Spenglerei Schnyder | © Valentin Schnyder

Tinsmiths on their way from “yesteryear into the digital age”

Are you perhaps standing at this crossroads: go digital – or business as usual? Some tinsmiths with the highest commitment to quality are still working with methods that date from yesteryear. And this, even though know-how and digital tools and equipment already exist for a future-oriented overall solution.


Read on to find out how to take the right path. And on the way attract up-and-coming tinsmiths who are prepared to accompany you on your journey – from “yesteryear to the digital age.”

“I’ve always been interested in questioning processes and in looking for faster and simpler methods,” says the master tinsmith Valentin Schnyder from Elgg. “More than ten years ago, I was already dreaming about a software for tinsmiths that was easy to use and that coordinated and programmed as many machines as possible automatically.” A chance meeting at Euroblech 2007 proved to be a game-changing moment. Schnyder met the young engineer and software developer Markus Tschanter from the firm of MicroSea System Solutions GmbH; the company develops and distributes the Bendex software package – nowadays worldwide. “That was a pure stroke of luck,” remembers Valentin Schnyder. “It marked the start of my journey from yesteryear into the digital age.”

Intelligent overall solution – from the offer to the final cut

So what does this software, Bendex-Enterprise-Suite to give it its full name, actually offer? In one sentence: an intelligent overall solution for the sale and production of bent parts including all of the accessories.

But let’s begin by taking a look in a tinsmith’s workshop of today: it is often equipped with various manually-operated as well as CNC sheet metalworking machines such as a slitting machine, punching machines, laser cutting and bending machines. A higher level software is needed to network this machinery with all of the interrelated work.

The Bendex software offers tinsmiths and roofers everything – from A to Z: a 3D workpiece can be drawn and evaluated very quickly. The software then checks the feasibility of the production, calculates the profile and generates an offer – automatically. The production documents are generated at the press of a button as well as the corresponding machine exports for all common CNC machines as an optional extra. This optimises production on the whole and reduces the internal processing costs to a minimum. The easily legible working documents are of great value, even for companies with simple, manually-operated machinery. It always saves time and resources.

From the building site to the tinsmith’s workshop – and back again

The Bendex software can even be used on building sites: because once a workpiece has been entered into the system, it can be managed consistently with user-friendly menu prompts right up to the machine and back to the building site. Consequently, the administrative load can be reduced ten or twenty-fold, according to a recent survey by the trade journal “Baumetall” (Baumetall No. 5, August/2021). In principle, the necessary profiles with mitre cuts, holes and notches do not have to be re-programmed for every machine. Bendex only has to record these once.

What would software be without the right machines?

Jorns bending machines as well as some other sheet metalworking machines can be perfectly connected with Bendex. “We offer interfaces on our machine control systems so that bending profiles can be loaded from an upstream or higher-order software, for example,” says Reto Stäger, Head of Marketing & Sales at Jorns AG. Clean handling of the specific sheet material as well as the correct calculation of the handling are the requirement for a machine’s interface to work and for the bending machine to ultimately produce a dimensionally accurate bending profile that was created using a different software. In other words, both systems calculate the handling and back stop positions concordantly and correctly.

Also good to know: the Bendex-Enterprise-Suite software is currently being introduced at several Suissetec training centres together with the machine control system from Jorns AG. Because the innovative bending and double bending machines from Jorns offer everything to prepare and inspire trainees in accordance with the new training plan for the change to industry 4.0 and the continued digitisation: modern control technology and an intuitively-structured machine software.

What’s more, profile bending machines from Jorns are equipped with some unique extra functions that are a great help for professional tinsmiths in particular: simple programming of multi-tapered, overlapping profiles; dynamic positioning for maximum precision when bending profiles and closing hems and folds; not forgetting the open space in front of and behind the clamping tool to offer the greatest possible profile flexibility. The individual machine capacity can be selected online with the Jorns configurator.

Optimum use in big and small tinsmiths’ workshops

However, Jorns also takes tinsmiths who up to now have “only” been working classically with their vast expertise into account. “We haven’t forgotten the master tinsmiths who still use a double metre stick either,” explains Reto Stäger. After all, the control system for a Jorns double bending machine still lets you bend a profile conventionally, as was the standard 30 years ago – without using a depth stop.

Summing up, it can be said that the innovative Jorns sheet metalworking machines and the mighty Bendex data model together lay the foundation for the successful networking of machines, all of the automation steps and exact bending results in production. “In this way, both large and small tinsmiths’ workshops will be optimally positioned for the future,” adds Reto Stäger, a specialist for the management of business processes.

A software solution that deals with the lack of specialists too?

Most certainly. Because on the one hand, networked production with a software such as Bendex automatically increases productivity, so that you can do more with fewer specialists in future. And on the other hand, the intuitive and very easy to use system also provides a tremendous incentive for career starters in the tinsmith sector. Presuming the workshop is prepared to adapt. The tinsmith Valentin Schnyder has long since taken this step: “Young people who want to get an idea of what our work involves are given an iPad on the very first day,” he says. “They very soon realise that the devices can be used for more than just playing games. After two or three days at most, they witness how absolutely satisfying it can be to produce something on your very own from a flat piece of metal.” Consequently, Schnyder today has more applicants for apprenticeships than vacancies.

Incidentally, the software Bendex has been developed and refined over the past 15 years in close collaboration with customers, associations and manufacturing firms. Schnyder and his tinsmith workshop played a key role here with his input – and Jorns bending machines. They deliberately and courageously set out on the path from “yesteryear into the digital age” – and smoothed the way for others to follow.

Do you have any questions about digitisation in your tinsmith’s workshop? Please contact our network!

The digital backpack for your tinsmith workshop

  • Individual advice
    On digitisation in tinsmith workshops: choice of machinery and software solution; contact: Gesacon GmbH, Tägerwilen, Mr. Luigi Greco: Phone +41 71 677 60 38, gesacon@gesacon.ch
  • Live demos, training, support for Swiss customers
    The centre for digital sheet metal processing presents: the uninterrupted process for machines (bending, splitting and laser cutting machines), software solution (Bendex, written by Microsea, Vienna) and overall integration; individual appointments and workshops; contact: Gebrüder Spiegel AG, Tägerwilen: Mr. Andrea Gervasio, Phone +41 79 696 29 62, ag@spiegel.ch
  • Innovative bending machines, example Jorns
    Jorns AG, Lotzwil: supplies innovative long bending machines with an interface to the higher-order software Bendex. Contact: Mr. Reto Stäger, Phone +41 62 919 80 50, r.staeger@jorns.ch

Your author

Reto Staeger

Reto Staeger
Head of Marketing & Sales

Phone +41 62 919 80 50


Bending Technology


software, bendex