PRECISION, ACCURACY AND SPEED: Fabricator processes large parts faster with Salvagnini panel bender technology

Mar 23, 2024


Metal enclosures serve as protective

housings for a wide range of items from electronics and communication systems to controls, avionics and critical vehicle components. Building these boxes to safeguard their contents from damage and environmental factors such as dust, moisture and debris requires specialized skills that go beyond typical design and fabrication expertise.
“Very complex enclosures with tough, highly cosmetic finishes require a unique combination of engineering experience, equipment and craftsmanship,” says Steve Tokarz, president of IMS Engi- neered Products LLC, a global supplier of precision sheet metal fabrications and electromechanical assemblies.
IMS enclosures and AMCO rack sys- tems can be found in nearly every market space from transportation, aerospace, defense and telecommunications to ap- pliance and agriculture. The Des Plaines, Illinois-based company carefully put the pieces in place over time. After acquir- ing a fabrication business established in 1974, IMS was founded in 1995. It then purchased AMCO [started in 1943] in 2005. Today, IMS stands out as the preferred choice for businesses seeking unparalleled quality and reliability.
“We can powder coat, wet coat or provide a No. 4 finish to complicated en- closures with very tight tolerances,” says Tokarz. “We can weld, grind and polish a component to look like one seamless piece. Our personnel provide a level of craftsmanship that is phenomenal. From engineering to fabrication, mechanical and electrical integration and customer service, we offer a complete solution. When it comes to launching new prod- ucts, we have developed a process with defined roles and responsibilities. We know what to do and when to do it.”


Equipment such as Salvagnini America’s panel bender technology plays a crucial role in the supplier’s fabrication process. In 2023, IMS installed a Salvagnini P4-3125 panel bender. The capital equipment investment demonstrated IMS’s ongoing commitment to lead the industry in innovation and serve customers with top-shelf products. The panel bender’s automatic bending and handling cycles and universal bending tools boost throughput for versatile parts processing. The P4-3125 can bend panels as long as 10 ft. 2 in. and as wide as 5 ft. The new panel bender wasn’t the fabricator’s first experience with the OEM.
“We’ve had a Salvagnini panel bender since 1996,” says Tokarz. “After 28 years, it was still running until we decommis- sioned it to install the new one. Our primary reason for replacing it was that we wanted to upgrade to newer technology.”

Universal Bending

Choosing a panel bender over a press brake wasn’t a difficult choice. “When you have the right application, you can run more parts, faster with a panel bender,” he continues. “We deal with a lot of large components, doors, side panels. Having the P4-3125 really helps. Our parts would be too cumbersome on a press brake. You would need two operators to hold the material. The panel bender is more accurate and ergo- nomic. Upgrading to a newer model was an easy decision based on our product line.”
Prior to the purchase, Salvagnini ran test parts for an outdoor power distribu- tion cabinet that feeds charging stations for EV vehicles. “Salvagnini proved out four different parts for us,” says Tokarz. “I went to Italy to sign off on the machine’s qualification run. On each end of the side panels there was a 2-in. radius followed by formed features. The panels are more than 98 in. long and 4 ft. wide. Salvagnini had to build a special T tool with specified clearances so that it could form the radius and clear other features that were already punched into the part.”
IMS runs stainless, aluminum and cold-rolled steel on the P4-3125. “We run all the parts we make for our enclosures on the panel bender, from the new EV application to cabinets for medical, financial, industrial, military, transportation, telecommunications and test and measurement uses. Appliances are a huge market space for us,” he says. “What we like about the P4-3125 is that setup is quick, and you only have to make a minor adjustment based off the type of material being fed into the machine.”


In addition to controlled centering, MAC3.0 detects any differences in a material’s mechanical characteristics and compares them to its nominal value during the bending cycle adapting the machine and the manipulator’s movements to compensate for those variations.
Universal bending tools automatically adapt in-cycle to panel geometry with- out downtime or manual re-tooling. This allows operators to process a range of machinable materials from 0.02 in. thick to 0.12 in. thick.
IMS runs mid- to low-volume jobs with appliance work dictating higher-volume part runs. Precision and accuracy are cru- cial, but so is speed.

"The P4-3125 is up to three times faster than a conventional press brake."
Steve Tokarz,
IMS Engineered Products LLC


“The P4-3125 is up to three times faster than a conventional press brake,” says Tokarz. “The parts we were bending for the EV application took two days and three press brakes versus one day on the Salvagnini panel bender. Labor is also reduced. The press brakes need six guys and two days versus two operators less skilled and one day on the panel bender. My operations manager calls the P4-3125 an ‘overtime killer’ for the forming guys because it just chews through every job put on it. When we compare the P4- 3125 to all the new equipment we’ve purchased recently, we find it’s the best bang for the buck.”

IMS Engineered Products LLC | 847-391-8100 |
Salvagnini America Inc.| 513-874-8284 |