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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Turning a machine shop into a fabrication shop

April 10, 2007

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Senior Editor Eric Lundin traces the history of a machine shop-turned-fabricator. Founded in 1984 as Target Boring, the company changed from a machining shop to a fabrication shop when, in 1994, it purchased its first sheet and plate laser cutting system. Now named Target Laser & Machining Inc., it boasts three lasers for sheet and plate (two 2-D machines and one multiaxis machine) and one for cutting tube.

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Automated tube bender

Reducing tube bending cycle times

March 13, 2007

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Because any multiple-step manufacturing process is only as fast as the slowest machine, fabricators interested in purchasing an automated tube bender might suddenly find his production line saddled with bottlenecks. It's necessary to analyze the entire production line and learn about the equipment that is available before automating the bending process.

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Tube bender diagram

Safeguarding tube benders with laser scanners

February 13, 2007

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Tube benders require safeguarding around the perimeter of the machine and area in front of the machine, where the tube is bent, and in the back where the tube is fed. Laser scanning devices offers several advantageous features. Because laser scanning is a noncontact method, it minimizes interference with the machine operation, and because the scanner mounts at the foot of the machine and out of the way of the tube bending action, it allows full access to the work area.

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Laser cutting

Fabricator finds tubular niche

November 7, 2006

Production Cutting Services was founded in 1985 as a machine shop to supply parts to agricultural equipment manufacturers in and around East Moline, Ill. It used saws and CNC machining centers to provide tubular parts, but later realized it needed to add more value. It purchased two lasers from Mazak Optonics Corp. It hasn't abandoned CNC machining, though. It uses the lasers to complement its other processes.

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Luminous aluminum makes light work

October 10, 2006

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Hapco Aluminum Pole Products, Abingdon, Va., fabricates aluminum light posts that must be beautiful while standing up to wind, and the forces of nature.

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Lasers loom larger in tube, pipe cutting

October 10, 2006

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Laser technology has a new, larger role in cutting tube and pipe. It's suitable not only for niche applications, but also for broader tube cutting applications such as cutoff.

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French tube fabricator meets volume increase with orbital welding

October 10, 2006

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CMI Enterprise is a 107-person fabricating shop located in the scenic region of Saint Sylvain D'Anjou, France, serving the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and chemical industries. CMI began experiencing growing pains. For the process equipment and heat exchanger projects, CMI selected orbital welding equipment from Polysoude [U.S. division is Astro Arc Polysoude Inc.]. to increase productivity rates. A welder can make more welds per day because the weld presents a regular geometry without overlay, and requires no secondary operations, such as grinding or cleaning.

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Flushing out four-letter words: rust, dirt, and wear - TheFabricator

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

October 10, 2006

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Rust, wear, and dirt cost tube fabricators and producers millions of dollars annually, and they can be the bane of tube processes. Analyzing the criteria for selecting the lubricant, cleaner, and rust preventative can help provide maximum protection.

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Selecting a tube end forming method

September 12, 2006

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Fabricators that need to do end forming have many choices. Even after narrowing the process down to using a ram or segmented tooling, choices abound-the tooling can form the ID, the OD, or both; and operation can be manual or CNC. Understanding the processes and their capabilities are the keys to choosing the best one for the application.

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Bridging the challenges

September 12, 2006

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A good design doesn't guarantee challenge-free fabrication in the bridge industry, as one fabricator found out. Despite material availability obstacles, stringent welding requirements, and massive pipe cutting needs, Stinger Welding and the design team it worked with pulled off a winning pipe bridge design in six months.

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FMA member custom-builds motorcycle for Foundation auction

August 8, 2006

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Medalist Laserfab Inc., Oshkosh, Wis., is building a custom motorcycle for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl.® (FMA) Foundation's charitable auction, which will help the Foundation encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing. This article explains how you can view the progress of the build, donate items for the auction, and participate in the bidding.

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Cutting tube saw costs

July 11, 2006

Today metal tube sawing technology is light-years ahead of where it was just five years ago. Sawing machine and saw blade advancements—Special-purpose CNC tube-sawing machines, Dynamic ball-screw feed systems, Automatic Blade-changing, Carbide-tipped blades, blade coatings, Thin-kerf Blades, segmented saw Blades, optimize tube cutting.

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Tube and pipe bending trends

July 11, 2006

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Interviews with several tube-bending equipment-makers reveal that tube bending is becoming more complex every day, for a number of reasons. Manufacturers try to decrease material usage and go to stronger, difficult-to-bend materials with thinner walls; many manufactured items are smaller than ever before; and bends have to be smoother, especially in exhaust systems. Meanwhile, fabricators are split into two camps: High-volume OEM that are increasingly dependent on advanced controls and flexible workcells, and job shops that still get by on less sophisticated, manually operated equipment.

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

June 13, 2006

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A tubular assembly is cleaned in an Alliance Aquamaster CD-3000 rotary-drum cleaning system with wash and heated blowoff. The drum is constructed of stainless steel and includes spiral flights and part "kicker" bars. Photo courtesy of Alliance Manufacturing Inc., Fond du Lac, Wis....

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Not a one-stock shop

June 13, 2006

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After years of working in fabricating and machining, Shawn McFadden struck out on his own to start a fabrication shop, which later evolved into a custom motorcycle shop. He doesn’t use the latest CNC machines with digital readouts and other state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. He uses manually controlled machines and ingenuity.

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