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Using laser velocimeters to improve tube and pipe production

February 4, 2015

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Accurate and reliable length and speed measurements are critical parameters that help tube and pipe producers increase yield, improve quality, and reduce production costs. The relentless improvement in electronic technology, accompanied by falling prices, have made laser-based measurement systems more capable and affordable than ever before.

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Developing a national, international bending standard for tube and pipe

January 23, 2015

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An update from an article that ran in the September 2013 TPJ, this column describes a research project intended to help eliminate trial-and-error setups, conserve programmers’ time, and help get products to market faster by helping everyone involved in a bending project home in on the optimal bending process before getting started.

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Using continuous plasma for cleaning, surface activation of tube, pipe

January 21, 2015

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When fabricators need to remove lubricants or corrosion inhibitors from tube or pipe, they have no shortage of choices, both mechanical and chemical. However, they have a third option: Thermal. The intense heat developed in a plasma cleaning processes makes greases, oils, and contaminants inert.

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Don’t buy it, bend it

January 21, 2015

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Bill Farris, owner of auto components supplier and repair shop Marden Tire & Auto, Rockford, Ill., focused on tires and repairs for many years, staying away from the inventory-heavy exhaust business. All that changed when King Cobra Muffler Centers Inc. approached him with a new way to handle exhaust systems: Stock straight pipe and bend systems when necessary.

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Producing stainless steel tubing for the medical industry

January 20, 2015

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Industry veteran Michael Ferreri provides an overview of the common methods of producing small-diameter stainless steel tubing for medical applications

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High-precision plasma system automates Chromalox’s cutting, beveling processes

December 17, 2014

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Chromalox, a manufacturer of industrial heating systems, relied on skilled workers do quite a few manual processes, especially cutting and beveling. As the supply of people with this skill slowly dried up, the company realized that it would need to invest in an automated system. It chose an Ultra-Cut 400 XT plasma power supply from Thermal Dynamics (Victor) and coupled it to a 6-axis CNC pipe-handling system from Watts Specialties Inc.

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Improving flying cutoff operations, mill productivity

December 16, 2014

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Tube and pipe production is a capital-intensive process, but paying close attention to the efficiency of some of the lowest-cost items, specifically the consumables, can yield big benefits in productivity. At the cutoff, proper blade choice and optimizing the cutting depth are important first steps, but it’s also necessary to diagnose saw problems and—most important of all—develop a blade replacement strategy that minimizes mill downtime.

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Boatbuilder switches from aluminum to steel

December 11, 2014

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Burger Boat Co. has weathered many a storm in its 150-year history, often changing direction to incorporate new technologies and adapt to changing market conditions. When the pleasure craft industry sank in 2009, it went after commercial work, and in the process had to develop a program for working in steel, which it hadn’t done in five decades or so. With the new process came new consumables from ESAB.

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Classes for the masses

November 5, 2014

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Frustrated by an OEM that always makes easy products complicated, uses unrealistic tolerances, or leaves out critical information? You’re in good company—every manufacturer experiences this type of thing once in a while. Superior Tube Products Inc., Davenport, Iowa, deals with this by providing classes that teach the finer points of bending tube and pipe.

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Strategic developments compress timelines, reduce costs for hydroforming

November 3, 2014

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Successful hydroforming isn’t just about the technology; often it’s about the strategy. A forward-thinking die development plan, global die standardization, and knowledge about forming materials other than mild steel are three components that can go a long way in making hydroforming a viable option.

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Putting the finish first

October 16, 2014

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R & B Wagner, Milwaukee, has had a primary role in the construction industry for more than 100 years. From its early days as a blacksmith shop, the company has grown to become a designer and manufacturer of handrail components and systems; a contract manufacturer for OEMs; and a first-rate finishing company, providing top-notch polishing services for other fabricators and manufacturers. Manufacturing Operations Manager Kane Behling and President Rick Kettler shared the company’s story with Editor Eric Lundin.

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P&ID software upgrades 2-D drawings, streamlines workflow

September 30, 2014

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Using 2-D software in a world that has transitioned to 3-D software can be a difficult task. When Cougar Fuel Systems looked for new software, it looked for a system that also would shorten its product design time and manage the many design and production tasks. It found a suitable system when it purchased Smap3D P&ID and Smap Piping from CAD Partner Products Inc.

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Aerospace parts manufacturer upgrades bending capability

September 8, 2014

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Bending tubular parts for the aerospace industry isn’t easy. OEMs continue to push the envelope, designing increasingly complex parts made from pricey materials. Fabricators are under continuous pressure to improve their capabilities, turn orders around faster, and minimize scrap. To that end, SL Engineering recently invested in a second all-electric bender from Unison.

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Custom bicycle manufacturer fabricates titanium, ferrous materials, aluminum to thrive in competitive market

September 4, 2014

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Firefly Bicycles, a 2011 start-up in the custom bicycle business, is thriving despite the sluggish economy and a competitive marketplace. The company’s three founders are using their previous work experience in bicycle fabrication and their enthusiasm for cycling to stay ahead of the competition.

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Exploring the versatility of laser vision systems

August 28, 2014

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For tube and pipe applications, laser vision systems are commonly used for seam tracking on the mill, but they are useful for many more applications—such as edge bevel measurement; strip width measurement and centering verification; mill process control; and coating control. For pipeline construction, they can verify the integrity of end face bevels and weld bead profile measurements.

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