Category Archive: Fab Supply

Beyond the Basics: Elevating Your Metal Fabrication With Advanced Press Brake Tooling Techniques

Metal fabrication professionals know that the road to precision and efficiency is lined with its fair share of obstacles. Particularly, mastering press brake tooling demands a blend of experience, patience, and the right strategies. If you’ve found yourself nodding along to challenges like inconsistent bends, lengthy tool changes, and the quest for the perfect setup, you’re not alone. But fear not—the path to overcoming these hurdles is clearer than you might think.

1. Prioritize Tool Maintenance

First and foremost, regular maintenance of your press brake tooling is non-negotiable. It’s the lifeblood of ensuring consistent, accurate bends. Routine checks and replacements are not just about keeping your tools in good shape; they’re about upholding your reputation for quality.

2. Leverage Technology for Tool Selection

Choosing the right tool need not be a shot in the dark. With today’s technology, assistive software can significantly lighten the load. Training your team to utilize these tools not only boosts your productivity but also enhances your team’s skill sets and confidence.

3. Adopt Quick-change Systems

In the world of metal fabrication, time is indeed money. Implementing quick-change tooling systems can dramatically cut down your downtime, allowing you to take on more projects and, in turn, increase your bottom line.

4. Custom Tooling Solutions

Sometimes, the standard tools just don’t cut it—especially with complex bends. Collaborating with professionals to design custom tooling can add that extra level of precision and flexibility to your operations.

Ready to Up Your Game?

By tackling these common press brake tooling challenges head-on, you’re not just improving your workflow; you’re setting a new standard for quality and efficiency in metal fabrication. It’s about harnessing the right techniques, technologies, and partnerships to turn those headaches into victories. Whether you’re fine-tuning your tool maintenance routine or revolutionizing your setup with automation, remember that every small improvement paves the way for big gains.

Welcome to the next level of metal fabrication. With these strategies in your toolkit, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Prepare to watch your efficiency, your quality, and your bottom line soar to new heights.

Case Study: Engineering Precision in Complex Bends (The Success Story of Milton Manufacturing with Fab Supply)

Over and over again, Fab Supply continually proves to be a top-tier partner for manufacturers looking for tooling solutions. They do this by repeatedly helping their customers execute complex bends, as was the case with partner Milton Manufacturing. In this case study, we explore how the collaboration between Milton Manufacturing and Fab Supply generated notable enhancements in precision and profitability over 16+ years.

Objectives

  • To illustrate the enduring and effective Fab Supply and Milton Mfg. partnership
  • To showcase that Fab Supply is the optimal choice for press brake tooling solutions

Developing Mastery Over Complex Bends

Milton Mfg. has consistently leaned on Fab Supply for their press brake tooling needs across an array of projects, particularly those that have demanded intricate fabrications. Specialized tooling provided by Fab Supply has been at the heart of productions, signifying the role of high-quality equipment in meeting complex project requirements.

Enabling Precision and Repeatability

Milton Mfg. has witnessed substantial improvements in holding tight tolerances and ensuring repeatability when running multiple parts—a testimonial to the craftsmanship and reliability of the tooling provided by Fab Supply.

“The tooling we have purchased has achieved the desired results. We can hold tight tolerances and deliver repeatable quality, which is crucial for complex assemblies,” says Peter Smith from Milton Manufacturing.

Professionalism and Quality of Service

Milton Mfg.’s long-standing partnership with Fab Supply is fueled by consistent product quality and a commitment to excellent service. Such a positive experience only reinforces the decision to continue this collaboration.

“Yes, we would recommend Fab Supply. Their quality products and service speak for themselves,” confirms Milton Mfg.

Conclusion

The established relationship between Milton Mfg. and Fab Supply, spanning over 16 years, speaks volumes of the trust and reliability built between the two entities. With a primary focus on fabricating assemblies with complex bends, Fab Supply has demonstrated its commitment to delivering excellence through precision, and unwavering service quality. It is this very excellence that suggests Fab Supply should indeed be the tooling choice for industry professionals.

