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.
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.
December 11, 2007
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.
November 6, 2007
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.
September 11, 2007
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.
August 8, 2007
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.
July 10, 2007
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.
July 10, 2007
Anodizing combines with nature to create one of the world's best metal finishes. It is the process of electrochemically controlling, accelerating, and enhancing oxidation of an aluminum tube, creating a durable, scratch-resistant coating on the surface comparable to a sapphire. Architectural anodize finishes are limited to certain colors, and it is impossible to produce a perfect color match. Perform as much bending and forming as possible before finishing.