Metal Profiles Do Not Have to Be Extruded – They Can Be Pressed Sheet Metal Too

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If you require a metal profile part for a product you are developing and you have begun searching for a subcontractor who can provide an extruded part, then now is the time to make a full stop!

Did you know that modern press brake tooling can produce profiles parts Powdercoating that go way beyond simple bends or channels? You might be surprised at what is possible – and at what cost.

Of course, a nice extruded aluminum profile can be preferable in many cases. If the cosmetics are important – if you want that anodized look for instance, or if you simply need a product which could only be made by extrusion, then by all means go for it. But as long as we are talking about work in which none of the above demands are present (or all important), chances are that a press brake could do the job.

What makes this possible? Developments in tooling technology of course. A technique like wiping can certainly do some interesting things, but does have a risk of marring or scratching the part being made. A newer technique known as rotary bending does not have this problem, and can even be used on pre-painted parts without damaging the finish. It can also bend angles greater than 90 degrees in one pass. Rocker dies are another type of tooling allowing for shapes not previously available from press brake manufacturing; It has built in rotation in the top die, which allows it to press into a bottom die with a partially obscured opening. An example of this sort of work, could be a radiused bend followed by a deep return flange, if you can picture that. Let us simply say, that it couldn’t have been done with a fixed angle top die.

There are other, even more advanced bending methods available today, but suffice it to say that the trusty old press brake has enlarged its repertoire somewhat in recent years.

The question now is: What do you really require in a profile product? Do you require a high degree of complexity – more than what you imagine can be had in a pressed product? Are you going to apply a finish to the part, such as painting, powdercoating or plating, or must it be presentable au naturel, so to speak? It just might be, that a piece of light gauge steel could be bent into the profile of your choice, eliminating the need for costly, extruded AL parts. Why not take your list of needs to a pressing plant and get their opinion?

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