Embracing the Future of Press Brake Tooling: A Comprehensive Forecast for 2024

As the world of manufacturing continues to move rapidly, the landscape of press brake tooling is not merely witnessing a change but is amidst a significant revolution. This ongoing transformation is powered by an amalgamation of path-breaking technological advancements, dynamic demands from the industry, and an incessant push toward achieving greater operational efficiency. At Fab Supply, we are not just idle spectators of these evolving trends, but we play an active role as initiators and leaders paving the way forward. Here’s our detailed, thought-out forecast for the exciting possibilities 2024 holds for the realm of press brake tooling.

Automation: The Game-changer

The adoption of automated press brakes has been witnessing a steady increase, playing a pivotal role in enhancing precision and productivity. Looking ahead to 2024, we envisage a significant surge in the integration of robotics into press brake processes. This will pave the way for a seamless, connected, and highly efficient production system. The key benefits would include a drastic reduction in human errors and a considerable increase in production speed, leading to optimized manufacturing cycles and improved profitability.

Precision: The New Industry Standard

As industries relentlessly pursue perfection, precision will take center stage in press brake tooling. The upcoming years will see an influx of advanced software along with laser-based technologies that can provide an unmatched level of accuracy in bends. This high degree of precision will result in a noticeable reduction in waste and contribute to the production of high-quality products that meet and exceed customer expectations.

Sustainability: The Responsibility We Owe

As the world becomes more conscious of its ecological footprint, industries cannot afford to overlook their environmental responsibilities. By 2024, we anticipate an increased focus on sustainable practices within the sphere of press brake tooling. This shift would likely lead to an expanded use of eco-friendly materials and the introduction of energy-efficient technologies that not only optimize production but also contribute to environmental conservation.

Customization: The Answer to Diverse Needs

As industries continue to evolve and demand more specialized solutions, the concept of ‘one-size-fits-all’ is gradually fading away. We predict a significant rise in the demand for customized press brake tooling solutions designed to meet the unique needs of different industries in 2024.

In summary, the future of press brake tooling promises to be a thrilling journey filled with abundant opportunities and potential. At Fab Supply, we stand prepared to take on the challenges this future brings and capitalize on the opportunities it presents. We look forward to shaping the future of press brake tooling together with our valued customers, ensuring we continue to deliver industry-leading solutions that drive growth and success.

Let’s talk about your press brake tooling needs; contact us today!

FAB Supply Celebrates 30 Years of Excellence

As Fab Supply turns 30 this month, it is an exciting time for us and our customers. We are so grateful for reaching this milestone and thankful for the support of our customers and staff. Fab Supply is a full-service provider of press brake tooling and accessories, and our success rides on the shoulders of the relationships we’ve built with our customers over the last 30 years.

Our story began in 1992. While on a fishing trip in Canada with his friend, Dan Provenzano, John confided that he was looking to change career paths.  So, Dan presented John with a unique opportunity.  He explained that his friend owned a company that was manufacturing press brake tooling and they were looking for someone to represent the product line.  That was when all the stars fell into alignment and the idea of FAB Supply was born.  

Being fairly new to the industry, John understood that he needed more knowledge before launching this new business.  He decided to spend a year working in a shop on a press brake to learn the nuts and bolts of the industry.  He was a quick learner and later was considered an expert in the field.  But no matter how many years passed, John would be the first to say that there always was something new to learn in this industry.

Mary MacMillan feels fortunate to be able to say that she has been with FAB Supply from the very beginning. After John spent his first year “learning the ropes,” she began working with him to set up the organization of his new venture.

“We worked from a cubicle in his friend’s building making calls, sending out literature, doing all the things that are necessary to a start-up business. Once we began to build up inventory, we moved to a little larger area and, while John built his customer base, I built procedures. Talk about teamwork! Having worked at FAB Supply for almost thirty years now, and after two moves, I am privileged to have been part of its growth from that small cubicle into the efficient and beautiful facility we currently occupy.

