Mate Press Brake Hemming Tools: Better Grip and Less Slip

Posted February 22, 2016 by Frank Baeumler

knurled-edgeWhen most people hear the term “hemming” their thoughts turn to trousers and a tailor. For those of us in the world of sheet metal fabrication, we quickly think of the often uncomfortable task of folding the edge of sheet metal with a hemming tool to remove sharp corners or edges that can snag material or scratch someone.

Examples of hemming folds are everywhere, from fast food prep areas to medical facilities, factory floors and more. Making a hemming fold requires two steps – the initial fold, followed by a second step called planishing that squeezes the open edge to flush or closed (or to a tear drop shape or to an open parallel shape). Of course, this isn’t always easy. During the planishing phase, the lateral force that’s created causes the sheet metal to attempt to squirt out of the die. Watch any press brake operator make a hemming fold and you’re likely to see them use their hips and body weight to push against the sheet metal to counteract the lateral force and hold the metal in place. Not only is this uncomfortable for the operator, if the sheet metal doesn’t stay in put, the result is an improper bend and an unequal or damaged part.

Sheet metal operators have fought this lateral force for ages and now there is help.

A Hemming Tool with Added Grip

The hemming tools from Mate come with a knurled, or textured, edge. This helps grip the sheet metal so operators don’t have to use their body weight to fight and hold the sheet metal in place. Sometimes the knurled edge leaves unwanted markings on the sheet metal. In many cases that isn’t an issue, as the fold won’t be visible or the quality of the bend is most important.

However, when bending polished metals, or when markings aren’t tolerated on the end product, our hemming tool can simply be reversed to use the ground surface so no markings are made. It’s really like getting two tools in one.

If you’re tired of fighting physics to make a hemmed fold, take a look at the hemming die tooling from Mate. It comes standard and is available in European Precision Style, Bevel Tang Style and Wila Trumpf Style tooling.