March 9, 2009
Electricity demand grew an average of 15,000 megawatts per year from 1995 to 2006, and this trend will undoubtedly continue. The Energy Information Administration predicts that meeting future demands will require the equivalent of more than 20 new 500-MW power plants per year over the next 20 years or so. A critical component in power plant construction is titanium tubing, which is favored for its high strength and corrosion resistance.
February 10, 2009
Ranch Hand Truck Accessories was established in the area in 1986 to produce truck grille guards, a product that still comprises a majority of the company's sales. A 25 percent increase in production of its grille guards and front bumper replacements led to the need for a faster, more efficient, and more protective way of packaging its products.
January 1, 2009
Continuous improvement and statistical process control are useful,time-tested techniques—they have been used since the 1950s—buttheir use must be tailored to specific applications. For example, atypical manufacturing metric is parts per minute, but many rollformers should measure feet per minute. This and other tips can helproll formers accurately evaluate their productivity and measure theimpact of process improvements.
December 2, 2008
Many seamless tube producers in North America use cross-roll piercing mills built in the 1950s that were based on designs from the1930s. While it would be advantageous to replace such aged equipment, that isn't always necessary. A minor equipment upgrade can do wonders. Improving the bar steadiers—the devices that hold the mandrel the steady as the pipe exits the mill—can greatly improve the mill's output and reduce the pipe's wall thickness variation.
November 25, 2008
For many bending applications, it is common practice to determine the necessary length of tube, run a few samples, make some minor adjustments, and then start production runs. The problem is that the initial evaluation may have been based on safe, by-the-book estimates and calculations. Re-evaluating a bending project might yield substantial material savings.
November 25, 2008
Bending serpentine profiles—successive 180-degree bends, which typically are used in refrigeration systems—can be a challenge. By their nature, they tend to cause interference among the various bend dies, and they can be difficult to handle. Good planning in selecting a bender, planning the process, and paying close attention to infeed and outfeed options, can help make a serpentine project successful.
September 30, 2008
The best material for a tube bending tool is the most cost-effective in terms of the ratio of tool life to tool cost. A cost-effective tool tends to wear out rather than break at the end of its service life. This article addresses choosing the optimal material for a rotary die tube bending machine's full toolkit.
September 16, 2008
Sculptor and fabricator Brett Richards of BR Sculpture, Chicago, got a contract to make a frame for an oval mirror—a length of square tubing bent to a perfect ellipse. Not knowing too much about the vagaries of bending tube, he figured he'd spend a few thousand dollars on a simple bender. After searching for months, he happened to see an elliptical shape made from square tubing in a vendor's booth at FABTECH.
August 26, 2008
Motorcycle popularity has grown substantially in recent years, and many small shops that produce custom-made and limited-production motorcycles have sprung up. Two such shop owners, Brad Ruel of The Wrench and Mark Evans of Diablo Chop Shop, took it one step further and joined forces to combine their experience in designing and manufacturing semifinished (kit) motorcycles, completed bikes, and a substantial line of aftermarket parts.
August 12, 2008
Pointing, sometimes called tagging or swaging, is a process that reduces a tube's end to permit it to pass through a draw die for a drawing operation. After the tube end goes through the draw die, gripper jaws converge on the point to begin the draw operation. Push pointing is accomplished by gripping a tube and advancing pointing dies over the end, resulting in a reduced end diameter.