“Through all the usual ups and downs of a new business, the largest constants for FAB Supply have always been relationships and customer service. They are the heartbeat of who we are. For example, years ago, one customer had a special just-in-time project and needed a tool that we did not have in stock. With John’s “we can do that” attitude, he assured them that he would take care of it. John had the tool brought in by air and sat at the airport until it arrived. He then took it back to FAB Supply, wrapped it securely, and dropped it off at a UPS site for overnight delivery.

“On another occasion, a customer had ordered a special configuration tool that they needed sooner than the required lead time. John paid the engineer premium to work late into the night to finish the tool. Then, my kids drove John’s truck for four and a half hours overnight to Detroit so our customer would have their tool when they arrived at their shop early in the morning. That is the type of customer service that John professed, and that FAB Supply continues to deliver.”

Over the years, we’ve built a reputation for excellence by providing innovative solutions, high-quality products, and exceptional customer service. Our team is passionate about developing and delivering new technologies that help our customers improve their manufacturing processes and stay ahead of their competition.

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we will be offering a special promotion (more info to come soon), throughout this summer. We want to show our appreciation for the trust and loyalty our customers have shown us over the years. 

At Fab Supply, we are committed to helping our customers succeed. We stand behind everything we offer and strive to provide the highest level of customer service in the industry. Our team is always available to answer questions, offer technical support, and help customers find the right tooling and accessories for their specific applications. No matter how technology evolves, we will always be just a phone call away.

As we celebrate 30 years of excellence, we want to thank our customers, team, and partners who have helped us achieve this milestone. We are excited about what the future holds and look forward to continuing to deliver innovative solutions that help our customers grow and succeed. Thank you for choosing Fab Supply, and here’s to the next 30 years of excellence!

Choosing the Right Press Brake Tooling to Support Your Business Goals

If you’re in the manufacturing business, you know that having the right press brake tooling is essential for achieving your business goals. The right tools can help you increase production speeds and accuracy, which in turn helps you maximize profits. But how do you know which press brake tooling is the right one for your business? Let’s take a look at what makes a great press brake tooling set and why it’s important for your success.

How to Choose the Right Tooling

When choosing a press brake tooling set, there are several important factors to consider. First and foremost is quality — some cheaper tooling sacrifices on quality and will not stand up to the rigors of regular use and could lead to costly downtime or worse yet, damage to your machine. You also need to make sure that the tools are compatible with your specific machine; different machines require different sizes and shapes of tools. This is one of the most common mistakes we see, and why we work with our customers to ensure the tools we send to customers fit their machines the first time, every time.

A good press brake tooling set should also include an array of punches, dies, clamps, fixtures, and more. It is also important to have a good storage system as this can not only help reduce worker fatigue but can also reduce setup times when switching between projects. By investing in the additional items now (tooling carts, squaring arms, etc.), you can save yourself time and money in the long run.

Why Does It Matter?

Using the wrong press brake tooling can have serious consequences for your business — from increased product defects to increased downtime due to unexpected maintenance needs or damage caused by using inappropriate tools. Investing in high-quality, compatible tools ensures that your machine runs smoothly so that you can maximize production speed while still producing accurate results every time. This also reduces wear and tear on other parts of the machine so that it lasts longer than it otherwise would have without proper care. In addition, having reliable tools means less downtime due to unexpected problems or repairs which saves both time and money!

It is also important to understand that more expensive does not always mean better.  Depending on the project, there is often a more cost-effective, and just as reliable solution that will get the job done at a lower cost per part.  At Fab Supply, we pride ourselves on our ability to identify the right tooling for your job.  Our goal is to provide you with the tools to get your job done as efficiently and as profitably as possible for you with zero compromises to quality, safety, or reliability.

Investing in the right press brake tooling is key to achieving success with your business goals for 2023.  Quality tools ensure maximum productivity while reducing product defects and unnecessary downtime due to repair or maintenance needs. When selecting press brake tooling sets, pay attention to quality as well as compatibility with current machines; don’t forget about accessories either as these can help reduce setup times significantly when switching between projects…and if you want to skip the guesswork, our expert team at Fab Supply is always a quick call or live chat away, ready to review your project needs, and get you moving with the right tooling.

Are you ready to get started? Contact us today.

