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.
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.
July 15, 2008
Conventional tube bending data, regardless of format, is entered manually and therefore susceptible to errors. A modern approach involves using a CAD system to generate a STEP file, which the CAD program exports directly to the bending machine. This method is fast and eliminates errors. The drawback is that such a system requires additional database management efforts.
July 15, 2008
Verifying that tube was bent correctly is not as simple as it sounds. Bending specifications and tolerances aren't cut-and-dried, but are open to interpretation. The fabricator, the end user, and the check fixture designer might have three different perspectives on specifications and tolerances. Achieving a consensus is critical for designing and manufacturing a check fixture.
May 13, 2008
Fabricators have two broad choices in the bend tooling they select: standard or custom. Using standardized tooling provides cost-effective versatility. A well developed tooling inventory can accommodate nearly any bending job. On the other hand, custom tooling is designed for speed and efficiency. Customized tools make one part and one part only as fast as possible. The trade-offs boil down to time and money: standardized tooling requires more time to set up but costs less. With custom tooling, changeover is quick, but the tooling costs more.
April 15, 2008
In celebration of its 50th anniversary in April 2005, McDonald's® opened a 24,000-sq.-ft. restaurant in Chicago. The restaurant's most eye-catching feature is a pair of parabolic arches that stand 60 ft. high. Constructed from 20-in. by 12-in. tubes, the arches were curved by Chicago Metal Rolled Products, an OEM component subcontractor. Operating within a tight time frame, CMRP helped the structural steel fabricator and erector, Tefft Bridge & Iron LLC, by bending the tubes in multiple locations on longer sections to reduce the number of weld splices needed.
April 15, 2008
Embracing technology has given Microflex a firm foothold in the turbulent automotive marketplace.The Tier 2 supplier has garnered a reputation for advanced sheet metal forming, developing parts for exhaust, steering, and fuel system components. It has ISO 9001 and other quality certifications and has invested in software that will add traceability and cohesion throughout the automotive operation.
March 11, 2008
Setting up the tooling for a tube or pipe bending machine isn't as simple as it seems. Many variables are involved, making this a difficult task. A further complication is the tendency for many operators to adjust various pressure settings to compensate for poor tooling setup. The bend might turn out okay, but at a cost—a loss of process control and shortened tool life. Using a simple four-step setup process is the key to good bending, process control, and optimal tool life. This setup procedure also facilitates troubleshooting.
February 12, 2008
With the gap between new projects and available welders only expected to widen, welding companies have to make up the difference by utilizing machines that can compensate for the labor shortage and maximize the productivity of available welders. New developments in orbital welding technology are helping companies address these tasks. Today orbital welding equipment incorporates production monitoring and analysis capabilities and is designed to be simpler to use. In continuing to advance the technology, welding equipment suppliers probably will take more of an integrated approach, tackling projects using automation and machines that combine preparation and welding operations into a comprehensive tool.