The tube and pipe production technology area encompasses mills and all of the equipment that makes a mill run successfully: tooling, welding units, nondestructive testers, bundlers, scarfing equipment, straighteners, scrap choppers, and washing systems.
June 30, 2014 | By Eric Lundin
A niche tube producer that formerly used GTAW exclusively, Esta Rohr began changing over to laser welding in 2005. The change is now complete, with substantial changes. The company has reduced its number tube production lines from five to three, but its output has increased tremendously. Meanwhile, laser welding has allowed it to cut some costs, helping its products compete against others.
April 14, 2014 | By Eric Lundin
Freedman Seating Co., founded in the late 19th century, originally manufactured seat cushions for horse-drawn buggies. As gasoline engines displaced animal power, Freedman adapted and today uses the latest technologies, such as CNC tube benders and a laser cutting machine, to stay current with trends in transportation.
Like any mechanical system, a mill can run only as fast as its slowest component. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of various cutoff systems is the first step in making sure the cutoff keeps up with the rest of the mill.
October 25, 2013 | By Pierre Huot
As demands for higher tensile steel increase, width consistency and edge quality are increasingly important because high-strength material does not form like soft grades of steel. Using a precise system for evaluating coil dimensions and edge quality is more important now than ever before.
October 24, 2013 | By Eric Lundin
Superior Tube Co. Inc., Collegeville, Pa., a fabricator that draws tubing for small-diameter applications, recently set about to improve material flow through its plant. Realizing that moving 60- and 70-year-old draw benches likely would damage the motors and motor controllers, which were the original equipment, the company developed a plan to upgrade the hardware at the same time. The result is a quantum leap in motor efficiency and monitoring capability.
September 6, 2013 | By Eric Lundin
For tube and pipe producers, testing the product on the mill is necessary, but not necessarily optimal. The line speed might be too slow, the mill might have some maintenance issues, and other factors can interfere with online testing. For these reasons, many supplement the online test with an offline test.
Tube and pipe producers have relied on GTAW and plasma for many decades, and CO2 lasers for more than a decade, but recently another choice has emerged: Fiber lasers. Relying on a solid fiber rather than a gas to generate the laser beam isn’t ideal for every material and wall thickness, but it will change the industry in a profound way.
April 19, 2013 | By Scott McLaughlin
The welding done in a tube or pipe mill ruins the galvanic or aluminum coating intended to keep the product corrosion-free, so remetallizing the weld seam is a common practice. Remetallizing creates a large amount of metal dust, which usually is considered a big nuisance and an expensive disposal headache, but in some cases it can be recycled for a profit.
March 7, 2013 | By Brian Kopack
The forge-welding process is one of the most efficient methods of making tube and pipe from 1/2 to 24 in. diameter, but it’s not limited to this range. An ERW mill’s capability can be expanded by adding a cold-stretch-reducing section, allowing it to make smaller diameters.
February 1, 2013 | By Eric Lundin
After realizing he was spending too much time traveling, risk management consultant Hank Padilla decided to take a dramatic career detour. He did some vocational coursework and opened a fabrication shop, serving the local area (Littleton, Colo.) with precision tube bending and GTAW for roll cages and exhaust systems.
January 18, 2013
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, Trinity Products devised a trinity of improvements: worker knowledge and skills, equipment upgrades, and management training. Assisted by Lincoln Electric in selecting equipment and developing its training programs, the company doubled its throughput from 2,000 to 4,000 tons per month.
October 8, 2012 | By Eric Lundin
Founded in 2003, American Hydoformers Inc. arrived on the scene a little too late to catch the first big wave of interest in hydroforming. A few automobile manufacturers had been oversold on the technology and were cautious to continue to convert parts to hydroforming, but AHI didn’t stumble and fall. Wise investments in equipment gave the company a unique and thriving position in the industry.
September 3, 2012
Many industrial processes generate quite a bit of heat, so keeping workers cool is a top priority. Wheatland Tube Co., Wheatland, Pa., added portable cooling units to lower the temperatures in its galvanizing and cutting areas. This initiative increased the time workers spend in these areas and eliminated heat-related incidents.
July 16, 2012 | By Eric Lundin
Years ago tube and pipe producers relied mainly on eddy current testing and ultrasonic testing for detecting short- and long-duration weld faults, respectively. These testing systems are still useful and in many cases required, but the spread of electronic technology has provided many more types of testing equipment for use on tube and pipe mills.
June 8, 2012 | By Eric Lundin
The essential tube and pipe production processes on a weld mill haven't changed much since the 1920s. Some new processes are available, such as laser welding, and the line speeds are faster, but much else hasn't changed. One factor that has undergone some change is how the weld bead, also known as scarf and a stringer, is handled. The conventional method was to wind it up as it came off the tube, but OD scarf choppers reduced operator exposure to this strand of red-hot, razor-sharp metal. Similcut has taken safety a step further by introducing a self-feeding OD chopper and wheelless, cantilevered ID chopper.