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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Installed Grille Gaurd

Fabricator lassos an improved packing process

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.

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Automated processing flexible coax-system

Coax Facts

January 1, 2009 | By George Winton

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.

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The ins and outs of extrusion bending

December 12, 2008 | By George Winton

Extrusions can be tricky to bend and handle. Paying close attention tobender selection, die design, programming, and material handling can help to ensure efficient and productive bending.

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Fact or Friction?

December 4, 2008 | By Steve Lowery

The tube and pipe bending process is full of variables and options, all of which you must understand and manage successfully to make the end product.

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Teaching an old piercing mill new tricks

December 2, 2008 | By Albert Klimas

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.

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Waste not, want not

November 25, 2008 | By Lonnie McGrew

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.

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Serpentine Bender

Serpentine bending in production

November 25, 2008 | By George Winton

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.

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Tube bending image

The right stuff

September 30, 2008 | By William Q. Tingley III

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.

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BR Sculpture Company

Reflections on a perfectly symmetric ellipse

September 16, 2008 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Employees of The Wrench”

Two fabricators are better than one

August 26, 2008 | By Eric Lundin

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.

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Push pointed tubes

Tube prep for the drawing step

August 12, 2008 | By George A. Mitchell, Paul Russo

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.

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Ski Jump Whistler Nordic Center

Gold medal fabrication for Olympic ski jump

July 29, 2008 | By Tim Heston

Dynamic Structures has fabricated huge structures across North America. But this project--two ski jumps for the Vancouver 2010 games--was different.

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Bobsledder in action

Cool (pipe) runnings

July 29, 2008 | By Tim Heston

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 | By George Winton

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 | By Thomas Clark

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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