Comparison of Panel bender and Press brake
For many years, the first choice for bending sheet metal has always been press brake. But, the panel bender is about to change the game!
For many years, press brake has always been first pick when it comes to sheet metal bending. However, as technology moves forward, this doesn’t seem to always be the case. Nowadays, depending on the part, the panel bender can have several advantages over the traditional press brake.
Panel bender has an advantage over a traditional press brake in terms of speed, repeatability, and consistency.
First of all, while both can be automated by CNC (computer numerical control) functionality, a press brake still need the hands of human worker in manipulating the sheet metal from bend to bend. As a result, the larger or heavier the sheet is, the more troublesome or more man power required to complete the bend . This can largely impact the quality and efficiency of production as well as the workers.
On the other hand, panel bender utilizes a part manipulator to move the metal sheet. Once the sheet is inserted against the locating device, the entire piece is formed without the operator having to touch it until it is completed. Intelligent sensors measure the thickness, size of the material, and environmental temperature and adapt the panel bender tooling to those changes, eliminating waste, mistakes, and inefficiencies. In other words, truly automated process.
This advantage speeds up the bending process for panel bender by 2 to 3 times compared to that of a traditional press brake. It also guarantees efficiency and consistency. For example, the Salvagnini P4 Panel Bender can complete, on average, 17 bends per minute.
One issue that arises with press brakes that is eliminated with panel benders is back bending. Back bending results from the material lagging behind the press while the form is taking place, which generally results in a whipping motion as the material tries to catch up with the press. Back bending is more common in very large panels where the operator cannot keep up with the press’s speed as the material is manually raised during the actual forming process. The result is a slight reverse kink or bend at the die edge. Another instance where back bending can occur is when the material hits the back of the form tooling before the bend is complete. With the panel bender, the material mass lies flat on the table and does not have to follow the press action during the bending operation, thereby eliminating the risk of back bending.
In addition, the panel bender has unparalleled accuracy and repeatability numbers. The panel bender’s integrated advanced sensors measure the blank, including material thickness, for precise placement and bending. The sensors also detect any deformations caused by variations in temperature. The collected data is used to instantly calculate the correct force required to bend the sheet metal. From the inside bend line to the inside bend line, the accuracy is +/- .008″ on the overall panel dimension. The repeatability of the panel bender is +/- .004″.
Even though a panel bender offers many advantages, there are a number of parts that fall outside the criteria and are better suited for fabrication using a press brake. When it comes to high-quality metal fabrication, both the panel bender and press brake have a place. The decision as to which to use will depend on the type and size of the project.
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