What does a typical working day look like for a bending expert?
I usually start my working day by powering up the machines. I also draw up an overview of the parts that I will use over the course of the day.
There are experts when it comes to cutting, to welding and many other technologies. Why did you choose to become a bending expert?
I was previously a fitter and I simply wanted to do something different after a while. I was interested in bending – this interest has stood the test of time because I still enjoy my work. Some of my colleagues have even been working with their machines for 40 years now.
What technical challenges do you often come up against and how do you overcome them?
It's expertise in preparations that helps you bend successfully. When a new part arrives, you always have to ask yourself – what's the best way to bend this particular part? Thankfully, our TecZone Bend software helps us tremendously because it shows 3D simulations and we can simulate everything in the program – this definitely makes things a lot easier. Earlier when I was still in training I was still bending things manually; there were no simulations. I sometimes used to produce rejects because I couldn't predict in advance at what points there would be collisions. Due to TecZone Bend, problems like this don't happen anymore.
You are currently working on a TruBend 5130 that has numerous functions. Do you have a favourite function?
The ACB, the angle measuring system, definitely makes things a lot easier when bending parts. It independently measures angles. It's safe for me to assume that my parts are right, even if there are extrusions in the sheet metal or the sheet metal isn't aligned.
What is particularly important to you when carrying out bending work – ergonomics, a quick machine, or digital functions?
Obviously, as an operator it is very important to me that my machine is ergonomic. I think that applies to all operators. Productivity also plays a role; if the machine ran very slowly, for example, this would bother me as an operator because I would have to hold heavy parts up for a long time. I am very happy with my machine in this respect.
What is the best experience that you have had with your machine looking back?
(laughs) At the start there's always some part that you have difficulties with when bending. If I'm bending a very complex part and I manage to do it perfectly then I'm proud of myself and my machine.
Finally, what advice would you give to other operators of bending machines?
Bending parts isn't something that you can just learn by reading a book. It's experience that counts here; you can always learn new things after years of working in the field. Bending continues to be exciting!