Press Brake Tooling Maintenance: How to Extend the Life of Your Tools

Press brake tooling maintenance is an integral part of protecting your investment and extending the life of your tooling. It’s also easy to integrate press brake tooling maintenance into your operations, especially when you realize what’s at stake. The right press brake tooling is a significant investment and a key productivity booster, and one that should be protected to prevent premature replacement.

Worn out tooling can also compromise bending accuracy and incur additional wear and tear on your press brake. There are four common causes of premature damage and wear and tear to press brake tooling:

  • Repeated handling of press brake tooling without gloves
  • Metal flakes and residue left on press brake tools after bending
  • Improper tool storage
  • Improperly maintained press brake or improper tool loading

Fortunately, there are ways you can extend the life of your press brake tools and protect your investment. Let’s discuss press brake storage, proper press brake tooling handling, and best use press brake cleaning and lubricating practices.

Press Brake Storage

The right press brake storage cabinet protects tooling and maximizes productivity. While a wooden cabinet might seem like the cheapest choice, press brake tooling should not be stored around wood because it is a porous material. The moisture in the wood can cause corrosion (as can high humidity in a shop). Instead, press brake tools should be stored in cabinet drawers securely with metal or semi-solid material attachments. (To ensure a snug fit, many press brake tooling cabinets are made specifically for tooling from top manufacturers, like Wila and Trumpf Press Brake Tooling Cabinets, or types of tooling, like American Style Press Brake Tooling Cabinets.) Tools should never be stored loosely in a drawer to prevent them from banging into each other and damaging tools.

Ideally, press brake tooling should also be stored near the press brake to save time. If the tooling is used at more than one machine, a mobile press brake tooling cabinet is an easy way to move the tools between machines. For this purpose, there are cabinets made with wheels for the press brake operator to move or with a base that can be moved around with a forklift. The latter option is a good option for shops with uneven flooring that can rattle tooling or when the tooling is too heavy for easy movement.

Cleaning and Lubricating

In addition to inadequate storage, the oil from operator hands can damage press brake tooling. For this reason, operators should always wear gloves when handling press brake tooling. Operators should also make sure that press brake tooling is loaded securely during bending.

When a bending project is complete, the operator should wear gloves to remove tooling and wipe down tooling with a cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. This simple step removes oil left by hands and any resin, residue, or metal particles left on the tool during bending. Mild steel cut with an oxygen assist gas and aluminum, for example, are two materials known to leave flakes behind after bending. If left on tools, these flakes can wear down and damage tooling. If needed, an abrasive pad can also remove flakes or coatings left behind.

Once cleaned, press brake tools should be lightly rubbed down with a lubricant before being placed in the tool cabinet. Operators should also use gloves when removing the tools to avoid dropping the lubricated tooling.

Conclusion

Press brake tooling is a valuable commodity that can be maintained for optimal performance and max productivity. Operators can even extend the life of their tooling with a few simple steps and a solid storage system.

Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Press Brake Tooling

The right press brake tooling improves quality, efficiency, and productivity—and even prevents machine damage and accidents.

This isn’t an overstatement. If anything, it’s a statement that can’t be stated enough.

Far too many manufacturers “just get by” with tooling “that’ll work” without realizing the quality, efficiency, and productivity they are giving up. The best-case scenarios with incorrect tooling result in more set-up time, additional processes needed to get accurate bends, or lost productivity. In the worst-case scenarios, the wrong tooling can do short- or long-term damage to the machine, or even damage parts and cause accidents.

In our experience, these scenarios can be prevented with the right press brake tooling chosen specifically for the project at hand—and, in many cases, for future projects. Press brake tooling can be versatile enough to be used for multiple metal forming jobs or custom enough to make a large run of parts efficient and profitable.

How to Choose the Right Press Brake Tooling

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right press brake tooling. The factors at the top of the list include:

  • Type of material
  • Material thickness
  • Length of material
  • Bending angle

When choosing press brake tooling, it’s important to calculate a tonnage load that won’t overload the tools or press brake. Incorrect calculations can result in damage to the press brake, tools, parts, and even the operator. It’s also important to factor in the material thickness; more robust tooling is often needed for harder materials.

