Maintenance and Care of Press Brake Tooling

Press brake tooling is an essential part of the press brake forming process, and its proper maintenance and care are essential to ensure its longevity and performance.

Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for press brake tooling:Example of how not to store Press Brake tooling

  • Clean and lubricate tooling regularly. After each use, wipe down the tooling with a clean cloth to remove any dirt, debris, or residue. You can also use a mild cleaner to remove more stubborn dirt. Once the tooling is clean, apply a thin coat of lubricant to help prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Inspect tooling for damage. Before each use, inspect the tooling carefully for any signs of damage, such as cracks, dents, or chips. If you find any damage, do not use the tooling until it has been repaired or replaced.
  • Store tooling properly. When not in use, store tooling in a clean, dry place. Avoid storing tooling in direct sunlight or areas with high humidity. You can also use a silica gel desiccant to help absorb moisture and prevent rust.

In addition to regular cleaning, lubrication, and inspection, it is also important to have press brake tooling professionally serviced regularly. This will help to ensure that the tooling is in good condition and that it is performing to its full potential.

Here are some additional tips for Maintaining and Caring for Press Brake Tooling:

  • Use the correct tooling for the job. Make sure to use the correct tooling for the type of material you are bending and the desired bend angle. Using the wrong tooling can damage tooling and produce poor-quality bends.
  • Do not overload tooling. Do not try to bend too much material at once, or you risk overloading tooling and causing damage.
  • Use a back gauge to support the material. A back gauge will help to prevent the material from sagging and producing poor-quality bends.
  • Bend slowly and carefully. Do not rush the bending process. Bending slowly and carefully will help to prevent damage to tooling and produce high-quality bends.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your press brake tooling lasts for many years and continues to perform at its best.

Tooling TLC: Fun Facts for Proper Press Brake Tooling Care

The Age-Old Enemy: Rust Never Sleeps

  • Rust, the reddish-brown nemesis of metal, is a constant threat to press brake tooling, weakening its structure and compromising its accuracy. Just like a good night’s sleep is essential for human performance, keeping rust at bay is crucial for tooling performance.

Protective Armor: A Shield Against Corrosion

  • Applying a thin layer of rust-preventative oil or wax is like dressing your tooling in protective armor. This shield repels moisture and corrosive elements, safeguarding the tooling’s integrity and ensuring its longevity.

A Touch of TLC: Handle with Care

  • Handling press brake tooling with care is like treating a delicate work of art. Avoid rough handling or forceful impacts to preserve the precision-engineered surfaces and maintain dimensional accuracy.

Cleanliness is Key: A Sparkling Tooling Tale

  • Cleaning press brake tooling after each use is like giving it a refreshing spa treatment. Removing dirt, debris, and oil residue prevents premature wear and ensures consistent bending performance.

A Dry Haven: Moisture’s Worst Nightmare

  • Storing tooling in a dry environment is like banishing moisture to a distant land. Keeping humidity levels low prevents rust formation and ensures the tooling remains in pristine condition.

A Home for Every Tool: Organized Efficiency

  • A dedicated storage cabinet or rack is like a cozy home for press brake tooling. Organized compartments and dividers prevent accidental damage and ensure efficient retrieval when needed.

Regular Check-Ups: The Tooling Doctor’s Visit

  • Inspecting tooling regularly is like taking your car for routine maintenance. Early detection of rust, corrosion, or damage allows for prompt treatment, preventing further deterioration.

Gloves On: Fingerprints’ Worst Enemy

  • Wearing clean gloves when handling tooling is like putting on an invisibility cloak against fingerprints. This simple act prevents moisture-attracting fingerprints and keeps corrosion at bay.

The Right Tool for the Job: Precision in Action

  • Using the correct tooling for the specific material and application is like choosing the right key for a lock. It ensures optimal performance and minimizes wear, extending tooling life.

Training and Awareness: Knowledge is Power

  • Providing training on proper handling and storage practices is like empowering operators with a secret weapon. Knowledgeable operators become guardians of tooling longevity and precision.

Preserving Press Brake Tooling: Combating Rust and Corrosion


In the realm of sheet metal fabrication, press brake tooling stands as a testament to precision engineering, enabling the transformation of flat sheets into intricate forms that define modern products and structures. These essential components play a pivotal role in achieving the exacting bends and intricate geometries that are crucial for the functionality and aesthetic appeal of countless products. However, the relentless forces of rust and corrosion pose a significant threat to the integrity and longevity of press brake tooling, potentially compromising the quality of formed parts and disrupting production efficiency.

