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Gert Dekker, CEO, SafanDarley at EuroBLECH.

The Bending E-volution

Intelligent ‘lights-out’ factory solutions were the focus of SafanDarley’s stand at this October’s EuroBLECH sheet-metal exhibition in Hanover, Germany. The bending and shearing specialist, inventor of the servo-electronic E-brake bending system, has heralded an ‘E-volution’ in sheet-metal processing by moving increasingly towards the automatically and digitally controlled factory.

Its automated, modular and software solutions on display at EuroBLECH have been developed for the future production environment and are designed to contribute to lower energy consumption, higher productivity and cost savings.

SafanDarley develops and builds press brakes and shears for thin and thick sheet metal, from R&D and engineering up to manufacture; assembly; sales/marketing; training and service. It has two production plants, a head office in Lochem (the Netherlands) and a branch in Eijsden, and employs approximately 200 members of staff. It has existed for over 90 years.

SafanDarley’s CEO, Gert Dekker, outlined the company’s bending E-volution that embraces digitalisation, robotisation and the Smart Factory to ISMR at EuroBLECH in Hanover.

Digitalisation in focus

“The huge market trend that we see right now is towards robotisation and digitalisation, and I feel that we are just at the beginning of this cycle. We are also working on Big Data projects with some university colleagues, Dekker told ISMR. “We are therefore highlighting a range of automation solutions at EuroBLECH this year.”

SafanDarley demonstrated its E-Brake Mini Cell and R-Brake sheet-metal bending systems at EuroBLECH in a separate area of its booth targeted at the production environment of the future. Both systems were supplied with material using Kumatech’s new Pallet Jack AGV (automated ground vehicle) which also removed pallets loaded with completed products. Booth visitors could see that the bending process on the R-Brake and the Mini Cell was 100% automated. During the exhibition, the R-Brake 130T produced parts for Meijer Handling Solutions BV, a manufacturer of KOOI® Reachforks for forklift trucks.

“With the R-Brake, the press brake and the robot are integrated into one modular system. The automatic tool and gripper change are linked to the machine and, together with the product, are programmed completely offline using our RoboBend offline simulation software. A unique feature of the R-Brake is that the robot can be traversed horizontally along a gantry of six metres above the press brake, leaving the floor in front of the machine completely free for supply and unloading stations, which saves a lot of space,” explained Dekker.

SafanDarley also showcased its modular E-Brake Mini Cell for the automatic production of small complex products. The version at EuroBLECH featured a sophisticated Mini Cell, equipped with a discharge belt for the scratch-free disposal of products outside the cell. The Mini Cell also boasts a pallet management system for the automatic supply and removal of pallets.

Tool-changing solutions

In addition to its robotic press brake range, SafanDarley also showcased the E-Brake C 200T with Tool Mate. The E-Brake C 200T has a C-frame and is equipped with a Tool Mate, an external automatic and intelligent tool-changer. This combination is designed to offer significant time savings when producing small batches.

“We are particularly proud of the Tool Mate; this tool-changer is a big step for us. It is the result of a successful collaboration with our partner in Italy. We can also do the same with an H-brake hydraulic press brake and create combinations i.e. a Tool Mate in the centre with two press brakes flanking on either side. It is the first E-brake in the world with a C-frame, our ‘light version’. We are developing a next-generation Mini Brake with a C-frame that will be ready in the next two years, along with other versions,” explained Gert Dekker.

To read the rest of this article in the November 2022 issue of ISMR, see


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