By Gretchen Salois, Senior Editor
Ursviken punch tip revolver
The Ursviken punch tip revolver allows the automatic changeover between a three-punch tip radii. The variable CNC die below is used to further automate the setup.
One Pass
Technology offers an easier way to process heavy material without guesswork

igher grade, higher tensile material is the norm and bending heavy tonnage material can take a lot of time to manually set up, readjust and process. A press brake sophisticated enough to eliminate the need for excessive handling saves time and opens up new realms of possibility. “It takes so much tonnage to try and bend AR450 plate in particular, we were spending too much time working on each piece,” says Ryan Taylor, CEO, The Godwin Group, Dunn, North Carolina.

Massive sheets of ¼-in.-thick 9,700-ton linear ft. of steel had to be flipped over three times to complete. “There is a tremendous amount of labor involved,” Taylor says. “We needed a 1,200-ton press brake but wanted advanced features on it. We also wanted to be able to hit it one time with a special die and punch and be done.”
Hydraulic tool holder with Ursviken punch tooling
Hydraulic tool holder with Ursviken punch tooling.
An ad in a magazine caught the eye of The Godwin Group’s founder, Pat Godwin Sr. “So we called up the sales rep from Ursviken and they came over and did a presentation of the Optima 1000 for us. We’d never seen a press brake that sophisticated before,” Taylor says. “On a machine that long, it would typically take an hour changing out the bottom die alone. The Ursviken has an automated version—well worth the expense when you think about using the machine day in and day out over the next 30 years.
“The laser measuring system automatically detects springback rate and raises and lowers it back down to make sure we achieve what we need,” he continues. “Now, we no longer have to hit it three to four times to get it exactly right.”
Time saving technology
Press brake manufacturers are offering setup reduction features such as angle measurement devices, offline programming software and automated tool changers.
“As blanking systems become more efficient, the bending process quickly becomes the bottleneck in the fabrication process,” says Jamie Sims, general manager of Elgin, Illinois-based Ursviken Inc. “This technology has become very popular for press brakes ranging from 80 to 220 tons, but due to the sheer size of parts and tooling, setup time can be much higher on press brakes 500 tons and higher. Basically, the larger the machine, the heavier the tooling that must be exchanged.”

The Ursviken Optima 1000 8.2/7.3 is a 1,000-metric-ton, 8.2 m bed length, 7.3 m between the side frames and can be customized to meet exact customer specifications. Some updates remain customer-specific while others end up being applied to future models available to all customers. “We offer turnkey custom solutions for heavy bending applications—with over 120 years of experience doing so,” Sims says.

We’d never seen a press brake that sophisticated before.
Ryan Taylor, The Godwin Group
“Our solution to the upper punches, which are also very large and heavy, is to replace only the punch tip radius,” he says. “This can be done manually or by using a CNC tool changer.

“For a customer that manufactures round tapered poles, it requires matched upper and lower tools,” Sims continues. “We offer a tool changer that automatically allows the exchange of two different tool sets as needed.”

Ursviken is in the process of installing the world’s longest single press brake—60-ft. long. “This machine will be used for making bridge girders and tapered poles,” says Sims.

Smooth operation
The Godwin Group’s Ursviken machine was installed in summer 2019. “We wanted technology that would allow us to train people to use it,” Taylor says. “The labor pool is just not skilled in this type of work so we wanted a machine that could do all the thinking.

“We no longer need to have an operator who has been working press brakes for 20 years and knows how to tweak the machine,” he continues. “We want the person trained to run it be here forever, of course, but if something happens, our engineering staff can train someone else. Processing parts becomes faster, there is no longer any need to rely on an experienced operator’s ability to manipulate the machine to make it work.”

Ursviken punch adapter body with punch tip insert that can slide off easily for fast changeover
Ursviken punch adapter body with punch tip insert that can slide off easily for fast changeover. Its design reduces the weight the operator must lift when changing a punch tip radius.
Maintenance is accessible on site or remotely. “Technicians can access our machine with our permission from Sweden (Ursviken’s headquarters) so we no longer need to wait for a technician to arrive at our facility,” Taylor says. “The software also is more advanced. There is a program that indicates when different punches are needed, including the backgauge. The days of operators keying in all that data into a control pad are over.

“When we design a part, we go in and immediately can put it onto the machine. The operator inputs the part number and the machine makes sure it goes through,” Taylor continues. “We just have to maneuver the material into the machine. It no longer takes 20 minutes to set up a part.”

The machine’s sheet follower is much faster than moving material onto and off the machine using an overhead crane. “It was difficult to make sure the sheet didn’t slap back down onto the machine or hurt someone,” Taylor says. “The laser hand protection system at the tip of the upper punch also ensures bulky parts do not get in the way of the laser.”

Ryan Taylor, left, Pat Godwin Sr. and Jimmy Tyndall, who designed and built the foundation for the Ursviken
Ryan Taylor, left, Pat Godwin Sr. and Jimmy Tyndall, who designed and built the foundation for the Ursviken.
Since bringing the Ursviken online, The Godwin Group has designed new products. “We can bend material in a way that takes the welding process out of some component parts,” Taylor says. “We can bend the tonnage capacity needed using the machine without having to wait for a welder to weld it. There are no weld lines and we are able to speed up our manufacturing process overall.”

The Godwin Group wrapped up 2020 on a high note. “It was our best year in our history, despite the pandemic and the brief chip shortage,” Taylor says. “And 2021 is on par to exceed last year. We’ve been very fortunate and we know no matter how minor an issue, Ursviken is responsive and we can keep going.”

The Godwin Group
Dunn, North Carolina, 800/892-0181,
Ursviken Inc.
Elgin, Illinois, 847/214-8700,