Tube bending tools engineering

2017.06.25

Tube bending for lot of people seems to be a very easy job. That is why there are a lot of discussions when the case is to sell the modern and high technology tube bending machine. Manufacturer tries to explain what all the options for, what are the problems and why finally the machine cost so high! Sure thing all the things are clear enough for the people in really productivity industries like automotive. But when the story is for other applications…

Tube bending tools could be quite expensive as well. Mainly there are two main principles – main sizes and complexity of development and production. Any even simple tools for big diameters for oil and gas lines, shipbuilding etc. when the diameters are nearly hundred and more cost lot of money. For small diameters the cost could be for complicated tools with the special surfaces, short clamping parts for tight block of the tube, multi-stack tools with several radiuses on one tool to work with different planes…

Moreover the responsibility is high! There are no unification and standardization; tooling is only for the specific machine and specific job to do. Even sizes of the tools are different – all manufacturers have their own connections to tie the customer with the future tooling supplies. And for bending tools there is only one result – to bend the tube with proper requirements. Yes, a lot of depends on the machine and the operator skills for setup but tool is main and general part you can’t ignore.

Complicated tube bending tools are really look impressive. And the jobs with them are the really wonderful view to explain for potential customers all the possibilities and functions. A sure thing, a lot of depends of the costs but if you run the machine for half of million USD with the thousands of parts for daily production you can’t ignore the quality tools. Otherwise why do you purchase the machine?

Advertisements

Why and what for we write?

2017.06.24

There are so many industrial journals and a lot of information in the Internet, what is the reason to make one more blog with general info? It is true. Anyway we will continue and would like to fulfill the task step by step to explain more about technologies, metal working machines and Italy as the main part of it.

There are no specific technical information or detailed things about the technologies which you can get from the manufacturers and public articles. We are not looking for our target to ask people to make any decision but to provide the interesting blog line to scroll down with morning coffee. No ads and not a lot of information, just small notes and articles about metalworking world.

Sure thing we will write also about us but will share our view to other fields as well. If you want to make small note about your workshop, production or machinery – you are also welcome, we will be glad to make it with your source link and publish with our source. Of course free of charge, just for general information cloud. Stay tuned!

Profile bending machine

2017.06.23

When you should need at and can replace standard tube bending? Profile bending machine or section bender or “3 rolls tube bending machine” is the machine to use principle of driven rollers and the force of the middle roller to form the bend. But we will not talk about the technology so we will talk when you can use it…

Main restrictions of the possibilities are small radius bends. So to form radius with 3 or better 5 diameters of tube is not the problem but with tight radiuses – forget about this type of the machinery. So it is not the machine for industrial pipelines or connections but the good machine for design and architecture, spirals and some outdoor products, greenhouses tubes.

The investments could be very low for small machinery. Machines are very simple, with mass market and a lot of manufacturers it the world so if you do not have really special product (for example to make the cabin profile with different radiuses in one cycle) you can easily find the machine with your budget and necessities. Do not ask a lot of this type of the machinery but know that real CNC versions could be very interesting to change radius. Some German and Swiss companies offer the precise versions – with more hard price but to make more precise parts for the field, for example for boat railing where pair of tubes needs to be really mirrored without any difference.

Every time note that profile bending machines has the specialization for the profiles. It is very complicated to deal with bar or beam with tube bending machine so profile bender is only choice for this kind of applications. The machine possibilities are calculated for the bending of solids and not the hollow pieces.

Some economy about Italian machine tools

2017.06.22

Based on sources of Gardner Business Media and UCIMU Industrial association

Do you know how industrial is Italy? Let us see it in figures:

According to 2015 global metalworking machine tool consumption was USD 79,1 billion with the big down of 11,8% than it was in 2014. The full global Europe consumed USD 21,1 billion of machine tools. Italian industry is on the 6th place in global world consumers (after China, USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea) and on the 2nd in Europe (after Germany). In figures Italy consumed USD 3,136 billion with the increase of 9,4% than 2014. For 2016 global machine tool consumption stays at USD 79,9 billion which is nearly the same. Italy also takes 6th place for the year.

According to 2015 Italy stays at 6th position in global world of machine tools import with main import value USD 1,470  billion which is 47% of main consumption (First 5 places in world for import – China, USA, Germany, Mexico, Russia).

According to 2015 Italy stays at 4th place in the world for machine tools production (USD 5,797 billion) and 2nd in Europe after Germany. At first three places of top producers are China, Japan, Germany.

Export of machine tools in Italy is 3d place of global world (after Germany and Japan) with export value of USD 3,641 billion. Main consumers of “Made in Italy” machinery are Germany, USA, China, France and Poland.

In year 2017 different economic analysts expect the small but stable grow with the consumption inside Italy, production rise and the export value. Let us wait and see!

Waterjet cutting

2017.06.21

There are a lot of talking what are the differences, advantages and disadvantages of different cutting technologies. Unfortunately, even sales managers of manufacturers companies do not have all the information and try to offer for the potential customer the machine he doesn’t need.