For the punch, the nose radius should be equivalent to, or slightly less than, the naturally floated air-forming radius value. There are many categories of punches, such as Standard Punch, Goose Neck Punch, Swan Neck Punch, Narrow Punch and Acute Angle Punch. As the name suggests, tools in the Standard Punch category are used for most common bends. If you have any questions on selecting the right press brake tooling, feel free to send us your drawing.

The right press brake die can be chosen by calculating the right die opening (ideally, 8 times the material thickness and never less than 6). (Find more on press brake tooling calculations in this article from The Fabricator.) The die is also an integral part of bending, and one that should be chosen carefully. The most cost-effective dies can be used for multiple projects, eliminating the time spent replacing and setting up press brake dies.

Dies that are manually clamped are more affordable, though there are other options. For those who need multiple dies for a project, adjustable press brake dies are viable options. While adjustable press brake dies tend to be more expensive, they offer precise bending and easy—even automated—adjustments. For example, with the VEE-LOCK, the operator only needs to loosen the stripper bolts. As the stripper bolts are loosened, the saddle blocks automatically lift, disengaging the locking channels at the bottom of the saddle from those in the base plate. The saddle blocks, which glide on cam rollers, are moved easily and safely into the right position. Once positioned, the stripper bolts are tightened to re-engage the locking mechanism. The die is ready for use. The automated Rolla-V is another press brake tooling that maximizes productivity by eliminating the need for manual adjustments and making the process more efficient.

Custom Press Brake Tooling

There are quite a few standard-made options for press brakes available. These options are available quickly and can be utilized for many common bends. However, there are instances, such as large part runs or projects with unique specifications, where custom press-brake tooling is the answer. Fortunately, we offer single- and multiple-hit forming tools in a wide variety of tooling styles and quality grades to maximize your forming efficiency. Our professional staff can analyze your part and recommend custom tooling or the reworking or resurfacing of existing dies.

Fab Supply Looks Back on FABTECH, Looks Forward

FABTECH 2021 may be just a memory for some companies.  For Fab Supply, FABTECH was the continuation of their goal of assisting customers.

With the uncertainties of the past year, many did not know what to expect at this year’s FABTECH 2021.  For Fab Supply, FABTECH 2021 was an opportunity to do what they do best: help their customers.

“We found that the FABTECH 2021 audience was very purposeful,” said Mike Newman, Fab Supply Managing Director of Sales. “This year, I was able to spend more time with visitors and obtain good information that I can use to help them with their next project.”

It is hardly surprising that Fab Supply would embrace FABTECH as an opportunity to interact with their customers. That commitment to their customers is the same reason that an actual human always answers the phone at Fab Supply, why sales personnel often give out their personal cell phone numbers during a project, and why they will go to great lengths to deliver solutions on time to their customers (including with a midnight run to the airport). It’s also what differentiates them from other companies, both in their daily operations and at FABTECH.

“I walked around FABTECH and found so many companies were there solely to meet their customers and say, ‘Hey Jim, what are you doing today?’” says Ron Laws, Fab Supply Sales and Marketing Specialist. “That’s what sets up apart. We were there to help people and improve their processes.”

FABTECH gave the Fab Supply team the chance to start valuable conversations with visitors.

“There is value in having tools as part of the discussion when purchasing a press brake or metal forming system,” says Ron Laws. “The right tooling makes the machine run well. With poor tooling or a poor solution, the machine doesn’t perform as well.”

Fab Supply looks forward to continuing those conversations in the future and using their expertise to provide the right solutions for their customers. They also look forward to having the right tools at future shows—and hopefully not having their main display (a pneumatic Rolla-V) get damaged during shipping, an obstacle they faced before this year’s show.

“The right tools are definitely part of Fab Supply’s success, and we were very disappointed when we couldn’t show off our pneumatic Rolla-V product,” says Dan McCloskey, Fab Supply Managing Director of Operations. “However, our expertise and customer commitment are a key part of the value we bring to our customers, and that can never be damaged. When we look to the future, we look forward to providing our customers with the product and process knowledge that improves their efficiency and boosts productivity.”

