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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Custom or standard?

May 13, 2008 | By Seth Cook

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 | By Michael Bishop

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 | By Tim Heston

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 | By Dan Davis

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 | By William Q. Tingley III

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 | By Michael Bishop

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 | By Sabine Neff

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 | By Herb Friedrich

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 | By Jeff Arendas

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 | By Steven Rainwater

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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8 FAQs about orbital FCAW

August 8, 2007 | By John Emmerson

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 | By Sabine Neff

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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Anodizing process

Top five questions about anodizing architectural tube

July 10, 2007 | By Tammy Schroeder

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.

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Tube unloader

Tube fabricator, machine tool builder automates to accelerate

June 12, 2007 | By Dan Davis

Stealth Manufacturing Inc., Savage, Minn., is a tube fabricator, and machine tool builder that automated its tube punching, laser cutting, and material handling to improve the efficiency of manufacturing its gas heater tubes and other tubular products.

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Rotary cutting blades

4 Troubleshooting tips for rotary cutting made easy

June 12, 2007 | By Susan DeJesus

Following four specific guidelines for operating the rotary cutoff machine can help you avoid making simple mistakes in setup and operation that can cause downtime.

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