Rust, the nemesis of iron and steel, manifests as a reddish-brown oxide, a telltale sign of metal deterioration. Its presence weakens the tooling, accelerating wear and reducing tool life, leading to premature replacement costs and disruptions in production schedules. Corrosion, a broader term encompassing various forms of metal degradation, can cause dimensional inaccuracies, leading to imprecise bends and inconsistencies in the final product. Both rust and corrosion can mar the surface finish of formed parts, diminishing the aesthetic appeal and potentially affecting functionality.

To combat these adversaries and safeguard the integrity of press brake tooling, comprehensive rust and corrosion prevention and treatment strategies are indispensable. By adhering to preventive measures, implementing prompt treatment when necessary, and incorporating regular inspections, press brake tooling can be effectively shielded from the detrimental effects of rust and corrosion, ensuring its longevity, accuracy, and optimal performance. This comprehensive approach contributes to the overall success and efficiency of press brake operations, upholding the precision and quality that are hallmarks of sheet metal fabrication.

The Detrimental Effects of Rust and Corrosion on Press Brake Tooling:

Rust, the ubiquitous enemy of iron and steel, manifests as a reddish-brown oxide, a visible sign of metal deterioration. Its presence weakens the tooling, compromising its structural integrity and accelerating wear. As rust encroaches on the tooling’s surface, it gradually erodes the material, reducing its thickness and strength. This weakening effect leads to premature tool failure, shortening the lifespan of the tooling and increasing replacement costs.

Corrosion, a broader term encompassing various forms of metal degradation, extends beyond the visible rust and can cause dimensional inaccuracies in the tooling. These irregularities can lead to imprecise bends and inconsistencies in the final product. As corrosion attacks the tooling’s surface, it can cause uneven wear, altering the tooling’s shape and dimensions. This loss of precision can result in inconsistencies in bend angles, radii, and overall part geometry, compromising the quality and functionality of the formed parts.

Both rust and corrosion can mar the surface finish of formed parts, diminishing their aesthetic appeal and potentially affecting their functionality. The presence of rust or corrosion on formed parts can create an unsightly appearance, detracting from the overall visual appeal of the product. In some cases, surface imperfections caused by corrosion can also affect the functionality of the part, particularly in applications where a smooth surface is critical for proper operation or mating with other components.

In summary, rust and corrosion pose a significant threat to the integrity and performance of press brake tooling, potentially leading to:

  • Premature tool failure and increased tooling costs
  • Imprecise bends and inconsistencies in formed parts
  • Compromised surface finish, affecting aesthetic appeal and potential functionality


  • Keep tooling clean and dry. After each use, wipe down the tooling with a clean cloth to remove any dirt, debris, or moisture. You can also use a mild cleaner to remove more stubborn dirt. Once the tooling is clean, apply a thin coat of rust preventative to help protect it from the elements.
  • Store tooling properly. When not in use, store tooling in a clean, dry place. Avoid storing tooling in direct sunlight or areas with high humidity. You can also use a silica gel desiccant to help absorb moisture and prevent rust.
  • Use a rust preventative. There are a variety of rust preventives available on the market. Choose a rust-preventative that is specifically designed for metal surfaces.
  • Apply a wax coating. A wax coating can provide additional protection against rust and corrosion, especially in harsh environments.


  • Remove rust or corrosion with a wire brush or sandpaper. Once the rust or corrosion is removed, apply a rust preventative to help protect the tooling from further damage.
  • Use a rust converter. A rust converter is a chemical that converts rust to a black protective coating. This can be a good option for treating light rust or corrosion.

Have the tooling professionally cleaned and restored. If the tooling is heavily rusted or corroded, it may need to be professionally cleaned and restored. This will involve removing the rust and corrosion, applying a rust preventative, and then re-coating the tooling.

Additional Tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Inspect tooling regularly for signs of rust or corrosion. If any rust or corrosion is found, treat it immediately to prevent further damage.
  • Caution with Cutting Fluids: Use caution when using cutting fluids, as some can be corrosive to tooling. Clean tooling thoroughly after using cutting fluids to remove any residue.
  • Protective Gloves: Always wear clean gloves when handling tooling to prevent fingerprints and skin oils from attracting moisture and promoting corrosion.
  • Proper Tool Selection: Use the correct tooling for the specific material and application to minimize wear and tear that can lead to rust formation.
  • Timely Maintenance: Address any signs of wear or damage to tooling promptly to prevent rust from developing in weakened areas.

