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Title:
SHEET METAL BRAKE WITH LOADING ROLLERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/034314
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The sheet metal brake with side loading rollers (10) includes a plurality of stations (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16), each having a lower beam (20) and an upper beam (22). Each of the lower and upper beams (20, 22) has a workpiece clamping element (24, 26) extending therefrom. Each station (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) includes at least one bending tool carrier (42, 44) having a bending tool (46, 48). The at least one tool carrier (42, 44) is movable relative to a corresponding one of the lower and upper beams (20, 22). A plurality of supports (30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40) selectively carry a workpiece (18) between selected ones of the plurality of stations (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16). Each support (30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40) is selectively vertically adjustable, and may be a set of driven rollers or the like.

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Inventors:
HERSHBERGER NELSON D (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2019/047087
Publication Date:
February 25, 2021
Filing Date:
August 19, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HERSHBERGER NELSON D (US)
International Classes:
B21D5/02; B21D43/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2019089054A12019-05-09
WO2013093950A12013-06-27
Foreign References:
JP2017077564A2017-04-27
US6196041B12001-03-06
US20160107847A12016-04-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LYONS, Robert B. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A sheet metal brake, comprising: a chassis; and a plurality of stations mounted on the chassis, each of the stations having: an upper beam and a lower beam pivotally mounted on the chassis, each of the beams having a workpiece clamping element extending therefrom adapted for clamping a flat elongated sheet metal workpiece therebetween so that at least an edge of the workpiece extends beyond the clamping elements in cantilever fashion; and at least one bending tool carrier having a bending tool extending therefrom, the at least one tool carrier being movable relative to a corresponding one of the upper and lower beams, the at least one bending tool being pivotal to exert pressure for bending the workpiece against the workpiece clamping elements to form an elongated bend in the workpiece; and a plurality of supports mounted on the chassis for selectively supporting and carrying the workpiece between the stations.

2. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein each said support is selectively vertically adjustable.

3. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein each said station has a corresponding said support adjacent thereto for carrying the workpiece between the stations and lowering the workpiece to a bending position.

4. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, further comprising a conveyer mounted on the chassis for feeding the workpiece to a first one of the supports.

5. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein each said station further comprises a bending tool actuator connected to the at least one bending tool carrier to effect movement of the at least one bending tool carrier to bring the bending tool into contact with the workpiece for bending the workpiece.

6. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one bending tool carrier comprises: an upper bending tool carrier having an upper bending tool extending therefrom; and a lower bending tool carrier having a lower bending tool extending therefrom.

7. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein each said station further comprises a hinge assembly connected between the at least one bending tool carrier and a corresponding one of the upper and lower beams.

8. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein each said station further comprises at least one gripping member for selectively grasping the workpiece.

9. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 8, wherein the at least one gripping member is selectively horizontally movable.

10. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 1, wherein the plurality of supports comprises a plurality of sets of driven rollers.

11. A sheet metal brake, comprising: a chassis; a plurality of stations mounted on the chassis, each of the stations including: an upper beam and a lower beam, each of the beams being pivotally mounted on the chassis, each of the upper and lower beams having a workpiece clamping element extending therefrom adapted for clamping a flat elongated sheet metal workpiece therebetween with at least an edge of the workpiece extending beyond the clamping elements in cantilever fashion; and at least one bending tool carrier having a bending tool extending therefrom, the at least one tool carrier being movable relative to a corresponding one of the upper\and lower beams, the at least one bending tool being pivotal to exert pressure for bending the workpiece against the workpiece clamping elements to form an elongated bend in the workpiece; and a plurality of supports mounted on the chassis for selectively supporting and carrying the workpiece between selected ones of the plurality of stations, each of the supports being selectively vertically adjustable.

12. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein each said station has a corresponding one of the supports adjacent thereto for carrying the workpiece between the stations and lowering the workpiece to a bending position.

13. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, further comprising a conveyer mounted on the chassis, the conveyor feeding the workpiece to a first one of the supports.

14. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein each said station further comprises a bending tool actuator connected to the at least one bending tool carrier to effect movement of the at least one bending tool carrier to bring the bending tool into contact with the workpiece for bending the workpiece.

15. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein the at least one bending tool carrier comprises: an upper bending tool carrier having an upper bending tool extending therefrom; and a lower bending tool carrier having a lower bending tool extending therefrom.

16. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein each said station further comprises a hinge assembly connected between the at least one bending tool carrier and a corresponding one of the upper and lower beams. 17. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein each said station further comprises at least one gripping member for selectively grasping the workpiece.

18. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 17, wherein the at least one gripping member is selectively horizontally movable.

19. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein at least one of the plurality of supports includes a set of driven rollers.

20. The sheet metal brake as recited in claim 11, wherein said supports are selected from the group consisting of a set of driven rollers, a table, and a conveyor.

Description:
SHEET METAL BRAKE WITH SIDE LOADING ROLLERS TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosure of the present patent application relates generally to the forming and bending of sheet metal, and particularly to a sheet metal brake with side loading rollers for automatically loading a new sheet of metal for bending or folding as the previous sheet is being removed.

BACKGROUND ART

A sheet metal brake, sometimes also referred to as a “bending brake”, “bending machine” or “sheet metal folder”, is a machine capable of creating a bend or fold in sheet metal. In its simplest form, the sheet metal brake creates a linear bend in the sheet metal. However, more complex bends and shapes are possible. One exemplary type of sheet metal brake 100 or folder, in particular, the bending machine described in U.S. Patent No. 6,324,882, issued December 4, 2001 to Kutschker et ak, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety, is shown in Figs. 2A, 2B and 3. The sheet metal brake 100 includes a chassis 101, which functions as a frame of the sheet metal brake 100, and has a plurality of stations 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 mounted thereon. Also mounted to the chassis 101 is a machine controller 130.

The chassis 101, in its function as a frame, supports lower and upper clamp beams 211, 212, respectively, at stations 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115. As shown in Fig. 3, the lower and upper clamp beams 211, 212 terminate in lower and upper clamping elements 213, 214, respectively, which are used to clamp the workpiece 218. Lower and upper bending tool carriers 221, 222, respectively, with respective bending tools 223, 224 or bending noses extending therefrom, are supported by lower and upper hinge assemblies 227, 228, respectively, on lower and upper clamp beams 211, 212, respectively.

Bending actuator mechanisms 231, 232 are connected to the lower and upper bending tool carriers 221, 222, and act against the hinge assembly 227 or 228 to draw respective bending tool 223 or 224 against the workpiece 218 at clamping elements 213, 214. The movement of a bending tool 223 or 224 against the workpiece 218 at clamping elements 213, 214 causes the workpiece 218 to bend.

The plurality of stations 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 function as holding units, each of which has a separate set of bending actuator mechanisms 231, 232 and hinge assemblies 227, 228. The bending actuator mechanisms 231, 232 may have a common drive, or may use separate actuator mechanisms per station. In this way, a bending actuator mechanism 231, 232 at each station 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 acts against the hinge assembly 227 or 228 at its respective station. Clamp beams 211, 212 and bending tool carriers 221, 222 extend across the length of the chassis 101.

Although such sheet metal brakes are effective in forming the desired bends or folds in sheet metal workpieces, it would represent a substantial saving in cost and labor to provide such bending machines with a mechanism for automatically feeding a new sheet metal workpiece between the clamping beams or clamping elements when the bending or folding process has been completed on the previous workpiece and it is removed from between the clamping elements.

Thus, a sheet metal brake with side loading rollers solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

DISCLOSURE

The sheet metal brake with side loading rollers includes a plurality of stations mounted on a chassis. Each of the stations includes an upper beam and a lower beam, each pivotally mounted on the chassis. Each of the upper and lower beams has a workpiece clamping element extending therefrom, which is adapted for clamping a flat elongated sheet metal workpiece therebetween, such that at least an edge of the workpiece extends beyond the clamping elements in cantilever fashion.

Each station further includes at least one bending tool carrier having a bending tool extending therefrom. The at least one tool carrier is movable relative to a corresponding one of the upper and lower beams. The at least one bending tool is pivotal to exert pressure for bending the workpiece against the workpiece clamping elements to form an elongated bend in the workpiece.

