Thirty years ago all leader manufacturers for sheet metal machinery sold laser and punch combination machines. The advantages of such machinery are incredible high – you have a standard punch with fast speed and standard punching tools but some travels or cuts could be made my laser. In this case you are free with any part solutions – you do not need to punch the edge as the straight line but can do any wave or other figure cuts without any problems. Do not have the right tool to punch? You do not need to order it if the time is limited – run the laser. This more interesting machine for jobshop production with different orders – you can’t know what tools you should need for the tomorrow order but you can do it.
From other hand the maintenance of combination laser-punch machines was also high. You have tools, you have hydraulic for the punch, you have laser and all beam transfer system together with necessity for all gases. Moreover the price for this types of the machines was really expensive so it will be necessary to calculate very well the price for the laser freedom possibilities.
Next thing is punching and shear cutting combination machine. Operators usually understand what is the duration of life for slitting punching tool, their costs and how long it could be in high production. So to speed the time punching and shearing machines are used to perform the side cuts not with the punch but with the blade. This technology gives the boost of speed but for sure costs of such machines are very high for investments. Market for this kind of the machines is very low because these machines are perfect if the production is with thousands of equal pieces every day. But for mass products like refrigerator panels, washing machine sides, electrical cabinets etc. the solution is perfect.
New generation machines came together with the start of fiber laser integration. Together with modern, powerful and high-speed servo electric punching technology the installation of fiber laser is much easier because of the simple way from the source and the maintenance for this kind of the machines much more simple. So the new combinations of punch and laser system are really powerful units with low consumption, green technologies and the same effective use for different style of applications.
Today designed applications and special orders are very popular in the world. Many agencies in Germany and Switzerland use really expensive and high-end technology tube bending machinery for architecture and designed tubular parts for outdoor and indoor use. With the new fashion for modern “metal and glass” buildings the tubes could be also the main part for the elegant constructions. Could be even not the part but the really monuments as in some US cities. Tubing is very popular not only for different handrails but for street furniture too. Unique pieces of stainless steel made by imagination of project engineers are the pretty part of the modern cities. Tent-like solid constructions, all circular stairs railings, roof covers – you just need to look around the best modern constructions in your city and study if they have tubes inside.
To move out from the classic street we can view the custom made boat railings. Expensive boats are every time the special and individual work so the railings (and as you can consider there are a lot on the boat) are every time different too.
What is the most interesting moment in tube bending? The classical 3D tube bending offers the movement of tube with any direction with some limitations and restrictions. But anyway it is the subject for any fantasy and idea to realize, just necessary to have the necessary tube bending tools according to your application. Usually companies involved in architecture use classic draw tube benders together with section benders (3 roller machines) because with them you do not have the necessity for tools of every radius of tube.
Tube bending part is much simpler to achieve than the classic metal construction parts. This is the reason why architecture moved to tube bending. To bend profiles more complicated for free-form solutions, other structures like bars – more complicated for machinery and realization.
The photo is the sculpture “Brain” by Paolo Matroian
Last exhibitions show the grandest promotion of Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing. What it means for the workshop?
Till today industry made a big grow with digital solutions – numerical systems and CNC controls offer flexible possibilities not only for standard control of the machine during the working cycle but exchange of the information to control the machine in global chain of the workshop. Yes, all additional things have nothing for small workshop but imagine what means to develop the digital chain for the big factory!
Parts with the passing of the stages with the barcodes and control of each location of the part, flow management, machine status management, global network for engineers and technical specialists for import and export of parts, personnel control, cloud technologies – all the things for develop most modern factory which you could imagine.
Industry 4.0 is closely connected with the Internet, wireless data transfer technologies, clouds and digital solutions. Sure thing any industrial computer can offer network data transfer but the question is not to operate the machine but to create the virtual factory with the possibility to manage everything only with your display from any place of the world.
Most of manufacturers today offer the advantages of the Internet service and diagnostic but in general today this is the one future only for the global network connection. Modern drawings are made in 3D CAD but are situated only inside the network of the factory or the single computer of the engineer.
The future offers more global solution with including of the manufacturer, customers and producers together with the machine, flow and production activities in global chains where the customer can control the flow of his order, manufacturer can control the machines, automatically orders customer can send directly to the machine for production, global control from the management side and as the result – the clean and very effective relations between all the parties with much less involved people but the global transfer of the information. People there are not the workers but the operators of manufacturing world and who knows, probably involved also in new generation social networks dedicated to the new material flows.
Everybody who looks for the first CNC punching machine to proceed with sheet metal has the question has the question what punching tool system he should use.