Safeguarding Your Investment: Essential Practices for Optimal Press Brake Tooling Storage

To ensure the optimal preservation and functionality of press brake tooling, a comprehensive approach to storage is essential. Proper storage practices not only protect the tooling from physical damage and environmental hazards but also contribute to maintaining its precision and dimensional accuracy, which are crucial for producing high-quality bends and maintaining consistent production standards.

  1. Dedicated Storage Cabinet or Rack:

Investing in a dedicated storage cabinet or rack specifically designed for press brake tooling is a worthwhile investment that pays dividends in the long run. These cabinets or racks are typically constructed from sturdy materials and feature compartments or dividers that provide organized and secure storage for individual tooling pieces. This organized arrangement prevents accidental damage or mishandling during storage and retrieval.

  1. Environmental Considerations:

The storage environment plays a critical role in preserving the integrity of press brake tooling. Choose a storage area that is clean, dry, and well-ventilated, with humidity levels maintained below 50%. Avoid storing tooling in areas exposed to direct sunlight, extreme temperature fluctuations, or high moisture levels, as these conditions can accelerate corrosion and compromise the tooling’s surface finish.

  1. Protective Coatings:

Before placing Press brake tooling into storage, apply a thin layer of rust-preventative oil or wax to create a protective barrier against moisture and corrosion. Select a rust-preventative product that is compatible with the tooling material to avoid any adverse reactions. Apply the rust-preventative evenly and thoroughly, ensuring all exposed surfaces are covered.

  1. Individual Compartments or Dividers:

Within the storage cabinet or rack, utilize individual compartments or dividers to separate Press brake tooling pieces from each other. This prevents them from coming into direct contact, minimizing the risk of scratches, abrasions, or damage to their precision-engineered surfaces.

  1. Protective Sleeves or Covers:

For particularly delicate or sensitive tooling, consider using protective sleeves or covers to provide an additional layer of protection. These sleeves or covers can be made from soft, non-abrasive materials that prevent scratches and preserve the tooling’s surface finish.

  1. Clear Labeling and Systematic Organization:

Clearly label each Press brake tooling piece with its identification number or description to facilitate easy retrieval and prevent misidentification. Organize tooling systematically within the cabinet or rack, following a logical arrangement based on tooling type, size, or frequency of use. This organized approach minimizes the risk of damage during retrieval and ensures efficient access to the required tooling.

  1. Humidity Control Measures:

To further control humidity levels within the storage area, consider using silica gel desiccant packets or a dehumidifier. These measures help absorb excess moisture from the air, reducing the risk of condensation and rust formation on the tooling.

  1. Regular Inspection and Maintenance:

Schedule regular inspections of stored Press brake tooling to check for any signs of rust, corrosion, or damage. If any issues are detected, address them promptly to prevent further deterioration. Clean and reapply rust-preventative coatings as needed to maintain the tooling’s protective barrier.

  1. Proper Handling Practices:

When handling Press brake tooling for storage or retrieval, always wear clean gloves to prevent fingerprints that can attract moisture and promote corrosion. Handle tooling with care, avoiding any unnecessary force or impact that could cause scratches, dents, or damage to its precision surfaces.

  1. Training and Awareness Programs:

Provide training to operators and technicians on proper storage procedures for press brake tooling. This training should emphasize the importance of proper handling, cleaning, and storage techniques to ensure the longevity and accuracy of the tooling. Promoting a culture of proper care and maintenance will contribute to the overall efficiency and quality of press brake operations.

Preserving Precision: Enhancing Tool Life and Performance with Protective Coatings for Press Brake Tooling

 Detailed Insights into Protective Coatings:

  1. Nitride Coatings:

Nitride coatings typically applied through a process called nitriding, involve diffusing nitrogen into the surface of the tooling material, creating a hardened layer that enhances wear resistance and extends tool life.


  • Exceptional wear resistance: Nitride coatings boast exceptional resistance to abrasive wear, making them ideal for high-volume production or bending of abrasive materials.
  • Improved surface hardness: The diffusion of nitrogen into the tooling surface significantly increases hardness, improving its ability to withstand repeated bending cycles.
  • Enhanced fatigue strength: Nitride coatings enhance the fatigue strength of tooling, reducing the risk of cracks or fractures under cyclic loading.
  • Excellent corrosion resistance: The nitride layer provides a barrier against corrosion, protecting tooling from harsh environments and extending its lifespan.
  • High-temperature stability: Nitride coatings retain their properties even at elevated temperatures, making them suitable for high-temperature bending applications.


