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Home / Tube & Pipe Fabrication Equipment

Tube & Pipe Fabrication Equipment

Here is some of the latest equipment now available to help shops cut their operating costs and monitor their tube and pipe fabrication process better than ever.

This groove contour on a hose connection is an example of rolling tube forming by Transfluid that efficiently masters the demanding challenges of increasingly complex geometry in ever stronger materials that are used for progressively light designs.
The SRM 622 tube forming machine from Transfluid uses a servo-electric drive to create almost freely formed geometries. It is ideal for forming tubes that have already been axially preformed, if sharp edged contours need to be created for sealing elements, or if perfect surfaces are required.
From soldering part to compressed part: note the fit here for this sealing ring with a mechanically fixed flange. A closed rolling head is used by Transfluid for demanding forms on high-strength materials. Highly complex geometries are formed directly on a tube/flange connection without space in the axial direction by using three rollers in an open structure. Threads can be rolled or edge designs added with the same roller head and corresponding rollers, with or without forming, depending on the application. Bent components can be trimmed without cutting, almost without burrs.
The REB 645-5 SRM 622 t-form combination machine from Transfluid efficient processes features five axial forming steps and one roll forming unit for tube forming.
Combination forming machines from Transfluid process all types of material reliably.
Combination forming machines from Transfluid process all types of material reliably, including the cost-effective swaging of ball heads (shown here).
Right/left pipe bending machines such as this t-bend DB 630-CNC from Transfluid offer more bending options with extremely short cycle times for pipe up to 30 mm. Changing from one bending direction to another can be completed in 2.5 seconds. It is possible to equip each bending head with up to three tool levels.
The t-bend DB 642-CNC-RL with rotating head from Transfluid efficiently bends larger pipe diameters from 30 mm up to 90 mm right or left.
With an efficient combination of tube cutting, forming (see close-up of forming units nearby), and bending, the t-motion automated cell from Transfluid creates a finished and reliable short elbow tube connector from a coil of tubing in six seconds with extremely short straight lengths after bending and forming. (first view)
With an efficient combination of tube cutting, forming (see close-up of forming units shown here), and bending, the t-motion automated cell from Transfluid creates a finished and reliable short elbow tube connector from a coil of tubing in six seconds with extremely short straight lengths after bending and forming. (second view)
Different tube connectors produced with the t-motion automated cell from Transfluid are used in car radiators and air conditioning. (first view)
Different tube connectors produced with the t-motion automated cell from Transfluid are used in car radiators and air conditioning. (second view)
To administer and document pipe processing in a secure manner, t-project software from Transfluid can convert isometrics into bending data that the pipe-bending machine can utilize directly. Correction values and overbending values are automatically calculated. The software calculates the sawing length in accordance with isometrics and material-specific data. To perform a simple, manual check on a bent part, the operator is provided with a measurement of the diagonal from the beginning to the end of the pipe.
The t-project Draft mobile tablet version software from Transfluid makes it possible to measure and enter pipes isometrically on a construction site, then send the data directly to the production department by e-mail, where fabrication can start right away while further pipe isometrics are collected at the site.
The compact all electric 4-Runner multi-function CNC tube bending machine from BLM Group consolidates four separate fabrication steps into one continuous process that is ideal for a variety of HVAC applications. The machine can be configured as a dedicated tube bender for a specific production application or a complete process that includes straightening from coil, bending, end-forming and cut off.
The BC80 from BLM Group is an integrated CNC end machining center for completely automated 24-hour production of tube and bar processing up to 3.15 in diameter and lengths from 0.4 in to 13 in. The first stage of the machine cuts the tube or bar to length, the second is for chamfering and facing, and the third is for boring, tapping or measuring.
Ideal for short runs as well as high-volume production, the E-Flex from BLM Group is an automatic single head, all electric CNC wire bending machine for simple to very complex three-dimensional bending of wire during one part operation, within the same machining cycle. (first view)
Ideal for short runs as well as high-volume production, the E-Flex from BLM Group is an automatic single head, all electric CNC wire bending machine for simple to very complex three-dimensional bending of wire during one part operation, within the same machining cycle. (second view)
The LC5 tube and sheet processing system from BLM Group provides a single fiber laser source up to 4.5 kW and single cutting head capable of switching from tube to flat sheet processing, all in one machine. This is the only high production machine with automatic loading and unloading that can process both tube and flat sheet, providing the flexibility fabricators need to expand their laser processing capability.
Horn Machine Tools offers all electric CNC benders from 2 in to 10 in capacity that can include “Quad Stack” design for mounting up to four sets of full size bend tools at once for the flexibility to switch between sizes rapidly or allow for greater capability to bend complex shapes. These machines can be equipped with a shearing device and load/unload automation for continuous production.
Ideal for the construction site, the mobile VOSSForm 100 Compact bench forming machine from VOSS Fluid GmbH shapes a contour on hydraulic tubes that, in combination with a soft seal and function nuts, results in extremely leak-proof and process-reliable tube connections that are ideal for steel and stainless steel tubes from 6 mm to 42 mm OD.
The semi-manual action of the EvBend 2000 rotary-draw tube bending machine from Unison substantially lowers the cost and skill level required to produce small volumes of precision bent tube diameters up to 2 in used in shipbuilding applications and equipment for oil, gas and other processing sectors. (first view)
The semi-manual action of the EvBend 2000 rotary-draw tube bending machine from Unison substantially lowers the cost and skill level required to produce small volumes of precision bent tube diameters up to 2 in used in shipbuilding applications and equipment for oil, gas and other processing sectors. (second view)
Ideal for reducing the time and cost involved in setting up bending machines, the TubeInspect P16 from AICON 3D is equipped with 16 high-resolution cameras using GigE technology and a large 2,600 mm x 1,250 mm x 700 mm measurement area for inspecting midsize and long tubes and wires up to 2,500 mm long in less than 10 seconds. Tubes up to 7 m long can be measured by repositioning in several steps that are linked automatically. (first view)
Ideal for reducing the time and cost involved in setting up bending machines, the TubeInspect P16 from AICON 3D is equipped with 16 high-resolution cameras using GigE technology and a large 2,600 mm x 1,250 mm x 700 mm measurement area for inspecting midsize and long tubes and wires up to 2,500 mm long in less than 10 seconds. Tubes up to 7 m long can be measured by repositioning in several steps that are linked automatically. (second view)
The Tube Drawing System from Sonobond Ultrasonics produces a superior internal surface finish in fine metal tubing that is an essential requirement for medical devices and tubing products used in various industries to transport critical fluids. In fact, surface finishes on the ID of the tube can be improved to RMS values of 8 or better micro-inches.
Tube Drawing components from Sonobond Ultrasonics include a transducer, tapered coupler, back support rod, and a die or plug. This tube drawing operation can reduce friction and the draw force by up to 35 percent, eliminate sticking and slipping (known as “chatter”), and increase draw speed by as much as 400 percent over conventional draw systems.
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Tube and pipe fabrication continues to advance forward with improved and streamlined processes, less power use, less staff necessary to operation machinery, and less use of steel required to make parts. Here is some of the latest equipment now available to help shops cut their operating costs and monitor their tube and pipe fabrication process even better.

