser sensing system

A press brake safety device that uses a laser to detect movement just before the point of operation. If the laser is disturbed, the press stops cycling immediately.

light curtain

A row of either visible or invisible lights just before the point of operation. If the path of lights is disturbed, the press stops cycling immediately.


A hit that does not hit the blank at exactly the correct place. Mis-hits can cause the die or even the press crankshaft to break.

NC programs

Automated programs that are controlled by a computer that is programmed using a numerical system.

operating station

The area where the operator stands during press brake operation. The operating station typically includes the control panel and foot switches.

palm buttons

A device that allows operators to cycle the press brake by pushing down with both hands simultaneously. Palm buttons help prevent operators from accidentally inserting their hands in the work zone during operation.


One of the limits, settings, or physical properties that determine the function and operation of a machine.

pinch point

Any place where the die of the press brake touches the workpiece.


A computer-based series of commands that contains all pertinent instructions and information for the proper bending of a workpiece.

pullback device

A wrist device that pulls the operator's hands away from the point of operation or other hazardous areas when the machine cycles.


The main upper portion of the press brake that slides up and down within the press frame during operation.

restraint device

A wrist device that restrains the operator's hands and prevents him/her from crossing into the point of operation or other hazardous areas.

setup sheet

A document that contains a description of the order of forming or gaging, as well as an area for drawing a picture of the part being formed.


The process of preparing to run the press brake. Proper startup is necessary for the production of accurate parts.

support bracket

A safety device that supports operators when they handle heavy or clumsy workpieces. Support brackets are mounted on the same guiding system as bending aids.


The section on a press brake that is cut away from the uprights midway between the bed plate and the ram in which the die tooling is placed and forming takes place.


The amount of pressure exerted by the ram onto the die. Too much tonnage could cause the workpiece to break.


The supports that run vertically alongside the press and form the press brake structure.

V die

A die with a section shaped like a "V" that creates 90° bends. The V bend is one of the most common types of bends.

variable instrument

An inspection device calibrated in standard measurement units. Variable inspection reveals the degree of variation from a given standard.

vision-based sensor

A safety device that mounts on the upper ram and provides a signal to stop downward movement whenever something gets in the way of the ram.

work zone

The area in front of the press brake where the operator stands.