A plurality of supports are mounted on the chassis for selectively carrying the workpiece between selected ones of the plurality of stations. Each support is selectively vertically adjustable, allowing each support to be individually raised or lowered, the raised position allowing for loading of workpieces to be bent, and the lowered position placing the workpiece at the proper height for the bending operation to be performed. Each support corresponds to one of the stations, allowing the bending of a first workpiece by one or more stations while a second workpiece is simultaneously loaded into the sheet metal brake with side loading rollers. In some embodiments, each support may be a set of driven rollers, although it should be understood that any suitable support for supporting and carrying the workpiece may be used, for example, conveyers, tables and the like.

These and other features of the present disclosure will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 is a front view of a sheet metal brake with side loading rollers.

Fig. 2A is a front view of a sheet metal brake of the prior art.

Fig. 2B is a side view of the prior art sheet metal brake of Fig. 2A.

Fig. 3 is a side view in section of the prior art sheet metal brake of Fig. 2A, shown with the side wall broken away and partially in section.

Fig. 4 is a partial left side view of the sheet metal brake of Fig. 1.

Fig. 5 is a front view of the sheet metal brake of Fig. 1, shown in an initial loading configuration.

Fig. 6 is a front view of the sheet metal brake of Fig. 1 , shown with selected sets of rollers in a lowered position for the bending of a first workpiece while a second workpiece is being simultaneously loaded.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

BEST MODE(S) FOR CARRING OUT THE INVENTION

Referring to Fig. 1, the sheet metal brake with side loading rollers, designated generally as 10 in the drawings, includes multiple sets of supports for side loading a workpiece, before or after bending a previous or presently carried workpiece. Each support may be a set of driven rollers, although it should be understood that any suitable support for supporting and carrying the workpiece may be used. Fig. 1 illustrates the supports in the form of movable feed rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, as will be described in detail below, although it should be understood that any suitable type of support and/or carrier may be used, such as conveyers, tables and the like. The sheet metal brake 10 of Fig. 1 includes a chassis 21, which functions as a frame of the sheet metal brake 10, and has a plurality of stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 mounted thereon. As shown in Fig. 1, the number of sets of supports (e.g., the movable feed rollers in the example of Fig. 1) may match the number of stations, thus providing one support for each station.

As shown in Fig. 4, chassis 21, in its function as a frame, supports lower and upper clamp beams 20, 22, respectively, at stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. The lower and upper clamp beams 20, 22 terminate in lower and upper clamping elements 24, 26, respectively, which are used to clamp the workpiece 18. Lower and upper bending tool carriers 42, 44, respectively, with respective bending tools 46, 48 or bending noses extending therefrom, are supported by lower and upper hinge assemblies 50, 52, respectively, on lower and upper clamp beams 20, 22, respectively. Although Fig. 4 shows hinge assemblies 50, 52 as scissor- type, extendable hinges, it should be understood that any suitable type of hinge assembly, such as hinge assemblies 227, 228 (see Fig. 3), may be used.

Bending actuator mechanisms 54, 56 are connected to the lower and upper bending tool carriers 42, 44, and act against the hinge assembly 50 or 52 to draw respective bending tool 46 or 48 against the workpiece 18 at clamping elements 24, 26. The movement of bending tool 46 or 48 against the workpiece 18 at clamping elements 24, 26 causes the workpiece 18 to bend.

The plurality of stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 function as holding units, each of which has a separate set of bending actuator mechanisms 54, 56 and hinge assemblies 50, 52. The bending actuator mechanisms 54, 56 may have a common drive, or may use separate actuator mechanisms per station. In this way, a bending actuator mechanism 54, 56 at each station 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 acts against the hinge assembly 50 or 52 at its respective station. Clamp beams 20, 22 and bending tool carriers 42, 44 extend across the length of the chassis 21.

