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Salient Characteristics

BY: Karl Fritchen, President SafanDarley NA

Salient Characteristics: 7 Differentiators That Set SafanDarley Apart

What features set one press brake apart from another? In other words, what determines the true value of a certain piece of equipment? The answer is: the unique features that cannot be procured through any other manufacturer.

These features are known as salient characteristics, and they must be met in order for one product to be considered the equal of another for the purpose of procurement.

At SafanDarley, we view equipment investments in terms of potential ROI and overall quality, so the most important features are those that increase output, ensure a safe work environment, and minimize downtime.

Based on feedback from our customers and our own observations, we have distilled a list of the salient characteristics that define SafanDarley equipment and set us apart from the competition.

Here’s what distinguishes our equipment from the rest:

We design all of our equipment to be interchangeable and work together, and we never engineer our existing customers out of the possibility of upgrading. In theory, every functional SafanDarley press brake, regardless of how old it is, could be retrofitted with our most advanced automation equipment.

This is particularly true of our line of automated press brakes cells. Our cells can be upgraded with a wide range of new features without expensive retrofitting charges. For example, we can add automatic tool changing functionality, product gripper changing, and additional tool storage at any time.

Our goal is to make it easy for our customers to upgrade and maximize their ROI without ever breaking the bank.

Flexibility in Configuration
SafanDarley’s RoboBend graphical programing software enables us to configure unique cell elements for our customers. Rather than being limited to a narrow range of preset options, our automated cells can be fitted with in-feed or out-feed conveyors, spot welders, custom stacking carts or bins, or other third-party elements. The Fanuc robots used in our automated cells can be programmed to activate and interact with all of these elements as long as they have programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Ease of implementation is just as important as functionality. Our new programming is done graphically, which greatly reduces the need for specialized robotic programing or custom integration knowledge. Our configuration and implementation process virtually eliminates the need for non-OEM (third-party) integrators.

No other OEM offers this level of openness and customization.

Space Efficiency
SafanDarley’s R-brake is the only automated cell on the market with an inverted robot on a gantry. This configuration allows for a compact and flexible cell — it requires the least floor space of any cell of its capacity. The R-brake’s compressed footprint maximizes the productive capacity of our customers’ facilities and, in some cases, gives them the option of adding additional equipment to the same production area.

Additionally, customers can easily toggle between manual and fully automatic production modes. For example, the machine can be run completely manually with the robot parked, and then, with the flip of a switch and adding simple material storage like standard pallets, can be run as a fully automated “lights-out” cell during overnight hours.

This feature protects our customers’ production and capital expenditures in the event of increased workloads. If there is a higher demand for manual press parts, for example, our customers can use the state-of-the-art precision press brake manually, instead of it being locked in a cell where it can’t be accessed for manual use.

No other OEM offers this level of space efficiency and flexibility.

End-user Customizable
We believe in training our customers to be able to customize and modify their equipment as their production needs evolve. We support our customers as they make custom adaptions and implements to address their unique needs, and we make sure they are in the driver’s seat in terms of design and optimization. For example, we’ve helped customers work out the details to add novel elements such as new grippers they designed themselves to meet new and challenging parts that were not even considered when the automated cell was purchased.

Once they have the proper training, the end-user’s staff can add elements or make changes. As customer demands change at an ever faster pace and product development happens at light speed these days, the ability to adapt to an entirely new product or cell layout saves tremendous capital and protects the purchaser from obsolescence.

No other OEM supports or trains end-users to modify their own cells.

Minimized Software Costs and Transparency
The purchase price of SafanDarley’s minicells includes RoboBend as well as AutoPOL, the premier sheet metal fabrication software on the market. AutoPOL is an offline programming solution that unfolds 3D CAD models to program fabrication.

Once a customer owns AutoPOL and RoboBend, we do not charge them additional licensing fees for adding the software to additional machines. As we see it, our industry-leading software is the glue that holds our automated systems together, and we want our customers to be able to use it as much as possible to maximize their production and ROI.

Additionally, with options like our Industry 4.0 gateway and our Windows PC control, our machine is a completely open book. Through the gateway, our customers have access to virtually every signal our control panel uses or outputs, including the ram position (Y-axis sensor) and side door sensors.

No other OEM offers this level of access to your machines’ data.

Focused Product Line
SafanDarley only makes press brakes and shears. All of our R&D, engineering support, service technicians, and organizational resources focus solely on press brakes, shears, and the automation of those two products.This narrow focus distinguishes us from most other OEMs, which typically produce press brakes among a much wider line of products.

We also believe in keeping our designs and architecture simple and consistent. We use the fewest proprietary components of any OEM and strive to keep our assemblies as uncomplicated as possible. We use the highest quality building materials to ensure durability that will endure decades of service on the shop floor.

Our use of common components and tried-and-true construction methods results in lower downtime due to breakdowns and less waiting for repair parts when compared to OEMs that use niche, proprietary components. SafanDarley’s all-electric drive with belt-and-pulley construction is hands-down the most reliable configuration in the industry, as demonstrated by how many of our competitors have attempted to copy it.

Ownership Structure
The final differentiator between SafanDarley and our competitors has more to do with culture and management, but it’s relevant to mention because it directly benefits our customers.

The company is owned by a foundation and is managed similarly to a nonprofit organization. Each year, our profits are re-invested back into the company to ensure longevity, boost product development, enhance customer experiences, and provide additional training and support for our employees.

Strategically reinvesting our profits benefits our customers in the short term by allowing us to improve support, ensure fantastic customer service, and roll out new products and features.

Our ownership structure also enables us to focus on the longer-term, big picture relationships with our clients. Our goal is to make our customers SafanDarley clients for life — and to this end, we don’t let short-term financial goals impact the service and products we provide.

Automation Made Easy
Every press brake OEM has a sales pitch, and most of them hinge on a particular feature that they say makes a certain piece of equipment better than anything else on the market.

The difference for SafanDarley is that the differentiators identified here are brand specific and are reflected in every press brake, shear, and automated cell we produce.

We want our customers to succeed. We want their investments to pay off, and our entire design and service model reflects this dedication to our customers.

If you’re looking to partner with an OEM that’s in your corner from day one, contact us through LinkedIn or leave a comment below. We would love to learn more about your business and sheet metal fabrication needs.

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