Tube and Pipe Fabrication Articles

The tube and pipe fabrication technology area covers sawing (band, circular, and friction) and other cutting processes, such as abrasive, flame, laser, oxyfuel, plasma, and waterjet. It also discusses forming processes, including bending and end forming. Finally, it includes a handful of miscellaneous processes, such as trimming, beveling, finning, grooving, threading, and spinning.

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Getting the most for your tube bending buck

May 12, 2015

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Understanding the basic tube bending methods, including their capabilities and limitations, can help you uncover the best and most economical way to achieve a quality bend.

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Getting to the root of pipe welding automation

April 29, 2015

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Automating the root pass in pipe spool fabrication has always been a challenge, and making weld preparations more consistent just hasn’t been economically practical. In this market, advanced vision systems and adaptive welding have helped overcome these challenges.

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Electric bender cuts lead times, scrap rate

March 12, 2015

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Former toolmaker Toolspec Manufacturing Co. has transitioned over the years to become a fabricator, and over the years acquired 14 hydraulic benders. The machines are capable but require lengthy tool changeovers, hours of programming time, and substantial expertise to maintain bend consistency. It recently invested in two all-electric machines, benders that don’t have these issues.

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Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015

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Bob Moehlman has welded pipe for more than 50 years, including 30 years at Superior Pipe Fabricators, a Los Angeles-based shop he helped launch in 1984. The shop’s success hasn’t come by using the latest and greatest pipe welding technology, but instead through teaching—showing the inexperienced employees the ropes, developing their talent, and giving them a career.

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Developing a national, international bending standard for tube and pipe

January 23, 2015

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An update from an article that ran in the September 2013 TPJ, this column describes a research project intended to help eliminate trial-and-error setups, conserve programmers’ time, and help get products to market faster by helping everyone involved in a bending project home in on the optimal bending process before getting started.

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Don’t buy it, bend it

January 21, 2015

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Bill Farris, owner of auto components supplier and repair shop Marden Tire & Auto, Rockford, Ill., focused on tires and repairs for many years, staying away from the inventory-heavy exhaust business. All that changed when King Cobra Muffler Centers Inc. approached him with a new way to handle exhaust systems: Stock straight pipe and bend systems when necessary.

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Sustaining fabricating success

October 31, 2014

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Located in the Pacific Northwest, P&A Metal Fab is not in a hotbed of North American metal fabricating activity. That hasn't stopped it, however, from growing into a successful and award-winning supplier of metal fabricating services. It's all about continuously improving the entire organization, not just the shop floor.

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Aerospace parts manufacturer upgrades bending capability

September 8, 2014

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Bending tubular parts for the aerospace industry isn’t easy. OEMs continue to push the envelope, designing increasingly complex parts made from pricey materials. Fabricators are under continuous pressure to improve their capabilities, turn orders around faster, and minimize scrap. To that end, SL Engineering recently invested in a second all-electric bender from Unison.

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Custom bicycle manufacturer fabricates titanium, ferrous materials, aluminum to thrive in competitive market

September 4, 2014

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Firefly Bicycles, a 2011 start-up in the custom bicycle business, is thriving despite the sluggish economy and a competitive marketplace. The company’s three founders are using their previous work experience in bicycle fabrication and their enthusiasm for cycling to stay ahead of the competition.

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Consumables Corner: Lowering weld hardness in SAW

August 26, 2014

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Q: We manufacturer dual submerged arc welded (DSAW) pipe for API use. Some jobs require that the weld hardness be below 250 Vickers. We are having trouble meeting that requirement. What can we do? A: Weld hardness restrictions generally are found in pipelines designated for sour service and are...

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Cutting opportunities in hollow structural sections

July 21, 2014

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The construction industry’s use of hollow structural sections (HSS) has been on the rise since the recession. Because of their high strength, HSS allow engineers to use less material, extending the maximum unbraced length between structural members. It’s in this environment that the tube cutting laser is beginning to open up new opportunities.

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Plasma cutting pipe in the water mist

May 5, 2014

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An Iowa pipe fabricating shop discovers it can eliminate secondary grinding on stainless steel material by adding water misting to its plasma cutting operation.

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Machine bends and cuts tube in one process

March 14, 2014

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A typical bending machine process is feed-bend-feed-bend, or maybe feed-bend-feed- rotate-bend, until the feedstock is used up. However, this isn’t the end of the fabrication process, which includes a subsequent cutting step. The cut often means waste, especially for short-length parts, and the problem is compounded when the volume is high or the material is expensive. Read about how one bender manufacturer changed the process to feed-bend-separate-feed-rotate-bend-separate.

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tube bending

Tube and pipe basics: How to achieve the perfect bend

February 24, 2014

Although tube bending technology has evolved significnatly over the years, the process still boils down to four factors: the material, machine, tooling, and lubrication.

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Technology Spotlight: Quick-release hose clamp seals 360 degrees

January 13, 2014

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Need to connect a flexible hose to a rigid metal nipple? The worm gear clamp has been the standard for decades, but they aren’t ideal for the soft, thin-wall tubing used in aircraft environmental control systems.

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