What bending tooling system is better?

Press brake with installed top and bottom bending tools

Today our new article is about press brake tool systems. This is important and interesting for potential customers who are looking forward to purchasing their first press brake and starting to learn the tube bending technology.

First, what main tooling systems are available for press brake tools?

The bending tooling system is the configuration of upper and lower holders, fixation places for the bending punch and bending die, and their main connection geometry. These are important details to be capable and to install into the particular press brake for the proper use.

The tooling system is one of the main technical details of the press brake. Moreover, various brands of press brakes use only their particular tooling system. Each tooling system has its own tooling geometry and separate tool catalogs, which do not correspond to other systems.

Types of bending tooling systems

What systems are mainly available (according to the catalogs of manufacturers of press brake tools):

Promecam (Euro) / Amada style

The most widely used system in the world was developed by company Amada and company Promecam for their machines (company Promecam was purchased by AMADA). Could be called “European.” It is very popular for European-made press brakes.

95% of machines manufactured in Asia (China, Taiwan, India, etc.) are also usually equipped with this tooling system.

Trumpf-WILA style

Trumpf and Wila are similar systems. Trumpf system is used on press brakes Trumpf.

Wila company is a separate manufacturer of tools and tooling holders with the possibility to install their system on other machines. For many years Wila has cooperated with company Safan and Safan press brakes had only with Wila holders.

American style

Simple system with inch geometries used on US and Canada markets and American-made press brakes for a lot of years.

Bystronic-Beyeler style

A special system used on Bystronic and Beyeler machines. Also has a lot of varieties like more old R-style, S-style, and modern RFA-style.

LVD style

A special system used on LVD machines. Also has varities with more old-style tangs and modern LVD-W which is in particular special geometry of punches to be used with WILA-style punch holders.

Heavy duty or heavy tonnage system

To use the big thickness punches for maximum resistance and possible tonnage for bending.

Other more rare systems like Colgar, Weinbrenner, Durmazlar, EHT, Darley, Baykal, etc.

We can tell that as in the past as well as now the tooling system – is a technical feature of the manufacturer. For example, Bystronic press brakes use a Bystronic-made tooling system and it is their specialty and exclusivity against other machines on the market. For sure this position has its advantages and disadvantages but probably the second machine that the customer will purchase will be also Bystronic to uses the same bending tooling.
It was the same for a lot of brands and manufacturers – usually, all manufacturers of press brakes have their catalog of tooling and they are the first source of tooling supply.

Why there is no universality and one tooling system for all press brakes? We cannot provide one single and correct answer. As we told before it is the way of competition, it is the way of some tooling developments, it is the way to make the press brake more interesting for the potential customer because of his needs. Also, we can suppose it is because of the very conservative market of press brake machines. It is a very old technology with very few changes in construction principle and the tooling situation is the same.

What tooling system is really better?

Now let us start with the main topic of the question. First the present situation. If we go to study the main press brake producers we will see that usually they are ready to supply the press brake with the Promecam system (cheaper) or WILA system (more expensive). Also could be different solutions like mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic clamping for fast tool holding which will affect the price.

Wila system has one important and biggest advantage – punches with buttons. Buttons allow to extract bending punches from the frontal side (or to install punches back) very fast. So the setup of the tooling is in seconds.
If we look into the situation 10 years ago the installation of the Wila system on the press brake leads to the fact that the customer should purchase Wila original tooling to use buttons. This system had the protected patent. For sure you can purchase non-original punches but only with pins without the possibility to use the frontal extraction.

Advantages changed during the time

Now the patent if Wila is expired and a lot of tooling manufacturers can supply the tooling with buttons. So the wide use of the Wila tooling system is much bigger than it was before.

We also can tell that today Wila is the most potential tooling system for robotic bending cells based on the possibility for easy automatic tool extraction which could be made by the robot without the activity of the operator.

Next – the Promecam / Amada tooling system is just cheaper, more simple, and more easy to use. Cheaper and this means that the whole price of press brake will be much cheaper. It is a structural system that consists of holders of L=150 mm. Any damage to the holder and you can replace it and only one. (there are 15 tool holders on 3 meters machine). The damage to the Wila holder could lead to replacing it completely.

But for sure, the tooling system depends on your necessities and applications. If you need to bend thick or special steels and run tonnages of 200 t/m or more, there is no question about the tooling system. This is the question of the machine itself to have such capacities.

Also, in the last years, there have been a lot of developments and products for various holders and clamps for press brakes, so they will have advantages over more expensive tooling systems as well.

Tonnage for bending tooling system

The available tonnage for the systems is different. During the bending, if we speak about the tonnage of the bending system, it is the resistance of the holder, which is installed between the main beam of the press brake and the punch.

The standard Promecam tool holder has a plate thickness of just 14 mm, and the limit is 100 tons per meter. This means that even if you have a big tonnage machine with standard Promecam holders, even with more heavy bending tools, you will just damage your holders first.

We didn’t have the confirmed information about the limitation of the Wila holder. The punch tang has a thickness of 20 mm so we can consider that the tonnage could be nearly as confirmed Bystronic system which is 160 tons/meter. Theoretically, the customer could request this information from the manufacturer of the press brake. Unfortunately, mainly it is missing in the public sources.

What is important for the customer to learn? We encountered a lot of customers who think that if they have 200 tons for a machine of 3 meters, they can do also 200 tons on 1 meter to bend heavy and thick materials. But usually, nobody has confirmation from the manufacturer that they can really concentrate the tonnage for a short length. So everybody should also note about the resistance of the tool holders.

Tooling system based on circumstances

The real case – we supply adapters for our customers mainly for punches. Adapters are necessary to change the tooling system, usually from something to Promecam. What is the reason if the customer has the Trumpf-Wila system for example? Very simple – probably he has a lot of bending tooling for Promecam or other machines. So for him the cost of the adapters is cheaper than new tools.

Also – do all the systems have absolutely different geometries of bending tooling based on their catalogs? Why it is happening? Because all manufacturers in their catalogs copied most requested geometries from original manufacturer catalogs. Not only geometries but even angles are the same. LVD, for example, uses 78 degrees for their standard punches.

Another important point – the Promecam tooling system is really cheaper than others as the holder system and as the main tools. It is more universal to use, even with bending units for hydraulic presses for example. It means that in the workshop you can have one real CNC press brake and probably a bending unit for the most simple jobs and they will use the same tools.

Sometimes the equipment of the press brake by tooling system should be based only on the necessary tasks and applications. Trumpf-Wila tools are taller and allow to deal with more deep parts. Promecam is easier to develop for use for special applications, for example like installation of an additional hemming table for making door profiles.