Mechanical, Electric, Hydraulic Press Brakes: Which One Is Suitable for Your Project?

Press brake plays a crucial role in various industries, facilitating the efficient bending of metal sheets. With technological advancements, different types of press brakes have emerged, including mechanical press brakes, electric press brakes, and hydraulic press brakes, each with its unique characteristics. Currently, press brakes find widespread applications across manufacturing, construction, automotive, and other industries, being used for numerous metal tasks such as stamping, forging, and die-cutting.

1. Power Source/working principles

  • Mechanical Press Brake:

A mechanical press brake is powered by a flywheel and clutch through a mechanical mechanism, utilizing a mechanical linkage to generate bending force. The flywheel initiates a small gear system, causing the crankshaft to rotate. The main system is driven by an electric motor. Energy is stored in the flywheel and released during the bending process.

Mechanical Press Brake

The electric press brake uses a servo motor and a pressure screw to directly drive the upper slider (upper die) to move, which is faster and more precise, also known as a servo-electric press brake, has a generator-driven ram with an electric push-type brake. The piston ascends and descends through the motor’s rotation of a bolt. Bending force is precisely controlled by an electric servo system, providing accurate and consistent results.

Hydraulic Press Brake
  • Hydraulic Press Brake:

A hydraulic press brake uses an electric motor-driven hydraulic pump to convey hydraulic oil to valves, directing pressure oil to the cylinder. The hydraulic cylinder pushes the ram downward, applying pressure to the metal sheet. The hydraulic system can precisely control the motion of the slide and bending force.

Hydraulic Press Brake
Hydraulic Press Brake

2. Precision and Control

  • Mechanical Press Brake:

Typically, mechanical press brakes exhibit lower precision compared to electric and hydraulic press brakes. Mechanical linkages may result in variations in bending angles.

  • Electric Press Brake:

Due to the servo-electric system, bending speed is adjustable, allowing for more suitable speeds based on different thicknesses, materials, and bending lengths. This enhances bending precision, providing accurate and repeatable bending results. In terms of bending accuracy, electric press brakes outperform hydraulic press brakes.

  • Hydraulic Press Brake:

Hydraulic press brakes offer good precision, modern hydraulic press brakes come equipped with advanced control systems, often featuring CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technology, and their hydraulic control systems can finely adjust bending force.


3. Speed and Productivity

  • Mechanical Press Brake:

Mechanical press brakes are renowned for their high-speed operation, making them suitable for large-scale production.

  • Electric Press Brake:

Electric press brakes strike a balance between speed and precision, enabling them to meet various production requirements.

Bending Workpieces bending tools-3

Variety of Mold Options with Higher Precision and Faster Speed

  • Hydraulic Press Brake:

Hydraulic press brakes are affected by environmental conditions and heat generated by the hydraulic system. They may require preheating before starting or cooling down after operation. In case of hydraulic system malfunctions, it often takes a longer time to troubleshoot. Therefore, hydraulic press brakes are typically slower than mechanical press brakes.

4. Expenses for Dies and Components

  • Mechanical Press Brake:

Mechanical press brakes typically have lower upfront costs, but the tooling and molds used in mechanical press brakes can be more expensive.

  • Electric Press Brake:

The initial cost of electric press brakes may be higher, but the tooling expenses are often more economical.

  • Hydraulic Press Brake:

In terms of upfront costs and tooling expenses, hydraulic press brakes fall between mechanical and electric press brakes. Hydraulic press brakes can perform both upward and downward pressing, saving manufacturing time for sheet metal components.

Punch and die

5. Noise and Energy Efficiency

  • Mechanical Press Brake:

Mechanical press brakes tend to produce more noise during operation and are generally less energy-efficient.

  • Electric Press Brake:

Electric press brakes are quieter and more energy-efficient compared to their mechanical counterparts.

  • Hydraulic Press Brake:

Hydraulic press brakes can be quieter than mechanical ones, and their energy efficiency depends on the hydraulic system’s design.

Hydraulic Valve

Overview of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mechanical, Electric, and Hydraulic Press Brake


In summary, each type of press brake—mechanical, electric, and hydraulic—comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Mechanical Press Brake:

  • Advantages:
  1. High-speed operation, making them suitable for high-volume production.
  2. Lower initial costs.
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Lower precision compared to electric and hydraulic press brakes.
  2. Produces more noise during operation.
  3. Less energy-efficient.

Electric Press Brake:

  • Advantages:
  1. High precision and control due to the servo-electric system.
  2. Versatile for various production requirements.
  3. Quieter operation.
  4. More energy-efficient compared to mechanical press brakes.
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Higher initial costs.

Hydraulic Press Brake:

  • Advantages:
  1. Good precision and control with the hydraulic system.
  2. Versatility in applications.
  3. Quieter operation compared to mechanical press brakes.
  4. Offers a balance between speed and precision.
  5. Energy-efficient, depending on the hydraulic system’s design.
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Generally slower than mechanical press brakes.

Benefits of Using a Hydraulic Press Brake

1. Precision and Control:
Hydraulic systems provide precise control over the bending process, allowing for accurate and repeatable results. This makes hydraulic press brakes ideal for applications where precision is crucial.
WC67K Series Torsion Axis Synchronous CNC Bending Machine detail photo

2. Uniform Bending Force:
Hydraulic press brakes ensure a consistent and uniform bending force across the entire length of the workpiece. This results in even bending and eliminates variations in the final product.

3. Adaptability to Different Tooling:
Hydraulic press brakes can accommodate different tooling setups easily, allowing for flexibility in the types of bends and shapes that can be achieved. This adaptability enhances their usability for a variety of projects.

4. Increased Production Speed:
While hydraulic press brakes may not match the speed of mechanical counterparts, they offer a good balance between speed and precision. The efficient hydraulic system contributes to faster production compared to certain other types of press brakes.

5. Automation Compatibility:
Hydraulic press brakes can be easily integrated into automated manufacturing systems, allowing for increased efficiency and reduced labor requirements. This makes them suitable for modern, high-tech production environments.

As your trusted source for high-quality metal processing machinery, LZK specializes in the production of CNC hydraulic press brakes, CNC hydraulic shearing machines, CNC fiber laser cutting machines, and more. We offer top-notch hydraulic press brakes, and if you have any needs, please feel free to contact us anytime.


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