Fab Supply’s New Leadership Dedicated to Outstanding Customer Service

Fab Supply announces new leadership as it continues its dedication to serving its customers’ growing needs.

Mike Newman is now the Managing Director of Sales after more than 16 years with the company. Dan McCloskey will take on the role of Managing Director of Operations after 3 years with the company.

These leadership changes come in light of the passing of John Wold, President and Founder of FAB Supply Incorporated in Glendale Heights, IL. John was a respected leader in the press brake tooling industry, a hard worker with a sense of humor, an excellent leader, and incessantly loyal to his customers, vendors, and employees.

“As we move forward, Fab Supply Inc will continue to provide the unsurpassed customer service that our customers have come to know and expect,” said Mike.  “We look forward to a bright future while preserving the values that formed Fab Supply into a well-known and trusted name.”

The recent leadership changes allow Fab Supply to continue their tradition of strong customer service and quick response times, as well as providing customers with innovative and productivity-boosting products and solutions. Fab Supply will continue to focus on the core values that the organization was founded on.

The Wold family, along with the FAB Supply team, will continue to grow John’s vision for FAB Supply.

Need a problem solved now? That And Other Ways We Love Working with People

Fab Supply Inc. Founder John Wold passed away on July 6, 2021. The following is the last article he worked on for our company. As we move forward, we echo his sentiment and follow his vision, developing new product lines and growing into a true “one stop shop.”

Deadlines require a clear focus, especially ones with quick turnaround. At Fab Supply, tight deadlines are almost a specialty. Our large inventory and customer-oriented team make same-day shipping  the norm.

What does this look like? Here’s a true story:

Fab Supply had a customer that had a job on a critical time frame. The company needed a Rolla-V to get the job done, but in half the time of the standard delivery.

Fab Supply contacted Rolla-V to speed up production, and the tool was shipped in three weeks instead of six. FAB Supply President John Wold waited at the O’Hare airport in the middle of the night for the Rolla-V to arrive via plane. At 1:30 a.m. he was on the road to western Ohio to deliver it. He arrived at 7:30 a.m., production started by 8 a.m., and the customer’s parts shipped out the same day.

Talk about dedicated teamwork!

“We always support the customer fully – start to finish,” President John Wold.

A Business About People

Fab Supply believes in a people-forward approach to doing business. This means an actual human will always answer the phone during business hours, and oftentimes sales people provide their personal cells outside of business hours to provide availability to customers in critical situations.

Communication is critical to providing the correct tooling to get the job done.

“We listen carefully to our customers and, by listening carefully, we can pick up on subtle nuances or offer advice that would take them in a different direction,” said John. “We’ve got over 85 years of industry experience amongst our staff in office; in addition to that, we’ve got designers both domestically and abroad that we work with on a regular basis. So, we’re very confident that the advice we’re giving our customers is the correct advice and it’s going to lead them to the most productive and cost-effective solutions.”

Sometimes this means providing advice on solutions a customer wasn’t aware of or re-routing the customer from a potentially dangerous or ineffective approach they had previously considered.

Fab Supply takes tremendous care to ensure that the billing and receivable collection is accurate. The relationship with the customer is extremely import. And continues long after the sale. Our values such as honesty and work ethic ensure it.

“We’re always very available and supportive, we’ll do facetime calls and sometimes involve the designers and engineers,” said John.We always stand behind the quality of our products.  If there ever is a manufacturing defect or someone is unhappy with the quality of their products, we will work with those customers to find a satisfactory solution. We also stand behind the quality of our advice.”

Here are just a few words from customers:

  • “You guys are great – thank you so much.” — Becca, Fox Machinery
  • “Thank you for the assist! … You guys rock!” — Erik Fredmonsky, P2P Manufacturing
  • “I greatly appreciate your help through this process. I can say hands down the RVM100-2.5’s are phenomenal. Thanks again, John, I will keep in touch as we may need some more of your tooling in the near future.” — Colton Redmon, Loflin Fabrication