How much do you spend on your press brake?

Press brake CNC with bending tools installed

Well, let us consider that you are looking for a new industrial machine for your production – a new press brake. We would like to explain some principles and details for the potential sale and purchase. Probably it will be interesting to somebody who is looking forward to getting the new information. We already have some experience in used machine tools (we participated from the customer’s side as well as the seller’s side) and we can share also these things with you.

Well, we will explain about press brakes but the same main principles are valid for any machine tool.

A study of the budget

When we worked on sales of the equipment, we, as any other seller, had one of the principal questions to the customer: “What is your budget?”. This question has two important sides: first, it is reasonable and good to understand the possibilities of the customer and his limits. It could also be highly important if, at the request of the customer, there are different solutions with different prices and production possibilities.

And on the second side, the seller wants to understand how realistic the customer is with his expectations and the possible purchase. If the customer has a budget, this means that he made some calculations, some studies, and some preparations. So he can go further and is prepared for the next steps. If the customer is like, “Well, we think just now, please offer, and we will see…” it means that the customer is not a potential customer or that it is in the initial stage. This means that with this customer, you can do a lot of work for nothing, but the customer will still buy nothing.

Is the project serious or not?

There is one other problem with customers who do not have the budget; it means that they didn’t make the real study for the investment. When the customer has real production and real material flow and can understand his necessities, profits, and potential, he can be clear with himself what he can invest in the new equipment. Otherwise, probably the customer even wants a new machine, but there is no real financial reason for this purchase. And you are talking with the engineer, but the director doesn’t have the same ideas and wishes.

Yes, with the press brake, it is a little bit more easy. Let us consider that the complete project of the medium machine like a CNC press brake 100 tons 3 meters with all the bending tooling, options, and installation will be not more than 100 thousand EUR.

But if we speak about more serious machine tools or even press brakes, without budget is better not to touch the job because probably there is a big risk of time waste. In the past, we encountered even a customer without the budget who wanted the line for light poles production (for 12 meters we are talking about the equipment 0,5-1,5 mln of EUR depending on the options like welding, handling, transportation, etc). Maybe it is not 100% true but we are talking only about our suggestions and thoughts. We believe that serious projects require serious work and serious requests. Otherwise, it is better than somebody other will do the job.

New or used press brake to purchase

Well, we already made the article about points of study for used press brakes. Probably it is better not to repeat but anyway, some points should be one more time explained or added.

Let us explain clearly – the factory has wishes and possibilities. It means that it will be quite good to buy a new modern CNC press brake with a lot of options and advantages. But there is the question – can you return this investment back?

If we are buying a car we are buying it for our comfort – any car could be driven on the road, but we need a car not only for it.
The industrial process is quite strict, simple, and honest: the profitable industrial business should buy the machine tool to make money with it (profit) but not to make just non-returnable expenses. So if your production program is limited to XXX EUR with bending for XX years (generally we should consider something like 5 years and more) this is the real budget for the new machine but it should be profitable as well!

In other words, it means that if you plan to have a return of 10 thousand EUR within 5 years you cannot invest 50 thousand EUR into a new machine because it will be just non-profitable (in case you are not looking forward to bringing other orders for the rest).

Calculations for budgets and investments return

We prefer not to go to real financial things but there are different and a lot of methods to calculate the return of the investments, estimating costs and profits, etc. It is also very interesting to determine the press brake the realistic “life of use”. Some machines operate even for 40-50 years but for sure in reality, you should calculate the budget based on 5-8 years. Probably we could name it as an effective investment. If the investment requires 10 or more years for the return it should be doubly effective.

So we are coming to the picture that the question of new or used press brake should be based on the customer’s possibilities, necessities, and possible investments.

We know some factories where press brake bending technology is a real secondary operation. These factories make brackets for various uses; they can also order them outside. They purchase and operate used machines because there are not so many important processes with them. So such factory can operate even a machine of 20 years without the problem.

Also, the factory must be professional and familiar with operating and maintenance for used machines, to find the parts and to service themselves. For example, even machines of Schiavi Italy of 25-30 years are quite reliable and used widely and have a good possibility of sale and have interest to purchase for potential customers. A lot of people very well know these machines, their possibilities, and work and can deal with them easily.

Cheaper new machine tool and co-financing

As you know – the new car became cheaper by 20% when it came out from the auto trader and started to drive. Probably we can tell the same about the machine tools as well, the new machine is more expensive than the used machine installed at the customer’s site, even if it is the machine with 100 hours on it. So a used machine or used “press brake” doesn’t mean that it is extremely used. It could be just “slightly touched” and “as new”. The same about demo machines – machines that were not in the real production but just at the exhibitions to make movements in the air.

The advantage of such machines could be probably the small economy but zero waiting time – the machine is available for purchase without waiting for several months of production.

For sure, questions about new machine tools are also based on possible financial programs. Sometimes (like in Italy), the government supports the purchase of new machine tools available for Industry 4.0 somehow (with a reduction of taxes or real money for co-financing). Sometimes (as it was in a lot of East European countries), there were programs to support, with the assistance of the European community, the development of various production programs with new machine tools. And the leasing: it is much more possible to get it for a new machine tool than for a used one. So this question should also be studied if the factory wants and can use external funds or credits for its purchase of the press brake.


Unfortunately, servicing is a very important topic. When you take a car and it is even 30 years you can have anyway a lot of car services around your house or near to the service. If it is not a very rare model you can also find a lot of spare parts and also non-original parts for the same articles from the good brand names and quality.

With machine tools everything is different. The big worry of the customer is – how he can deal with his press brake in case he will buy it used. With the new machine tool, everything is clear – you have an approved guarantee of at least 1 year (or more depending on the manufacturer) and it is the period to study the machine but also to call the service if you have any problem.

Also, it is important the factor of local service – technicians will come in a fast time and not from thousands of kilometers.
Even the brand name of the manufacturer is important! Try to find the real service for US-made press brakes in Europe with their local CNC – we believe it will be very difficult or even impossible.

So the safety or, in better words, smaller risks based on the popularity of the machine tool model and brand, wide use, availability of service technicians, and spare parts. Or better, to use a simple machine (like old Promecam small press brakes, for example). These machines are not so complicated and could be maintained by any level of service technician.