Waterjet is the technology to cut the materials with the water flow (for very soft materials) or water with the sand (which is normally common for the most applications). For waterjet possibilities there are no any differences with the materials – it could cut mostly all from plastic and resin till the hard metals.

Normally the use of waterjet cutting machine for classic sheet metal fabrication is very low. There are some applications and industries where you can’t work without the waterjet, for example to cut granite for indoor use. What are the main advantages? The first and important for some industries like aerospace that waterjet cutting doesn’t affect any material heating and change of the structure even for cutting edge. So this is the main difference between laser and plasma cutting. Second is the big thickness of materials with the clean and precise cutting edge. Imagine what does it mean to cut 50-100 mm thickness with the plasma and how big will be the burrs after melted metal. Moreover because of the technology there are no limits for metals, like, for example the situation with CO2 laser cutting when the degree of reflection for non-ferrous alloys is very high.

Not the main but important – with waterjet you can cut several sheets to put as the package. For sure as for the thickness of cutting you should consult with the manufacturer but sometimes it is the possibility to make the speed boost for the production. Moreover lots of waterjet cutting machines offer the swiveled cutting which means the cutting of tilted head for desired degrees.

Disadvantages? The main one is the speed because the waterjet cutting is incredibly slow. For this reason waterjet can’t be the competitive solution for thin materials and standard sheet metal fabrication workshop. If you do not have any special applications there are no reasons to study waterjet technology because it is for other things. Moreover you should consider about the maintenance because, for example, waterjet is very sensitive for water quality so you should be prepared for special installations to use it.

Offline software and tools

2017.06.20

Why you need any additional software, pay money for it if you have the same in your CNC control? The answer is simple enough – besides operator there could be other people who need to work with bending technology. All manufacturers of CNC machines normally have the software as offline package to install at different place for preparation of programs for the machine. It could be necessary first of all for engineers to develop and project the part and to leave to the operator the standard work to control the machine. For small companies engineer and the operator could be the same person but if there is the engineers department usually there are different people with different work tasks. Moreover on the market there are independent software manufacturers to offer independent software packages for the most common machinery. For example, for press brake market there are around 5 manufacturers to sell the software with nearly the same possibilities.

At first as we said the software is great to offer the programs preparation outside of the machine. At second software can increase the possibilities of the machine as well, for example to make 3D simulation of press brake bending if it is CNC control only with 2D visualization possibilities. Or to perform auto-nesting (optimization of parts position on the sheet metal to reduce the percentage of waste part) for CNC cutting machine – laser, plasma or waterjet. At third somebody could require some separate functions, for example to go to the tool library to verify the availability of necessary tooling for the new order.

It is also clear that outside of operator and engineer there are other staff to check the production flow, machine status control and availability of production for the order. Even sales manager should know how to calculate, for example tonnage for the press brake in production to understand if it will be enough to perform the order. Sure thing in future with the grow of Industry 4.0 of these questions will be fully integrated – customer will get the information about the machine, if the tooling is necessary the order will automatically go to the purchase department and software will allow to run immediate production of possible and the drawing doesn’t need the intervention of the engineer. But today all the actions are separated and to realize them all in the most convenient way – is the task for software to present all necessary functions for necessary departments. Today mostly offline software is the engineering software to make the program but it is sure that tomorrow the winner of the competition will be the manufacturer who will implement inside more and more necessary management and production flow functionality.

For what do you need the punching products?

2017.06.19

Usually all are interested what is the application for this or this technology. Let us talk about punching… Very small explanation – punching is a process of metal fabrication with the use of punch which goes with the necessary force inside the part to perform the cutting. As you can understand punch has the geometry of hole so the hole will be the same as the punch. The force to perform the punching called punching force or necessary punching force if you want to calculate what tonnage you need for your task.

We speak about sheet metal punching as the main process but there are more similar processes: tube or profile punching, structural parts punching etc. Punching is performed for sheet metal with the use of punching press which could be general just as the unit to perform the hit of punch and low positioning of die, stamping press which is usually the part of forming process or coordinate punching press – press with the table where the part of sheet metal will be positioned where it is necessary to make the punching.

Punching press is the most used technology for sheet metal together with laser for metal cutting. The differences are that the punching press needs punching tool for the work and laser – not. Punching tool at least has two main positions – punch as the tool to perform the hit and the die on the low position to support the material at the working area. Punching is the cheapest technology to make the holes at sheet metal.

What is it for? It is clear that in general there no final products after punching at all. But the punching is the main operation to get the unfolded part for future bending. And after the bending it will be the product for lots of different applications: electric or other equipment metal cabinets, metal furniture units, metal boxes, safes, arms boxes, metal shelfs, panels for elevators, architecture and design, metal doors, bar and restaurant kitchen furniture, ovens, medical furniture etc. The other part is perforation – process with the making of lot of same holes in the sheet. The use of them could be the architecture panels or panels to perform the normal ventilation, for example top panels of the subway or railroad wagons.

