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Home / Experts / Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey is TruBend Series press brakes technical specialist for TRUMPF Inc., www.us.trumpf.com. Email tom.bailey@us.trumpf.com.

Articles by Tom Bailey

Totally Tubular: Take Profile Design to the Next Level

One of the fastest-growing sectors of North American metal manufacturing is laser processing of tubes and profiles. Design software and machines that automatically perform multiple manufacturing steps are making this complicated fabrication process cost-effective for smaller companies.

The Practical Impact of Industry 4.0 – Part Three: Connecting the Dots

Building the Smart Factory starts with digital processes and automated machines, but it ends with intelligent connections between resources and tasks. Linking together people, machines and software inside a plant enhances the capabilities of each and creates a system that is more valuable than the sum of its parts.

More Than One Way to Skin a Part: Where Fabrication and Machining Overlap

Don’t take the “hard limits” between machining and fabrication for granted. Their areas of overlap offer tremendous potential for savings. If you manufacture parts using both processes, take a second look at some of them to evaluate whether they could be produced more economically with a little sheet metal know-how and some outside-the-box thinking.

Technical Service in the Era of Industry 4.0

As machine tool manufacturers work on enabling technology to make the Smart Factory possible, the field of machine service and support has started to drastically minimize the window of lost productive time that shops must deal with.

Sheet Metal Marking Review

Demands are growing for sheet metal fabricators to mark their parts during production for product traceability in the field and better efficiencies in the shop, but many part identification systems can add an unnecessary secondary process. Whenever possible, consider finding ways to incorporate part marking into a manufacturing step that is already required. Here are some ways to use the equipment that you already have.

Keeping it Cool: Why Machines Depend on Chillers, and Chillers Depend on You

Lax water maintenance has a huge potential downside in laser cutting machines: bad water could lead to extreme overheating and complete failure of the laser. Here are some other reasons why keeping cool and remembering to change the chiller water will get the most work out of your machinery at the lowest cost of ownership.

Built to Last: Sheet Metal Design with Strength in Mind

Sheet metal has a high strength-to-weight ratio and good malleability that can provide form and structure to products, but because it is flat and bends easily, it doesn’t always work. Here are some ways to increase the structural strength of flat sheet stock without adding gussets or increasing the weight of the product.

Beyond Bending: Press Brakes Can Do Much More

It might come as a surprise that the press brake you walk by on the shop floor each day can do a lot more than make flanges. When considering how to get from product drawings to finished goods, keep in mind that your press brake can do so much more than just bend.

Advanced Metal Joining with Laser Welding

Laser welding is becoming more common to a wider audience that is discovering how its unique properties can create stronger and more aesthetic weld seams than conventional GMAW processes, and how it can tackle weld geometries that were once impractical or downright impossible.

Productive Meets Safe: Equipment Enhancements that Help Prevent Press Brake Injuries

Unless they are fully automated, production on CNC press brakes cannot occur without an operator’s hands being constantly in near proximity to a potential danger zone. For this reason, increasing efforts are being directed toward fail-safe measures on these machines. Here are some of the latest improvements that have been developed by press brake manufacturers to reduce the likelihood of accidental injuries.

The King of Cutting Sheet Metal Up to One Inch Thick

When jobs call for cutting sheet metal in thicknesses around one inch and under, waterjet and plasma cutting pale in comparison to laser cutting. Here are the reasons why it is the clear front runner for shops that compete in this type of work.

Make Your Mark

Whether you mark your parts for identification, ornamentation or post processing, there are several options to consider. Regardless of the purpose of the mark or the material to be marked, there is a product marking system to fulfill your needs. Here are several different ways for you to make your mark.

A Little TLC Means a Lot to Press Brake Tooling

Press brake tools are the only parts of the machine that ever touch the finished parts being formed. The best precision CNC press brake cannot produce good products with poor tooling, and bad tooling makes all the good hardware in the process – including the machine operator – useless. 

A Practical Approach to Bending Length Precision

To hit those very small flange length tolerances on our prints, we need to master that material stretch. This means we need to understand not just the material, but also how the press brake tooling being used to perform the bend will change the amount of stretch and impact the size of the blank.

Breaking Down Automated Bending

Here are five basic areas to evaluate when considering whether it is right to invest in an automated bending solution, and if so, which type of system to choose.

Rethinking Bending Automation

Don’t attempt to adapt an assembly robot into a bending cell. New application-driven robots work alongside press brakes to simplify part programming and minimize cycle times. Instead, add process reliability enhancements and offline software and your return on investment for bending automation becomes clear and highly achievable. Here’s how to do it.

Bending Aesthetics: When the Finish Comes First

Sometimes marks caused by the lower die during the bending process can turn a good part into scrap metal, even if the scrapes are very light and have no functional bearing on the part whatsoever. To deal with this problem, it is necessary to reduce or eliminate the movement of the material over the hard shoulders of the die. Here are several ways to do this.

GOING FOR GREEN LIGHT: REDUCING LASER SETUP TIMES TO KEEP THE BEAM ON

Green light time is the way to make money operating a machine tool, and it never hurts to go back and review some basic principles for improving productivity in a laser fabricating process. With an eye toward keeping that light on longer, Tom Bailey of Trumpf looks at a few simple strategies that can pay off.

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