We will not speak about all the details because this is the role of the punching machine manufacturer. Anyway it is important to know some simple things – the main point for tool system of the punching machine is the specification of your production. Let’s explain. The simplest punching machine with CNC has one and only one station where you can put Multitool head. This is the most economy solution but with serious limits for production – for example you will have 8 tools with 24 mm max. diameter of tooling. One tool for sure will go for cutting operation (moreover this tool will be much smaller with length compare with bigger machines i.e. – more hits for cutting) so you will have 7 tools so 7 possibilities for different holes for the production part. This article will not about the limitation with speeds and production possibilities so we will ignore some moments. But for Multitool it is important to know that you will do standard parts but not the forming operation like punching of louvers. There are different Multitool heads on the market but there is everywhere the limits for tooling – more max. diameter for the tool – less tools quantity in Multitool head.
Multitool in general is installed in the D-Station head (max. diameter 88,9 mm) so it means the punch machine we spoke about has one D-Station tool possibility. For sure for standard and modern Multitool heads all the tools inside are indexed – it means they could be rotated.
The next generation and more expensive solution is the turret for example with 6 D-station which means, that you can use, let’s say, 3 Multitools inside + 3 tools for D-station. This solution has much more possibilities – you have much more tools in Multitool heads for small diameters, you can do normal cutting with big length tool (for example 80×5) and you can think what to install to other D-Stations.
Today Multitool heads are presented from several manufacturers, but you need to be warned that one Multitool head can cost more than 5-6 thousand of EUR. Anyway Multitool offers great flexibility with indexed tools, there are different solutions on the market and it is very easy to find your Multitool punching tools supplier.
If you will forget about different tube line applications what could be the big use of tube bending? Sure it is furniture. There is no other massive industry which consumes so much bended tubes for different products. You can just look around and for sure you will find something also near you. Nobody will tell you how many millions of bended tubes are produced every year for example, for iron boards. Moreover we can talk not only about mass market products. It is known that there a lot of design chairs are produced with unique styles and with the use of modern and very expensive tube bending machines.
Yes, in generally bending of tubes for furniture is very simple. In lot of cases it is enough manual or simple semi-automatic machines so the investment for start could be very low. But from other hand furniture is very profitable business for high production and where you mean high production you should consider very high speed production cycle and it is the reason why even for simple applications lot of companies use serious modern machinery. Moreover to save the time and eliminate the human factor loading and unloading operations are performed by robot or other system for automation.
Why we are talking about so serious boost. Just necessary to imagine that in the world there are so many furniture suppliers so if it is very hard to enter the automotive supplier chain it could be much easy to produce parts for furniture. Moreover high production means the development of serious automation for the maximum reduction of fabrication time. And the last thing could be that the start could be done with simple machinery so entry level is not so expensive compare to other markets.
As we said before usually products are simple. But it is very attractive to see the special designs with the bending of full chair body with one tube and full automatic cycle. 3D tube bending solutions in general have no limits so with the powerful machine you can develop a lot of various, stylish and impressive products.
All the producers of machine tools, in particular tube bending machines, punching machines or press brakes offer the possibility to purchase original tooling together with the purchased machine. The advantages are quite simple – under original tooling the manufacturer tries to convince about the high quality of tooling and absence of any faults or problems for the customer. Moreover it is better to get the machine with tooling from one hand, so like the “key turn purchase” where you can start the production immediately after receipt of the machine.
So if everything so good why customer should study the “non-original” tooling not marked with the manufacturer of the machine? The answer is also simple – 90% of manufacturers do not have the real production of the tooling, sometimes they do the project and drawings development but the manufacture takes place outside. Moreover it is the question of the investments – “original tools” are totally more expensive against other competitive offers for these types.
Yes – every manufacturer is not the reseller – finally they are responsible for the machine and tooling is the important part of it. Moreover sometimes, like for tube bending tools it is not just the way for simple installation of tooling on the machine but the question of fine adjustments.
Sure thing if the customer requires from the manufacturer of the machine the guarantee to make his parts with required precision and quality the manufacturer can’t guarantee nothing without supply of tooling from his hands. So it is good for everybody to buy tools and the machine together. But in a lot of cases it is not so important and moreover not so complicated for the customer if he buys his second or third machine. In this case we can also help and offer – high quality press brake tooling, punching tools, tube bending tools from Italy to produce the quality parts.
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How to contact us: PRECITOOLS SRLS, Via B. Crespi, 19 , MAC 4 – 4°Piano, 20159 , Milano (MI), Italy, Tel. +39 0280886585, Main e-mail: info(at)precitools.it
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Besides all different principles of tube bending the execution of special tools is real “state of art”. What is the necessity? Some tubes, in particular in automotive industry require not the standard principle of tube bending performed by tube bending machine as “bend – straight part in min. length as straight part of the clamps – second bend…” Some tubes have no any straight part so the area of this bending is named as “bend in bend”. It is quite impossible to perform this technology with standard tube bending tools and mandrel tube bending machine – there are no possibility of clamping! The solution could be only to manufacture the special tools for the required part where the clamps dublicate the first bend in the groove to make the second one. Tooling to make these parts is really expensive so this is the big question for investments but there is no other way to do the part without the special tools.
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