Press Brake vs Panel Bender: The Ultimate Difference Analysis

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Publish Date: September 2, 2022

In the sheet metal bending industry, most people have used press brakes, but panel benders are also a good workpiece-forming solution.

There are also some other presses, including stamping machines, folding machines, punching machines,s and so on.

Adding a panel bender to the production line can allow operators to reduce simple operations and improve bending efficiency and accuracy.

What Is a Press Brake?

Press brake is a bending machine used for metal fabrication. The working area is composed of a ram and a workbench.

There is a group of punches on the ram and a group of corresponding V-shaped dies on the workbench.

Driven by the pressure system, the ram drives the punch to press the workpiece down to the die. The cost of the press brake is much lower than that of the panel bender.

The press brake has different tonnage, ranging from 40 tons to more than 1000 tons.

When the press brake is bending, the operator needs to adjust the plate after a bending cycle. The press brake with a manipulator has a high degree of automation, but the cost is also high.

What Is a Panel Bender?

Panel bender was invented by Mr. Guido Salvagnini and has a history of more than 100 years.

The appearance and function of the panel bender are very similar to that of the press brake, except that the panel bender is more suitable for producing complex workpieces.

The panel bender can bend up and down, and can also bend horizontally. The bending of each side of the plate is basically realized.

The most important parts of the panel bender are the upper and lower blades, the counterblades, and the automatic manipulator.

These tools are all general-purpose tools, which can automatically adapt to the changes of the plate, without additional setting time.

The blankholder can accurately, quickly and automatically clamp and rotate the plate, improving the accuracy and quality of the workpiece.

After the panel bender locates the plate, it is fixed in a proper position. The upper and lower blades bend the plate upward or downward.

What’s the Difference Between a Press Brake and a Panel Bender?


The number of workpieces produced by the panel bender per hour is more than that produced by the press brake.

And the bending of each workpiece processed by the panel bender is also more than that of the press brake.

The panel bender can quickly and conveniently produce small batches or complete sets of precision workpieces.

At least one or two operators are required for each press brake to work. The semi-automatic panel bender needs at least one operator, while the full-automatic panel bender can bend without personnel.

The panel bender has no higher requirements for operators than the press brake and only needs to feed or take out the workpiece.

When the press brake is bending, the operator must operate the workpiece several times to improve the accuracy of the workpiece and reduce errors.

The panel bender is applicable to a complete set of production lines, and usually, only one to three operators are required to complete the batch production of workpieces.

The press brake may need a robot to assist the operator, and in addition, it needs multiple operators to produce the rest of the machine.

The automation of the panel bender is higher than that of the press brake. The press brake needs to be adjusted manually after completing a bending stroke.

The panel bender has manual and automatic blankholder, and the automatic manipulator can significantly improve the bending efficiency.


The pressure range of the press brake is from 40 tons to thousands of tons. The degree of automation of the press brake is not high.

It can be used for angle correction, automatic tool change, deflection compensation, etc.

The bending accuracy of the press brake depends on the accuracy of the backgauge, the angle adjustment and the accuracy of the blank.

The setting time of the press brake is longer than that of the panel machine.

The press brake can more flexibly modify the workpiece according to the design drawing until a satisfactory price is produced

The bending of sheet metal by panel bender is not based on tonnage, but on the thickness of sheet metal.

The panel bender needs to bend the whole workpiece after positioning the workpiece on the centerline of the workpiece.

It needs to bend each side of the workpiece after positioning from the four sides of the workpiece.

The bending tolerance of the panel bender can reach 0.008 inches, which can produce more precise workpieces.

It can produce workpieces that are easier to assemble, such as workpieces that can slide or snap together.

The setting time of the panel bender is basically negligible, and it can automatically adapt to the shape of sheet metal.

Working Principle

The difference between the panel bender and the press brake in the bending process is obvious.

The press brake has a set of upper dies and a set of matching V-shaped lower dies. Driven by pressure, the upper die presses the metal plate into the lower die, which is one complete bending stroke.

According to the thickness, bending radius, and angle of the plate, the opening size of the V-shaped dies is also different. The toolings of the press brake will wear after a period of use, and it needs to be replaced.

The panel bender processes the sheet metal through upper and lower blades and blankholder. The counterblade of the panel bender is able to clamp the metal plate during bending.

The most prominent feature of the panel bender is that the blankholder can assist the blade to clamp the plate for flexible and accurate bending.

The upper and lower blades, counterblades and blankholder of the panel bender do not need to be stopped or manually set.

They can be automatically controlled according to the thickness and shape of the sheet during the whole bending process.

Bending Quality

Bending the plate with a press brake will cause wrinkles or kinks. The press brake will have some problems when bending backward.

The press brake presses the plate to the lower die by pressing the punch. This will lead to scratches on the outside of the plate, especially on some coated plates.

Moreover, long-term wear will lead to mold wear, and the mold needs to be replaced regularly. When bending large plates, the operator's speed cannot keep up with the bending speed, which will lead to waste of materials.

The panel bender has a higher degree of automation when bending, and its accuracy and repeatability are higher than those of the press brake.

The sensor of the panel bender can automatically adjust the bending force and angle according to the change in temperature and material thickness.


The panel bender and the press brake have their own advantages and disadvantages. You need to choose the most suitable machine according to your production needs.

The cost of the press brake is lower than that of the panel bender, but the production efficiency of the panel bender is higher.

If you need to know about the two machines, you can consult our service personnel.

FAQs About Press Brake and Panel Bender

Which one is better the press brake or the panel bender?

These two types of machines have their own unique advantages, mainly depending on your needs.

Compared with the panel bender, the press brake is better at bending large workpieces, and its operation area is larger.

The press brake is also more suitable for processing the production of internal flanges.

The panel bender is more suitable for bending complex and precise parts. The panel bender has higher accuracy, repeatability and automation.

Therefore, the panel bender is more suitable for mass production, which can save manpower and time and improve production efficiency.

But the cost of the panel bender is also higher, and the cost of the press brake is lower.

Press Brake vs Folding Machine – Which Is Right For You?

The press brake and folding machine are both used for sheet metal manufacturing, with high accuracy.

The press brake has a larger tonnage range, so it can handle larger and thicker metal plates.

However, the punch of the press brake may leave scratches on the workpiece.

Compared with the folding machine, the press brake can bend in large quantities.

The bending force of the folding machine is much smaller than that of the press brake, which is more suitable for bending thin metal plates.

The folding machine can produce workpieces with complex shapes and can bend in small batches.

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