Sheet Metal Folders; 7 Questions with Larry Chandonnet of Cidan

Larry Chandonnet of Cidan answers 7 questions about folding and the benefits it can have over traditional bending.

What makes a folder different from a press brake?
The biggest difference is that the part is supported on the backgauge table instead of being supported by the operator. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons. First of all, all of the pieces are more consistent because the operator does not have to follow the part up as it is bent. Therefore your angle is not determined by the operator. This is the reason why you see in some shops the angles change from the morning when the operator is fresh to the afternoon when he/she is tired. Second of all, when the part is supported in this fashion there are fewer operator injuries.

Why would someone choose a folder over a press brake?
Folders are usually used to turn a 2 person operation into a one person operation. Folders are also capable of bending different angles and material thicknesses with the same set of tooling therefore eliminating some set-up time. What I mean by this is most folding machines set up for different material thicknesses automatically. You simply enter the material thickness that you want to run and the machine changes its bending center automatically. With this feature folding machines are capable of using the same set of tools for different material thicknesses and angles.

What type of crowning system does the Cidan folder offer?
Cidan offers a couple of different crowning options. All of our machines at least come with manual crowning and the larger machine come with CNC crowning.

What is one feature/benefit everyone should consider when looking at purchasing a folder?
The control is one of the biggest things that I would consider. At the end of the day all folding machines make basically the same shapes and have the same capabilities. I would say that we have the easiest and most reliable control on folders today. As far as I know we are the only company that uses a control that can be purchased from the manufacturer and through us. So if something did happen to your control you don’t have to purchase it from us. That capability helps everyone.

Tell me about the controller and the advantages it provides?
Our Prolonk control is a Windows based touch screen control. The Prolink has been out for about three years. When we designed this control we tried to make it as easy and as user friendly as possible. I think we have accomplished this task. We are constantly getting compliments on its capabilities. With it being a true Wndows based control we are able to save programs to any memory stick. Some of our competitors have to add a separate PC in the control cabinet to accomplish this task. Our system also operates off of flash card technology. With this type of system there are no moving parts in the PC so given the industrial environment that our machines are in it makes them much more rugged.

What kind of tooling options are available for a Cidan?
There are a couple of standard styles of tooling but we can make special shapes to make most parts. What make your tooling a good option? Why is tooling important? What kind of time savings with your tooling?

How does folding affect secondary operations?
With the part supported on the backgauge instead of front gauging. The overall dimensions of the finished part are more consistent. If there are any inaccuracies in your blank they are all taken out in the first flange. Think about this way. If your blank is not cut accurately, when you put this part in a folder the flange that is sticking out of the machine is a little long or a little short by the same mount that you blank was off. If you take this inaccuracy out of the blank the overall finished dimension is right on. This is the opposite of what you get on a press brake. On a press brake your blank may be off but since you are front gauging the part all of the flanges are right on but the overall dimension of the part is off by the inaccuracy of your blank. The overall finished part is usually the most critical dimension. So when you have a accurate over all dimension the parts usually fit up on the final product a lot easier.