COMPLEX FORMS WITH MINIMAL TOOLING COSTS
The demands for tube processing are increasing as geometry becomes increasingly complex and materials become ever stronger in connection with progressively light design. At the same time there are louder and louder calls for fabrication efficiency across all market sectors. To meet these demands, rolling tube forming by Transfluid Maschinenbau GmbH (Schmallenberg, Germany) opens special opportunities for forming that reduce the use of tools to a minimum. Rolling technology always displays its unique strengths most clearly if the forming is done on tubes that have already been axially preformed, if sharp edged contours need to be created for sealing elements, or if perfect surfaces are required.

For tool-independent tube forming that creates almost freely formed geometries, t-form bead rolling machines for tube processing systems from Transfluid use a servo-electric drive and, if required, an easily operated CNC control system that allows the functions of different axes to be moved in an overlapping fashion. All parameter settings are stored to eliminate complex adjustments and save valuable time. The forming process is possible both from outside to inside and from inside to outside. Rolling tube forming can form completely different geometries with a single tool, a clamping jaw and the rolling head. Tool wear is almost totally ruled out in the rolling process, and the lubricants that are necessary in the forming process can be reduced to a minimum.

A closed rolling head with completely supported rollers is used if very demanding forming is necessary on high-strength materials. The forming of highly complex geometries without space in the axial direction is carried out using three rollers that are included in an open structure so the roller geometry can be performed directly on a tube/flange connection. It is also possible to roll threads or add edge designs with the same roller head and its corresponding rollers, with or without forming, depending on application requirements. Trimming of already bent components can be realized by rolling tube forming without cutting and almost without burrs.

