Tube and Pipe Production Articles

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.

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Buy it by the pound, sell it by the foot

April 15, 2008

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If you're a tube or pipe producer, you're probably under constant pressure to cut costs. And you probably know that you can reduce your raw material costs by reducing the coil width, within reason, and the change will have little noticeable impact on the final product's quality. However, this doesn't give you license to make wholesale significant width reductions. In fact, you'd probably be better off developing a comprehensive process optimization program and striving for higher efficiency instead of merely cutting costs.

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Roll Forming Diagram

Using FEM to compare tube forming processes

January 15, 2008

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Finite element analysis (FEA) software developed specifically for roll forming can help tube producers determine the best forming process for tube (such as single-radius forming, edge forming, or partial-step forming). It also can help tube producers find forming problem areas and eliminate them.

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Working with stainless on a budget

December 11, 2007

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The high cost of stainless steel—especially the spikes caused by nickel surcharges—has caused many tube manufacturers' customers to look for alternative alloys. What can tube producers expect after switching from a 300-series stainless to a less expensive alloy? It depends on the new alloy and the production process.

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Copper tube mill

Reducing conversion cost in a copper tube mill

September 11, 2007

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Sorting through the myriad quality programs and manufacturing trends—total quality management, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing—can be a daunting challenge. Knowing which strategies to use and how to use them can deliver big results in a copper tube production facility.

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Roll Forming

Roll forming high-strength materials

April 10, 2007

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The use of high-strength materials is growing, and roll forming engineers and tooling designers who want to form this material successfully need to arm themselves with knowledge about these materials, their capabilities, and the limitations. Knowledge gained from press brake bending operations is useful in predicting how these metals will form on a roll forming line.

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Tube images

Tube drawing principles

March 13, 2007

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Five tube drawing methods are sinking, rod drawing, floating plug drawing, tethered plug drawing, and fixed plug drawing. Choosing the right method or combination of methods for a particular application requires understanding the characteristics of each. Tube producers also have a choice of feedstock: seamless or welded tube. Likewise, choosing the right one is a matter of understanding the differences.

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Is your cold pilger mill maintenance on schedule?

November 7, 2006

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Glen Stapleton relies on his experience in troubleshooting for more than 30 years to discuss the most pressing pilger mill maintenance issues—causes, cures, and tips to prevent breakdowns and get the machines up and running again when they do fail.

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Aluminum pipe pioneer streamlines tube mill welding

October 10, 2006

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When Hastings Irrigation Pipe Co., a manufacturer of aluminum pipe, needed to replace its decades-old welding power supplies, it looked for units that could weld a variety of thicknesses at fast welding speeds. What it found were power supplies that allowed the company to run its mills faster and save money in several ways.

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laboratory glass containers

Flushing out four-letter words: rust, dirt, and wear (Part III)

September 15, 2006

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Dirt, rust, and wear, cost tube producers and fabricators millions of dollars annually, and they can be the bane of tube processes. Analyzing the criteria for selecting the lubricants can help you select the best lubricant extend tool life and improve bends.

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Modern flying shear tube cutoff systems - Part II

August 8, 2006

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This article, Part II of a two-part series, discusses the different types of die set accelerators found in flying shear tube cutoff systems. It presents an overview of earlier accelerator technologies still in use today—cam link, assisted lift target, and air/oil units. It also discusses three common closed-loop die set accelerators that represent newer technology—hydraulic servo valve, servomotor belt, and servomotor rack and pinion.

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Opening the gate to efficiency

August 8, 2006

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Since 1945 family-owned and -operated Tarter Gate has grown in staff and sales as it has changed the design of its products. To keep up with sales, continue growing the company, and absorb as many rising costs as possible — particularly in steel and fuel prices — the company uses custom machines and new technologies to its advantage.

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Modern flying shear tube cutoff systems

August 8, 2006

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Modern flying shear tube cutoff systems comprise state-of-the-art mainframes, tools, and controllers. This article, Part I of a three-part series, discusses the different types of mainframes, their capabilities, and construction. It describes and includes images of the construction process from start to finish.

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How do you measure success?

July 11, 2006

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Contrary to common opinion, a high production rate is not the key to success in making tube. Attempting to low-ball the price — while cutting corners in maintenance and upgrades -- is a poor strategy in this industry. Columnist Bud Graham provides four production scenarios that compare various rates of capacity utilization and line speed and how these affect profitability.

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Introducing cold pilger mill technology

July 11, 2006

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The cold mill pilgering process uses ring dies and a tapered mandrel to reduce tube cross sections by up to 90 percent. Because the process relies on large number of small forming steps, the result is tube or pipe that has nearly homogenous material characteristics. It is suitable for every metal.

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The regrind process for tube mill tooling - Part II

June 13, 2006

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Although most tube and pipe producers don't get too involved in the regrind process, it is crucial—reconditioning roll tooling can extend its useful life by 15 or 20 times. The regrind process reduces the producer's overall out-of-pocket tooling expenses, while helping to ensure the tooling continues to produce a consistent-quality product at the required speeds. A better understanding of the process, especially familiarity with the types of flaws that reconditioning can and cannot resolve, can go a long way toward a better working relationship between a tube and pipe producer and its regrind contractor.

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