When a company is in the market for an electric or hydraulic press brake, decision-makers could be wondering which one is best for them. As a result, they might assign the task of procuring a press brake to an operations manager or a financial planner. Therefore, if an operations manager is in the market for a press brake, this article will help compare press brake options. In addition, operations managers will gain insight into making the best decision to buy and or retrofit a press brake.   

Before comparing hydraulic and all-electric press brakes, let us cover the primary reasons to buy an electric press brake. They include:

1) Lower overall cost:

The cost of a hybrid or all-electric press brake can be at least 20-30% more than standard hydraulic press brakes. However, buyers can save on the machine’s efficiency and accuracy and lower operations and maintenance costs over its useful life. Continue reading to learn more about how the extra cost for an electric or hybrid brake is worth the investment. 

2) Energy Efficiency: 

Compared with traditional hydraulic bending systems, electric and hybrid press brakes only use the energy required for pressure at each stage and often shut down automatically when not in use. This feature is especially true for servo motor-driven CNC bending machines. So if a goal is to save money on energy usage, then electric or hybrid press brakes can be an excellent long-term investment. 

3) Higher accuracy:  

Machine shops with inaccurate press brakes need to make adjustments and test bends on one or several pieces of sheet metal and adjust the gauge position accordingly to obtain the correct flange lengths. This hidden cost from a time-consuming process is challenging to quantify, but looking at the scrap piles can usually indicate how much it costs machine shops to operate low-accuracy press brakes. Unfortunately, the cost of this activity goes unaccounted for in many sheet metal shops. On the other hand, all-electric press brakes are known for their high accuracy and efficiency. For example, a leading all-electric press brake made by CoastOne Oy from Seinäjoki, Finland, is exceptionally efficient. The heart of a CosteOne electric press brake is the “direct-drive system,” which uses servo motors directly tied to ball screws to administer force. This technology, in turn, offers an extreme accuracy of 0.000079 inches!  

4) Silence is golden:  

With difficulty finding quality technical help, machine shop managers should not underestimate the employee satisfaction of operating a quiet machine. For example, after replacing a noisy hydraulic press brake with an electric machine, employees will appreciate not listening to the loud and steady humming every day. Instead, the monotonous sound will get replaced by a quiet time with noise occurring only during ram movement. As a result, fewer sick days and lower employee turnover rates can help keep a company running at peak performance. 

5) A greener environment:  

Electric press brakes often consume less energy than traditional hydraulic machines because they need measurable electricity only when the ram is in motion. In addition, since there is no hydraulics, there are oil changes needed. As a result, machine shops can buy more affordable machines and, as a bonus, boast in their marketing materials that they are doing their part to help clean up the environment. This environmental benefit creates a win/win situation for press brake owners and the communities in which they live. 

6) Improved Controls and Automations:

Fully electric press brakes can make bending processes more manageable and reliable for operators. As a result, the hardships with hydraulic viscosity fluctuations throughout the day are no longer an issue. In addition, today’s modern electric press brakes like CoastOne come with sophisticated CNC controls and features that improve accuracy and production. Furthermore, with advanced features like “Automatic crowning,” multiple ball screws across the ram distribute the force and create a consistent angle. 

7) More modern safety features:  

Many electric press brakes use laser and light curtain safety systems to prevent accidents when employees get into dangerous positions near the press brake. For example, Automec’s CoastOne press brakes have a safety feature that immediately stops the ram and sends it up to the top limit; when the operator steps hard on the pedal. If an operator were to get pinched by a part, this would set them free.

8) Systems to prevent discrepancies:

Electric press brakes can use algorithms for quality control and hazard prevention. For example, Coastone has systems to calculate and track each bend’s required force and position. Suppose the press brake meets the tonnage requirement but not the target position. In that case, the machine will stop and sound an alarm. As a result, they let operators know of the potential safety hazard, tooling, or material discrepancy.

9) Smaller footprints: 

The fully electric machine can fit in significantly less space than its larger hydraulic counterparts. Since the cost per square foot for manufacturing space is at a premium, reducing the footprint of machines to fit any facility is an advantage in cost savings and flexibility. As a result, machine shops are highly profitable when they have highly efficient electric press brakes that fit in small flexible spaces and can handle large and small parts on demand.    

10) Flexible and easy to set up configurations:   

Old hydraulic press brakes can have complicated setups and are cost-prohibitive and ineffective. Alternatively, new electric press brakes can cycle up and down quickly, shrinking bending cycle time for many applications. The cost savings associated with shorter cycle time and accuracy significantly impact the ROI of an investment.   

Productivity is also positively affected when it comes to preventing miscommunication errors that can result from extended and complicated configurations. Thus electric press brakes have improved productivity due to quick setup and tryout times. In addition, this allows shop operators to easily combine multiple electric press brakes to achieve bending lengths to satisfy the most demanding customer.

CoastOne Electric Press BrakesTraditional Hydraulic Press Brakes
Motor Direct-drive system with servo-electric motors and ball screw(s) Hydraulic motor, pump and fluids
Efficiency The Average power consumption of CoastOne electric press brakes is 1-3 kW. It consumes less electricity, conserves energy -only use energy when in motion. Est. 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient Traditional hydraulic press brakes run hydraulic pumps and heating fluids all day. These can be less efficient and expensive to run and maintain.
Accuracy CoastOne Offers an extreme accuracy of 0.000079 inches! Also known as 1 micron! Accuracy and repeatability can only reach up to 0.0004"
Speed CoastOne electric press brakes have a faster output with a direct positioning system. Machines determine position using rotary encoders on servo motors. No hydraulic fluids. Therefore, no extra time to “decelerate” hydraulic ram to position Fast approach speed, but slower ram accelerations and "decelerations" due to use of hydraulic fluid
Noise pollution Electric press brakes are silent when not in motion. While in motion, the only sound heard is the servo-motor(s) spinning ball screw(s) Hydraulic press brakes are constantly running hydraulic pumps while the machine is on.
Green Often much lower energy consumption. Fully- electric press brake means there is no oil. CoastOne press brake runs off only 24V when not in motion. Often hydraulic press brakes use more energy than fully- electric press brakes due to the hydraulic pumps constantly running when the machines are turned on. Excess oil from hydraulic systems needs disposal. Oil needs to be added/changed
Safety Ergonomics have been incorporated into the design process to keep your operators safe and comfortable to help maximize their productivity. CoastOne press brakes all come standard with a fully-integrated LazerSafe system to protect the operator. Ram will not “drift” with a direct-drive press brake and ram safety spring. Hydraulic press brakes can act differently, depending on the time of day/temperature of the oil. It is very important to make sure the machine comes with safety systems. Ram must always be "blocked" when not in use, due to the possibility of ram "drift."
Save Money CoastOne electric press brakes typically consume less energy. The lack of hydraulic oil eliminates expensive oil changes, spare parts, valves and maintenance expenses common to hydraulic press brakes. Hydraulic press brakes need oil and filter changes and inspections. They can have seal and line leaks, require oil disposal and have more frequent machine shut-downs. Also, due to oil viscosity fluctuations, you are more likely to create more scrap on hydraulic press brakes than on a direct-drive press brake such as CoastOne machines. The angle you get at the start of the day will be the same angle when you shut the machine down for the night.

Contact us today for a custom quote and consultation with our team of electric press brake experts. Call: (781) 893-3403

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