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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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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The wiper die's feathered edge

June 13, 2006

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The mechanical aspects of rotary draw tube bending haven't changed since modern tooling was developed 50 years ago. Likewise, the role of the tooling (mandrel, pressure die, bend die, and wiper die) hasn't changed. However, tube fabricators these days have many choices in regard to the tooling, especially wiper dies. Choices include material, rake angle, and whether the wiper die's feathered edge is fully machined or honed by hand.

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Hitting pay dirt -- in pipe

May 9, 2006

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Fabricating and repairing pipe in the oil-rich tar sands of Alberta, Canada, is an enormous, ongoing project that requires specialized equipment to meet a variety of challenges. John Page is a consultant in Canada who has been working on several of these projects and has learned what's needed to get the jobs done.

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When a good tube bends bad - Part II

April 11, 2006

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Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part article that examines tube bending defects, possible causes, and suggested remedies. Part I discusses surface defects; Part II covers other defects, such as wall thinning, ovality, buckling, and fractures. When the stress on the...

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Home-court advantage

April 11, 2006

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A company bid and won a contract from a company who was previously sending its work to Mexico. The company bought a computer-controlled pipe cutting machine to automate the process and cut lead times.

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When a good tube bends bad

April 11, 2006

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Have you ever started with what you thought was a good tube, ended with a bad bend, and wondered where you took a wrong turn? Correcting for defects requires some detective work, and an understanding of the bending process. This article examines tube defects and offers fixes.

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When a good tube bends bad - Part I

March 7, 2006

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Have you ever started with what you thought was a good tube, ended with a bad bend, and wondered where you took a wrong turn?

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Understanding how rotary tube and pipe cutting works

March 7, 2006

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Innovations and new developments in rotary tube and pipe cutting, such as high-speed cutting, minimal heat generation, special holding collets, and automatic loading, trim and sorting have reduced or eliminated time required for secondary operation, improved efficiency, and reduced costs.

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6 steps to successful brazing

March 7, 2006

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Although capillary action basically is the magic behind ensuring proper filler metal distribution into a joint, six basic steps also are necessary to make sure that the design and engineering of the joint helps lead to a good brazed joint.

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Imagination fabrication

February 7, 2006

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BCI Burke, Fond du Lac, Wis., is the oldest playground and park and recreation equipment manufacturer in the country. As the company grew and its product offerings and colors multiplied, it found it needed to address problems with long leadtimes. Burke looked at every possibility for improvement, including processes improvements, inventory organization, manufacturing equipment purchases, and personnel productivity improvements, including crosstraining.

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Cutting to the chase - integrating secondary operations

January 10, 2006

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Tube cut-off machines have evolved to integrate end forming and bending capabilities that normally are considered secondary operations. The suitability of a cutting method to be integrated inline with end forming and bending depends on each cutting method’s characteristics and the bending and end forming requirements.

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Meeting the challenges of modern architecture

December 13, 2005

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Today's architects develop designs and concepts that push past the boundaries of yesterday. Fabricators are faced with a sometimes daunting challenge to make unusual components to assist architects in completing unusual buildings, to the extent that they sometimes have to rely on themselves to develop new equipment and processes.

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Tube-bend tooling: square-back wiper dies or wiper inserts?

November 8, 2005

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Wiper dies are a fundamental requirement in modern tube bending applications in which tubes are bent at increasingly tight bend radii with increasingly thinner wall thicknesses. The design of the wiper die plays a key role in its performance and durability, as does its manufacturing method and the material from which it has been constructed.

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