Salvagnini | Technology Solutions
Automated bending operation
Panel bender technology helps manufacturers fight common production floor enemies
GUIDO SALVAGNINI designed, built and introduced the first panel bender to the marketplace in 1977. At the time, large parts production was hampered by tooling and machines that required labor-intensive manual setup.

Fabricators were clamoring for a flexible, automated solution. Salvagnini talked with manufacturers and used their feedback to engineer the P4 panel bender. The alternative to hard tooling, roll forming and manual press brakes was quickly adopted.

Today, job shops are grappling with different problems like the skills gap, ongoing implementation of Industry 4.0 and 5.0 initiatives and new operation parameters created by COVID-19, but Salvagnini’s P2 and P4 panel bender series are more relevant than ever.

The technology is especially suited to low to medium batch sizes, single-piece flow or kit production. Other hallmarks include the ability to meet stringent quality standards while handling a diverse product mix that ranges from steel furniture, elevators and commercial kitchens for fast food to HVAC equipment.

While end uses for the P2 and P4 are nearly limitless, sheet metal manufacturers in these market spaces share a common enemy: loss of efficiency and performance due to overproduction of work-in-progress (WIP). Lengthy setup time on traditional equipment creates WIP and leaves factories overloaded with finished and unfinished parts.

Some manufacturers find that poor quality, lack of skilled personnel and reliability are close companions of large stockpiles.

Special panel bender promotion through Oct 31, 2020.
Visit to see videos that capture how manufacturers have creatively added automation to their line to reduce human interaction and increase production quality and time.
For manufacturers facing these and other problems, the panel bender is a game changer. One machinery buyer chose a panel bending operation when its team realized they had to produce 100 components just to achieve 60 good parts. Since making the investment in an automated panel bender, the company has won back its competitive edge and regained its footing as the front runner in its industry.

Panel benders differ from conventional bending methods in terms of throughput. Integrating a panel bender into one’s workflow means adopting a method that can help bend complicated geometries efficiently and provide a clean finish.

Fabricators find that converting designs into streamlined geometries results in reduced assembly time, fewer fasteners and smaller part lots. More than 40 years of field experience and 4,000 installations in 76 countries has equipped Salvagnini with the insight it needs to help customers select the right equipment and software. The machinery builder also helps companies understand how its equipment affects product flow, upstream and downstream.

Three panel bender models in different sizes give users the flexibility they need to accommodate floor space and product requirements. Material handling eliminates tool changes (all tools are live and available any time the machine is in operation), features an integrated shear, intelligent software, single part flow, interconnectivity/modularity with other Salvagnini equipment and supports fully automated robotic systems. Aside from improved energy savings, the panel bender acts as a link for IoT practices and communication with ERP systems.

Each Salvagnini panel bender share a common foundation that sets the technology apart from traditional bending methods. The blueprint, which Salvagnini calls PART, comprises four sections: precision, automation, reliability and technology.

Precision: Dimensional tolerances are rated at ±0.008 in. Bend angle repeatability is rated at ±0.5 degrees. Tolerances are not impacted by worker skills, material, sheet thickness, product range or batch size.

Automation: Salvagnini has designed automation of the bending process to work independently of an operator’s skill set. Parts are referenced once during the bending process without the aid of back gauges. The bending process is numeric controlled and can be recorded and documented for IoT, IIoT and big data requirements.

Salvagnini equipment bend
  • Compared to conventional press brakes manned by an operator, automated panel bending increases part quality and is a must with laser welding operations.
  • Accuracy is ± 0.004 in. bend line to bend line, significantly tighter than what can be achieved with a press brake.
  • Part quality is not dependent on operator skill. Once the program is proofed out the panel bender produces the same part every time.
  • Speed advantage is two to three times that of a press brake, resulting in shorter internal lead times.
  • Part pre-staging capability increases throughput.
  • Automatic tooling reduces setup costs.
  • Complicated parts do not require additional setups. For example, a 26-bend part can be done with one setup which supports one-piece flow.
  • While panel benders are operating, an operator can perform work-in-process such as embossing or writing offline programs which also supports faster throughput.
To support automation of material flow during sheet metal fabrication, panel benders can be embedded into flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), robotized or integrated at any automation level. Similar to Legos, panel benders can function as a stand-alone machine or evolve into an FMS with automation.

Reliability: Due to superior machine availability and readiness, Salvagnini’s panel benders are able to handle raw material inconsistencies. An automated bending and material flow function independently of worker skill sets. High reliability supports accurate production planning and delivery forecasts.

Technology: With the lowest energy consumption compared to other sheet metal bending processes, Salvagnini panel benders offer minimal maintenance, dedicated tooling options for diverse part requirements and bending sequence solutions for special applications.