AKE meets Salvagnini – P1 compact panel bender for the refrigerators industry.
Thanks for the content: Ing. Norbert Novotny, x-technik
Modern refrigeration and heating devices in the most prestigious restaurants
In order to reduce the workload for specialist workers especially on press brakes, this company, refrigeration and heating specialist design, from Styria invested in Salvagnini’s P1 automatic panel bender about a year ago. Since then, the company has become convinced of this lean, 8 m² compact bending solution with extremely high repeat accuracy. Furthermore, the machine requires only about a quarter of the time needed by existing press brakes for the production of various parts, such as trays for refrigerated wells.
Modern refrigeration and heating specialist devices fulfill much more than their purely functional tasks. They represent a decorative element, are easy to fill and efficient to operate, they have fail-safe technology for fault-free operation and offer a multitude of design options up to entirely customized concepts. The IDEAL AKE Group takes all of this into account for their refrigeration and heating specialist devices, which can be found world-wide in the most prestigious restaurants, fast-food and supermarket chains, as well as their free-flow solutions (SB-Buffet) in company and department store restaurants, canteens, service areas and airports.
Customer oriented thinking for more than 70 years
“We have stood for customer-oriented thinking, fresh ideas and trendsetting technology for more than 70 years. Our products and innovations are successful worldwide and have shaped our industry decisively,” illustrates Andreas Pilz, the Technical Managing Director of AKE. While IDEAL, with its plant in Gmunden (Upper Austria) has specialized in products for the kitchen industry, AKE, which is located in Kainisch (Styria) concentrates on the production of refrigerated display cases and products for the dispensing industry.
Highly precise, rapid-response production
“We turn ideas into products. So that food stays fresh longer. This motto is the stimulus and motivation for what we do and challenges us daily to design today intelligent solutions for tomorrow. Always with a special emphasis on quality, user -friendliness, durability and sustainability,” explains the Managing Director.
AKE’s refrigeration appliances are always special solutions that are produced individually according to customer requests. “The display cases are produced based on a batch-one order, and can be put into operation by the customer within three to four weeks,” according to Pilz.
This however requires highly precise, rapid-response production. To ensure perfect implementation, AKE relies on a high degree of vertical integration with modern machinery. Equipped with a fully automated combined punching and laser cutting machine, the CNC-controlled press brakes, laser cutting robots and conventional welding machines basically have no limits as regards to form and contour either. “As Austria’s largest purchaser of stainless steel, between both locations we process together around 2,500 tons of stainless steel, with sheet thicknesses of between 0.7 to 5 mm (mainly between 0.8 to 1 mm),” points out the Managing Director.
Reduced workload for specialist personnel thanks to the panel bender
Highly qualified workers were needed in the bending and forming area in order to expertly operate the press brakes and carry out the complex work steps in a meticulous manner. Due to the massive shortage of specialist personnel, and in order to reduce the workload for the company’s bending specialists, AKE has for some time been playing with the idea of also investing in an automated bending solution.
The time came in July of last year: the first Salvagnini automatic panel bender was put into operation at the AKE site in Ausseerland. This was preceded by a visit to the Salvagnini production site in Ennsdorf (Lower Austria), where test bends were analyzed to decide which type of machinery was best suited for AKE’s range of parts. In the end, it was the compact (note: overall dimensions of 8 m²!), P1 electric panel bender, which can process stainless steel parts up to a length of 1.25 m, that fully convinced those responsible at AKE.
Parts required in large batches can also be bent fully automatically with the new machinery solution without requiring skilled staff. “The operator positions the metal sheet on the work table and then removes the product after bending. This enormously reduces the workload for our specialists on the press brakes,” says Pilz with satisfaction.
Everything is done automatically and with high repeatability
The P1 does not require any tool changes: the upper and lower blades, the counterblade and the blankholder are universal tools that are able to process the entire range of material thicknesses and machinable materials. “Once the program for the respective component has been loaded, the blankholder automatically adjusts itself in masked time and the manipulator proceeds to the position for centering and picking up the metal sheet. Quickly and fully automatically, it moves, handles, grips and rotates the sheet metal throughout the whole machining cycle,” says David Mörtenböck, from the Austrian Sales Department of Salvagnini, in more detail.
Thanks to automatic set-up, even batch-one production on Salvagnini panel benders is cost-effective. Integrated adaptive technologies make the system intelligent: like all of Salvagnini’s panel benders, the P1 also has highly-developed sensors that precisely “feel” the part to be machined. “The data collected is stored in real time in the bending formulas, which calculate the correct power on the sheet metal and automatically optimize the bending parameters to reduce waste. In parallel, MAC2.0 records all changes to the material and automatically compensates for them, guaranteeing precise and
high quality bends,” continues Mörtenböck.
The result is extremely high repeatability, which Andreas Pilz can only confirm from practical experience: “Even with large quantities, the parts are all similar. As we subsequently laser weld many of these parts using robots, this consistently high precision is enormously important.”
Refrigeration and heating specialist: cost savings make you want more
The strengths of the P1 are particularly evident, for example, in the production of trays for refrigerated wells. Before, when using conventional press brakes, the necessary folds and bends had to be carried out in two work steps, which is quite time-consuming. “The Salvagnini panel bender does this fully automatically in one production process and in a quarter of the time,” says the Managing Director, full of praise. In addition, he sees great potential for using the P1 to find new design approaches that would have been unthinkable using the manufacturing method with press brakes.
Although AKE is chartering completely new territory by using an automatic panel bender for its production, according to Andreas Pilz it was possible to start producing top-quality parts on the P1 immediately thanks to the extremely competent and professional support of Salvagnini and the simply structured programming software.
He happily assures in conclusion: “We were given excellent advice from the very beginning. The P1 will certainly not be the last Salvagnini panel bender to be put into operation at IDEAL AKE.”