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?

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.