Selected articles from December 2007 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
Modernization has brought us many advancements, and two big advancements that fabricators must deal with are in technology and commerce. On the technology side, advancements have led to modern alloys; on the commerce side, we have increased globalization. Many modern ferrous alloys are harder to cut than carbon steel, and while the cutting is more difficult, globalization is increasing the competitive pressures and reducing the profit margins. Other advancements have modernized band saw blades, giving fabricators a fighting chance to stay profitable.
Determining whether a tube seam has a partial bond can be difficult with standard ultrasonic or eddy current techniques. However, multifrequency, probe-based eddy current equipment can detect poor-diffusion bonds in nonferrous materials. Using a penetrating field to reflect a signal off the planar structure of the weld works on ferrous materials.
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.
Vesco Metal Craft, a manufacturer of rugby wheelchairs, makes specialized wheelchairs from 6061 seamless aluminum tubing. This violent, collision-oriented sport causes cracks in the welds' heat-affected zone, so the company sought better manufacturing methods. It added heat-treating to its process and switched to an inverter-based welding unit that gives the company's welders advanced waveform control.
The high cost of stainless steel—especially the spikes caused by nickel surcharges—has caused many tube manufacturers' customers to look for alternative alloys. What can tube producers expect after switching from a 300-series stainless to a less expensive alloy? It depends on the new alloy and the production process.
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