Press brakes used to be manually operated machines; you had to adjust them, turn the screws and rotate them by hand, and movable rear stoppers did not exist. Work was a lot slower than it is these days, because the machines worked one strike at a time, and you had to readjust the position of the metal plate after each strike. This was work that required the use of a sledgehammer. Earlier we used to bend the edges a bit more than required and then hit the piece with a 7-kg sledgehammer to guarantee a good result.
Today, the machines are more intelligent and versatile, making the work faster and more accurate. For me, it was a significant moment in my career when I first got my hands on my current CNC machine. It must have been in 2005 or 2006. It made me realise how much the technology and computers in particular had developed. The machine had a Windows operating system!
At Relicomp, tools and machines have always been top-notch as they help guarantee quality, and quality is what we sell. Reliable machines provide a solid basis for our work as they make it possible for us to succeed.
I started as a press brake operator in the 1980s at Velsa where we manufactured cabins. In 2004, ten other men and I were transferred over to Relicomp where our existing employment contracts and benefits were held in force. I had no formal training in the field; when I started, the supervisor at Velsa told me to try this job and see if I like it.
I have learned my trade by working in it for 30 years, and I have always had the possibility to ask a colleague in case of any doubt. We enjoy an excellent atmosphere at press braking. There are more than ten workers in my department, and I think I am the oldest one. We all know each other well and we are in very good terms with each other. As for the work, it is always variable and therefore interesting. Every piece is different and therefore every job is different. The series we produce are small, which guarantees that there is never too much repetition to make the work dull.
Press brake operator