Tube bending fitness

2017.06.18

Because lot of people are interested what could be created with tube bending in general life without opening covers of aircraft engine we will continue… What industry is massive, mainly tube bended and rich enough to invest with the most modern tube bending machines? For sure it will be gym and fitness equipment manufacturing. Just imagine how many cities, how many gyms, how many units inside…

Some statistic figures: in US there are more than 34 thousand fitness centers, the quantity for worldwide: around 153 thousand. The market revenue for gym and exercise equipment is around $ 2 billion USD. Under some researches gym and fitness equipment market worldwide is expected to reach $11.9 billion by 2020. And the great percentages of materials in equipment unit are the bended tubes. So you can imagine how huge this production branch!

Market leaders work with real high production so the tube parts are not the subject for manual bending technologies. Usually companies purchase electric multi-axis CNC automatic benders to make the parts with the highest speed with the best repeatability and the quality. In general, tube geometries are not very complicated but requirements for non-availability of surface deformation, scratches or tube ovality could be very high.

Manufacturing of gym and fitness equipment doesn’t require any serious special developments and complete changes of the technology. As the engineering stage everything is very near to the ideal today so the next supplier of the machinery will be the company who will offer high speed full-electric for the best price. For sure the industry is adapted for automatization solutions but this will be outside of the machine.

Press brake tools from Italy

2017.06.17

Historically Italy had a big quantity of separate press brake manufacturers. Lots of them are unknown outside of Italy; lots of them closed, came to bankruptcy or were sold so today Italy lost the big potential and the leading place for press brakes manufacturing.

In spite of this Italy has the top place for the production of press brake tools with the dozens of strong and professional companies, known worldwide. Good quality, competitive prices, short delivery times make Italian tools the powerful competitor even against the Asian products. Hundreds of brand names including the press brake machines manufacturers are used for sale of Italian tooling all over the world. Why Italy is so powerful on this market even today? Together with the heavy background it is necessary to say Italy is one of the strongest players for different metal parts production by turning, milling and grinding operations.

As the country of lots of private and family businesses Italy grew with the growing of small workshops (in Italian “Officina meccanica”) and even today there are huge quantity of Italian sub suppliers for different kind of products. So finally press brake tools are the one of the final products which had a start in workshops. Horizontal cooperation also helped to grow – for example today almost all manufacturers of press brake tools use one or two the same partners to make the tool hardening outside of the main production.

The last word is the technical school. Italians like engineering, want to be engineers and have a lot of engineers to achieve the power at the industrial market. Without any doubts – tooling “Made in Italy” is the mark of the quality.

 

The era for industrial robots

2017.06.16

Everybody knows that the robotic automation came first of all from automotive. It is reasonable – lots of welding operations, mass product, necessity of high speeds and repeatability, so everything to start the great robot integration. Automotive is the biggest, richest and the most lovely customer for any robots manufacturer and usually all their “key” or “gold” customers are automotive factories.

Next things are hazard, hot and danger environments. Why to use human and to pay great additional costs for hard work if it is much better to replace the job with the robot? For this reason robots came to all the hard environment technologies: forging equipment, foundries and steel mills automation, work with big concentration of gases, dusts etc. This is the great replacement which makes the cut of human work in hazard operations on the factory and realizes non-stop 24 hours production.

After that robots came to all operations which require repeatability, mass production and clear cycle – the general industrial automation. But anyway even if the modern robotic arm could be programmed to give you the glass of beer, write or play piano we can’t forget the main purposes of robots: welding and loading-unloading operations. There are much more industrial solutions, for example even milling with robot but the first two are the most used and the general one.

But there is too much information about robots so we do not want to talk about general things. The one phrase of this note is – “today is the new era of industrial robots”. Why? Robots made a great jump to come from the special welding lines and transfer systems for automotive with budgets for dozens of millions Euro to the position that even small workshop can came to the robot use. Do you know what the start of the price is when you can think about purchasing of robot? If you will go to used machine tools market you can see the offers with the start price of ten thousand Euros for working and not the ancient robot arm. Yes, it is not the final investments – you need a lot of things in addition: to realize the application, to buy or to manufacture the clamps or holders for your operation, to make programming, probably to buy the other software package, to buy safety devices etc. etc. But you can’t think that the robots automation is something incredible expensive and for this reason – untouchable for small manufacturers. For sure prices for new robots much higher, the complete system from the manufacturer or robots integrator could be valued with the several hundred thousand Euros, but…

Production of robots for the market is really massive, modernization of big factories makes possibilities for replacements of hundred robots for the big lines and the availability of them on the used machines market, manufacturers try to reduce prices to be competitive etc. Robotic arm last years is not something futuristic from the future but the standard industrial tool like any other CNC machine. Great possibilities and functions together with the risen human salaries make robots the great investment; moreover for robot instead of the machine tool you can change the function and application. And moreover the price possibilities on the used market can help to the small companies also to touch the advantages of the great automation generation.

photo credit: jurvetson FANUC Robot Assembly Demo via photopin (license)