If complex geometries must be formed with little length to clamp then the roller head can separate the rolling process across two rollers that act as a clamp. One roller is positioned as a support on the inside or outside of the tube while the counter roller delivers the form. This type of inner-supported forming roller can be used to form an internal tube diameter of 12 mm, and very different tool pairings can be used to form and separate simultaneously. The extremely low loads transferred to the tube during the rolling process create an excellent surface quality without using a cost-intensive form clamping piece on tubes that have already been bent.

If the rolling tube forming process reaches its limits then pre-compressed tubes can be used in the rolling process or the rolling machine itself can be combined directly with a compressing machine. “Combination machines safely and reliably extend tube forming process limits by forming geometries that offer distinct economic advantages,” explains Stefanie Flaeper, the managing director at Transfluid. “They produce forms with absolute processing and functional reliability. For example, forming geometries with O-rings are of particular significance in many components used in the automobile industry. Geometries which include a flange for fitting at a later stage are often needed.”

Forms of this type are ideally created using machines capable of both swaging and rolling. Specially developed combination systems automatically feed such external components during swaging as needed, accurately positioning and fastening them. This process also creates a “pre-form” which may be required for any downstream rolling. Rolling produces the final geometry, creating perfect surfaces for optimal application. “The tolerances are comparable with those produced during machining,” notes Flaeper. Since extreme precision is required especially during rolling, the rolling head is CNC controlled and freely programmable in all axes of movement, including overlap. Combination machines reliably and effectively process all types of material, even large diameter tubes. For smaller tube sizes these systems are energy-efficient, with extremely accurate servomotor drives.

Transfluid also developed special right/left bending t-bend technology for collision-free pipe bending. When it comes to pipe bending, precision is everything. The use of the right bending technology is becoming increasingly important, particularly for challenging requirements where installation space and system positioning can restrict the ideal conditions needed for forming pipes. In many cases, neither a right nor a left bending machine can produce the required geometry of the pipe bends without colliding with the machine frame. To address this, two effective right/left bending machines have been developed for different pipe diameters.

“For small pipes with diameters less than 30 mm, we offer a t-bend machine with two individually adjustable heads,” says Flaeper. “The adjustable heads allow both right and left hand bending operations. The right bending head is still-standing and the left bending head is suspended. This design principle is very effective for small pipe diameters because the operation time is extremely short. Changing from one bending direction to another can be completed in 2.5 seconds.” It is also possible to equip each bending head with up to three tool levels.

The second bending machine efficiently bends larger pipe dimensions right or left on one rotating head in an extremely dynamic system designed for larger pipe diameters from 30 mm up to 90 mm. This same design is used for pipe diameters less than 30 mm since all shafts are servo-electrically driven, with two tool levels on each bending head as standard.

To free-form large radii, both machine versions can be equipped with a corresponding system. The use of loading magazines, automatic handling systems and robot-assisted production methods are becoming an integral part of modern bending technology. Using the greater dynamism and flexibility of t-bend technology, bending processes can be implemented smoothly and effectively, despite difficult installation space requirements.

Tube connections that must stand up to highly dynamic loads in automobile manufacturing must be robust, durable, clean, and demonstrate long-term sealing. Transfluid has developed a t-motion automated cell that creates a finished short elbow tube connector from a coil of tubing in six seconds with extremely short straight lengths after bending and forming. These special connections are used in car radiators and air conditioning.

This special manufacturing cell handles the coil directly. In the first stage, tubing in a diameter range from 8 mm to 22 mm is unwound, aligned and cut. Orbital chip-less cutting can be performed on tubes down to a minimum length of 34 mm. Because cutting is clean, the possibility of contamination is excluded to allow immediate subsequent processing. After the cutting process, the tube ends (where the hose is connected) are compressed in a transfer line. A subsequent component of the line then rolls and polishes the surface. This rolling technology allows for short clamping lengths and the forming of practically any geometry.

After the axial and rotary end forming process, the t-motion cell automatically bends 80 percent of the parts by 40 deg to 120 deg. The benefit of this process is that extremely short parts can be formed and bent on both sides with practically no straight sections. “The clear challenge is meeting high quality requirements with a time-efficient manufacturing process,” states Flaeper. “This system ensures that tube deformation is ruled out throughout the entire process and that the surface and any previous tube forming operations are preserved.” A cycle time of six seconds makes this high-quality production method an economical solution, especially for short parts.

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