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Panel bender gets smarter and smarter

November 4, 2021 - Part of the Salvagnini, Hamilton, Ohio, portfolio for a long time, constantly updated and improved, the P2 panel bender is now even more flexible and productive thanks to the MAC3.0 function.

Flexibility, productivity, adaptability, versatility, ability to perform both positive and negative, flattened and radius bends. With a footprint lower than 35 m2, yet with all the features of the P4, Salvagnini’s top-of-the-range. P2 is all this: a tried-and-tested, highly successful compact panel bender that reduces re-tooling times when passing from one production item to the next and minimizes - indeed eliminates - waste. A machine that the company continues to perfect, introducing new hardware and software solutions to further extend its field of application.

This is the case, for example, of the CUT option. Already popular on Salvagnini's P4 panel benders and, since last year, also available on the P2, the CUT tool not only allows the machine to complete up to 17 bends per minute but also to cut profiles. This helps to make it not only an extremely high-performing and versatile bending machine but also an authentic smart work center, relieving operators of all tasks apart from simple loading and unloading, and allowing them to devote more time to other operations, with clear benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity. This recent update makes the P2 panel bender increasingly more intelligent and efficient, supporting both operators and companies.

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MAC3.0: an aid for overcoming the variability of raw materials

The introduction of the CUT option was followed by MAC3.0: a set of integrated technologies - sensors, formulas and algorithms - to make the P2 even more intelligent. MAC3.0 is the evolution of MAC2.0, a standard feature on Salvagnini panel benders since 2014, which allows the P2 to adapt to the material being machined by measuring the tensile strength in real time and comparing it to the reference values of some of the most common materials on the market. If the mechanical characteristics of the material being machined are within ±25% of the reference value, compensation is fully automatic: the panel bender recalculates the force required to obtain the right bends, limiting the risk of over- or under-bending. In this scenario, MAC3.0 drastically reduces the risk of obtaining faulty parts and eliminates reworking and material waste - a highly significant detail in the current economic situation in which each kilogram of raw material saved represents a considerable economic benefit.

The possibility of adapting the bending force to the mechanical characteristics of the sheet metal being machined was however already possible with MAC2.0, so the functions of MAC3.0 do not end here. Salvagnini's engineers have further met market demands by extending the range of machinable materials and allowing new ones to be defined simply and intuitively if necessary. To do so, it is sufficient to simply load the sheet metal onto the worktable: MAC3.0 measures the material's strength in real time. At this point, the value must be saved as a reference value for the new material. This new material can then be called up in a few clicks, whenever needed: the panel bender adapts the bending force as necessary in order to keep working within the parameters. These newly defined materials can also be used as the starting point for new adjustments and new materials. The efficiency of MAC3.0 is guaranteed by the fact that it can correctly bend materials with tensile strength up to double that of the related reference material. All in all, this is an extremely interesting solution, and is particularly relevant in today’s raw material supply chain where sourcing difficulties, along with the dynamism of the market and the need to comply with set delivery times, force companies to accept compromises on the quality of the sheet metal, risking significant increases in waste.

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Fast and standard on all machines

All the panel benders manufactured since March 2021 are already equipped with the MAC3.0 function. It is, therefore, not an option that is available on request but a native, standard feature, and indeed it is not always noted by the operators: the mechanical characteristics of the material are measured, and any bending parameters corrected, so quickly that it has practically no effect on cycle times or productivity rates.

More precisely, it takes MAC3.0 around 3 tenths of a second to calculate the tensile strength. The measurement is always made on the first bend and, if the value measured differs from the reference value, and the bending force has to be modified, the reworking time is less than one second. Summing up, with an increase in cycle times of no more than 2 seconds, MAC3.0 offers a guarantee of zero-waste production.

This is the standard approach; the operator is however free to reduce or add readings, for example when processing material with significantly different mechanical characteristics according to the direction of lamination. If, however, a few seconds are needed to maintain the cycle time in line with that programmed, the operator can disable MAC3.0 in just a few clicks.

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The compact panel bender in step with the market

Combining the pros of the latest version of the P2 with today’s needs, it is easy to understand how the panel bender represents the ideal solution for the current economic scenario, the perfect ally for tackling all work challenges, first and foremost that of materials.

The recent drop in raw material availability translates into either stockouts of certain types of materials or record price increases. To use a topical example, the lack of material may mean that we have to use a sheet metal that is similar in terms of end performance but has different mechanical characteristics. In cases like this, with MAC3.0, it takes the P2 panel bender just a few simple steps to correctly set up production while guaranteeing full repeatability from the very first part. But the advantages guaranteed by MAC3.0 may also be of primary importance within the same batch of material, as the standards allow parameters such as thickness or tensile strength to vary considerably (±20% tensile strength and ±1/10 thickness) even within the same supply. Another hot topic that makes the P2 appetizing for companies is the chronic lack of expert benders. The P2’s smart features allow this compact panel bender to relieve operators of all tasks apart from sheet metal loading and part unloading, so that they can perform other operations during the bending cycle.

Simple, precise, fast

These latest developments in the P2 confirm how much the concept of flexible automation is part of Salvagnini’s DNA. Being competitive today does not merely mean having fast single part production: the challenge lies in production efficiency, understood as the ability to move from one item to the next with the shortest re-tooling time, whatever the geometric and mechanical characteristics of the metal sheet and the type and number of jobs. Like all the other Salvagnini panel benders, the P2 is a flexible production system that plays a decisive role in production management today, not only improving quality but also reducing lead times and waste. But it is also extremely simple to use, indeed the operator needs no complicated training in order to learn how to edit the machining parameters, but simply has to call up the program and feed the machine.

An extremely precise machine that, thanks to MAC3.0, offers highly repeatable production from the very first part, not only in ideal test conditions but also on the field in real manufacturing, thanks to the capacity to adapt the machining parameters. A fast machine that measures material characteristics and consequently adapts its own machining parameters, in less than two seconds and with an average of 17 bends per minute.

An intelligent machine that, with the right balance, is able to tackle today’s increasingly variable market conditions.

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