Effective machine usage is required in businesses of all sizes, and yet there are all sorts of inefficiencies and issues encountered in machine shops and manufacturing facilities the world over.
If you’re eager to overhaul your own approach to using the all-important press brake, harnessing its full potential, read on for some sage advice on how to achieve this.
Track usage and look for imperfections
You might think that you are being as productive as possible, but there’s always room for improvement, and you won’t know where flaws in your processes lie if you don’t look for them.
This is where tracking the timings of your press brake operations is helpful. Separate each stage of the process and calculate average durations in order to identify places you might be dropping the ball.
For example, this strategy could highlight long gaps when a machine operator has to leave their station to retrieve tools or adjust settings elsewhere. With this info to hand, you could re-jig how your shop floor is configured to reduce downtime.
Buy a well-reviewed machine
Whether you are looking for a hydraulic press brake for sale or seeking a manually operated equivalent, it’s a good idea to check reviews first rather than just choosing whichever machine you encounter that’s in your budget.
It’s important to not get too focused on price, because the features, functions and specifications of a press brake are more relevant.
Implement standardized procedures
If every operator approaches a task differently, this can lead to vast differences in throughput as well as the likelihood of disorganization occurring.
The best way to combat this is through standard operating procedures which are not just formalized and documented, but also implemented and adhered to by all that they apply to.
This should cover everything from best practices for using a press brake, to expectations of how clean and uncluttered the working space should be at all times.
Make maintenance a priority
Every type of machinery will suffer wear and tear over time, and so it is vital to keep mission-critical equipment well maintained.
Preventative maintenance is better than post-fault repairs brought about by component degradation, so don’t just wait for your press brake to fail, but be proactive about keeping it up and running.
It’s also worth tracking mean time to repair, and seeing how long it takes for you to restore faulty gear on average. That way you can determine whether you are slacking on your maintenance duties, and also plan for the steps to take when something does go awry unexpectedly.
Use quality control throughout production
If quality control only takes place as the final part of the production process, then you’ll likely generate more waste because problems are not spotted sooner.
When using a press brake, having operators make quality checks with every bend that’s made in the material will give you an ongoing QC strategy that not only helps with the end results, but also allows for machinery maintenance problems to be dealt with on the fly.
Hire an experienced operator
Last of all, if you are interested in extracting maximum value from your press brake machine but you lack the ability to do this yourself, recruiting an operator who has plenty of training and experience in this area makes sense.
Of course you could also train up existing team members to fill this role, and it will work out better for your business in the long term if everyone is on the same level in terms of abilities. This is not only helpful from a productivity perspective, but also when it comes to delivering adequate on-site safety.