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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Bobsledder in action

Cool (pipe) runnings

July 29, 2008

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A pipe fabricator finds a new way to fabricate and assemble a bobsled run for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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CAD system CNC tube bending

From the CAD station to the production floor

July 15, 2008

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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.

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Full contour fixture tube fabrication

Will your tube pass a dimensional inspection?

July 15, 2008

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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.

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Custom or standard?

May 13, 2008

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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.

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McDonald's Arches

Curving out a niche

April 15, 2008

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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.

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Automotive industrial

Automotive and industrial: A tale of two businesses

April 15, 2008

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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.

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Laser cut tube parts

Machine shop sees the (laser) light

March 11, 2008

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MG Products Inc., Elkhart, Ind., successfully made the transition from a machine shop to a full-scale tube fabricator thanks to the investment in a laser tube cutter.

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Setup or cover-up?

March 11, 2008

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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.

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orbital welding

Welding more with less

February 12, 2008

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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.

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Tube bending machine

Understanding benders and bender applications

December 11, 2007

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If you bend tube for a living, you have many choices when it comes to buying a new piece of bending equipment. Understanding how bending demands have changed over the decades and how bender manufacturers have responded are two key components in selecting the optimal bender for your particular application.

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End Forming Stainless Steels

End forming stainless steels

November 6, 2007

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Successful end-forming requires much more than designing the tooling and selecting a machine. Fabricators have many choices in tooling (substrate, temper, and coating) and in the end forming machine design. Investigating all the options is necessary for creating an efficient setup.

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Laser cutting figure a

Designing for laser cutting

October 23, 2007

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Designing for the laser cutting process optimizes what tube fabricators can achieve.

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Automatic lubrication application

Better lubricant control leads to better mandrel bends

September 11, 2007

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In an effort to reduce the need for cleaning bent tube, fabricator R & B Wagner analyzed its operations and decided to change from manual lubricant application to an automated system. The result was that its lubricant consumption dropped 70 percent. So little lubricant was left on the bent parts that the company eliminated the cleaning step.

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FCAW

8 FAQs about orbital FCAW

August 8, 2007

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Mechanized pipe GTAW was first introduced about 50 years ago for nuclear power plants, and then for steam-generation components and process piping. Orbital FCAW was developed to overcome the limitations of orbital GTAW for large-diameter, heavy-wall pipe. With orbital FCAW, deposition rates of 8 lbs./hr. are achievable. Just as a power saw is a tool for a carpenter, orbital welding systems are a productivity tool for the welder that empower him or her to weld faster and more accurately.

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Tube bending

Constant radius or variable radius?

July 10, 2007

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While rotary draw bending is the mainstay of the tube bending industry, variable-radius bending is making some headway. Variable-radius bending offers many advantages, primarily more sophisticated bends and faster cycle times. However, it has limitations, too. A main one is that an initial bend must be a minimum of approximately 15 degrees.

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