In the side view of Fig. 4, only the right- most set of rollers 40 can be seen (i.e., referring to the orientation of Fig. 1, the set of rollers 40 appears as the right- most set in Fig. 1). The set of rollers 40 is supported by one or more hydraulic or pneumatic pistons or cylinders 60. It should be understood that each of the sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 is similarly supported by one or more hydraulic or pneumatic pistons or cylinders, allowing the sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 to be individually raised and lowered. It should be understood that the hydraulic or pneumatic pistons or cylinders may be replaced by any suitable type of actuator, motor or the like for effecting the controlled raising and lowering of sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40. As noted above, the sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 are shown as an example of the supports for the workpieces, and any suitable type of support and/or carrier may be used, including, but not limited to, conveyers, tables and the like. In Fig. 1, each set of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 is shown in its raised position to enable side loading into the machine during, before, or after bending the previous or present workpiece, ready to receive workpiece 18, which may be fed from the side via conveyer 60. It should be understood that conveyer 60 may be any suitable type of powered conveyer or feeder. Alternatively, conveyer 60 could be replaced by a manual feeder or removed. As further alternatives, vacuum cups, magnets or the like could be used to releasably grip the workpiece 18 and move the workpiece 18 onto the rollers, table, or other support.

In addition to being mounted on the hydraulic or pneumatic pistons or cylinders for vertical movement thereof, each exemplary set of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 may be powered to drive horizontal movement of the workpiece 18. As shown in Fig. 5, the workpiece 18 has been side-loaded from conveyer 60 and is carried to the left (in the exemplary orientation of Fig. 5), by the multiple driven sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40. As is well known in the art, the sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 may be driven by any suitable type of motors or the like, and may utilize any suitable type of mechanical linkages, such as chains, gears and the like.

In Fig. 6, workpiece 18 has been fully moved to the left (in the exemplary orientation of Fig. 6), and the left-most sets of rollers 30, 32 have been lowered to place workpiece 18 at the proper height for bending, i.e., at the proper height for the operation shown in Fig. 4, described above, to be performed. As shown in Figs. 4 and 6, since each set of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 is individually controlled to raise or lower, a second workpiece 18' may be loaded into the sheet metal brake 10 while the first workpiece 18 is being bent. Once the first workpiece 18 is bent and extracted from the sheet metal brake with side loading rollers, the left-most sets of rollers 30, 32 may again be raised to their initial position of Figs. 1 and 5, ready to receive the second workpiece 18'. It should be understood that although the movement and operation of the left-most sets of rollers 30, 32, along with their corresponding stations 11, 12, have been solely described, this is for purposes of clarity and illustration only. Each set of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 may be operated individually, both to drive movement of a workpiece horizontally, as well as to selectively raise and lower, and each of the corresponding stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 may be used to bend the workpiece. It should be understood that the driving movement of the sets of rollers 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, the selective vertical movement thereof, the bending operations of each of stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and the feeding operation of conveyer 60 may be controlled by any suitable type of controller, such as the controller 130 associated with the sheet metal brake 100 of Figs. 2A, 2B and 3. Returning to Fig. 4, as shown, each of the stations 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 may further include lower and upper gripping members 70, 72, respectively, for holding and manipulating the workpiece 18 after it has been lowered into the bending position. In the example of Fig. 6, once the left- most sets of rollers 30, 32 have received workpiece 18 and have lowered the workpiece 18 into position for bending, the gripping members 70, 72 may selectively grasp the workpiece 18 to move the workpiece 18 into position (i.e., move the workpiece to the left in the orientation of Fig. 4) for the bending operation. Gripping members 70, 72 may be selectively opened and closed by an suitable type of actuator, motor or the like, and may be selectively driven to move horizontally by any suitable type of horizontal drive, such as sliding actuator 74 or the like. Thus, under the control of controller 130, gripping members 70, 72 may grasp the workpiece 18 while it rests on rollers 30, 32 and, under the power of sliding actuator 74, move the workpiece 18 to the left (in the orientation of Fig. 4) for the bending operation to begin. Once bending is complete, the gripping members 70, 72 may be driven to move back into their initial position (i.e., to the right in the orientation of Fig. 4). It is to be understood that sheet metal brake with side loading rollers are not limited to the specific embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the generic language of the following claims enabled by the embodiments described herein, or otherwise shown in the drawings or described above in terms sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the claimed subject matter.