  • High-volume production: Nitride coatings are well-suited for high-volume production environments where tooling is subjected to continuous wear.
  • Bending of abrasive materials: For bending materials with abrasive properties, nitride coatings protect tooling from excessive wear and extend its service life.
  • Severe bending applications: In applications involving severe bending angles or challenging materials, nitride coatings provide the necessary wear resistance and durability.
  1. Titanium Nitride (TiN) Coatings:

Titanium nitride (TiN) coatings are deposited using physical vapour deposition (PVD) or chemical vapour deposition (CVD) techniques. They create a thin, hard layer that reduces friction and protects against wear and corrosion.


  • Low friction coefficient: TiN coatings exhibit a low friction coefficient, reducing friction between the tooling and the material, minimizing galling and improving surface finish.
  • Excellent wear resistance: TiN coatings provide excellent wear resistance, protecting tooling from abrasion and extending its lifespan.
  • Good corrosion resistance: TiN coatings offer good corrosion resistance, safeguarding tooling against corrosion in humid or chemically active environments.
  • Attractive gold colour: The distinctive gold colour of TiN coatings enhances the aesthetic appeal of tooling, making it suitable for cosmetically sensitive applications.
  • Biocompatibility: TiN coatings are biocompatible, making them suitable for medical device manufacturing and applications requiring contact with the human body.


  • Bending of delicate materials: TiN coatings are ideal for bending delicate materials where low friction and minimal surface damage are crucial.
  • Cosmetically sensitive applications: The attractive gold colour and low friction properties make TiN coatings suitable for applications where appearance and surface finish are critical.
  • Medical device manufacturing: TiN coatings are biocompatible and corrosion-resistant, making them suitable for manufacturing medical devices that require high precision and biocompatibility.
  1. Chromium Nitride (CrN) Coatings:

Chromium nitride (CrN) coatings, applied through PVD or CVD processes, offer a combination of high hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion protection. They are particularly suitable for high-temperature applications.


  • High hardness and wear resistance: CrN coatings exhibit exceptional hardness and wear resistance, protecting tooling from abrasion and extending its service life.
  • Excellent corrosion resistance: CrN coatings provide superior corrosion resistance, safeguarding tooling against harsh environments and corrosive materials.
  • High-temperature stability: CrN coatings maintain their properties at elevated temperatures, making them ideal for high-temperature bending processes.
  • Good adhesion to tooling materials: CrN coatings adhere well to a variety of tooling materials, ensuring durable and long-lasting protection.


  • High-speed bending operations: CrN coatings are suitable for high-speed bending operations where Press brake tooling experiences rapid wear and high temperatures.
  • Bending of corrosive materials: For bending corrosive materials, CrN coatings provide excellent corrosion resistance, protecting tooling from degradation.
  • High-temperature bending processes: CrN coatings are ideal for high-temperature bending applications due to their exceptional thermal stability.
  1. Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) Coatings:

Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings, deposited using PVD techniques, mimic the properties of diamond, providing exceptional hardness, low friction

A Press Brake Tooling Poem

In workshops where metal takes form and bends,

Press brake tooling, a crucial friend.

But rust and wear, these foes so grand,

Threaten its precision, its strength in hand.

So, heed these words, a poetic guide,

To keep your tooling in its stride.

With careful touch and watchful eye,

Its longevity and accuracy shall never lie.

Cleanse it well, with cloth so fine,

Remove the grime, and make it shine.

Oil’s embrace, a protective layer,

Shielding from rust, the metal slayer.

Store it safely, in a haven dry,

Where moisture’s touch cannot come nigh.

A cabinet or rack, its rightful place,

Organized and secure, with utmost grace.

Inspect with care, a watchful gaze,

For signs of rust, corrosion’s haze.

Treat it with haste, don’t let it linger,

Its strength restored a triumphant ringer.

Handle with care, a gentle hand,

Avoiding impacts, a forceful strand.

Protect its form, its precision art,

A masterpiece of the bending craft.

With these measures, so clear and true,

Your tooling’s life will surely renew.

Bends precise, with unwavering might,

A testament to your maintenance’s light.