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Advanced tube bender will boost flexibility of performance exhaust manufacturing

An all-electric tube bending machine from Unison has been ordered by Philadelphia-based Fabspeed Motorsports, to enhance the manufacturing flexibility of advanced exhaust systems for performance cars. The machine will allow Fabspeed to bring a lot of its tube bending processes in-house. This will provide numerous benefits including reducing the cost of building an exhaust, shortening lead times, and extending the flexibility of the company's custom design services.

Fabspeed builds high performance exhausts and air intakes for a wide range of prestige vehicle makes including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Over almost 20 years the company has built a unique reputation for creating exhausts that increase an engine's usable power output and deliver a unique sound - and the brand now sells globally.

Up until now, the production process for Fabspeed's exhausts has been based on assembling the required exhaust configuration by cutting and welding together modular stainless steel 304L component shapes - such as U-bends and J-bends - fabricated by a metalworking subcontractor. This production process has provided a lot of flexibility and cost effectiveness, but it means that Fabspeed must order in bulk, create waste by cutting vehicle-specific exhaust shapes from larger general-purpose components, and perform more assembly steps than are ideally necessary.

The new Unison bending machine will allow Fabspeed to simplify the production process for the more complex exhaust shapes it manufactures. Parts of exhaust systems that used to be TIG-welded from two or three component shapes, will now be fabricated in a single stage - and without making any cut-off waste. Material purchasing costs will be reduced because Fabspeed will now be able to make parts to demand from tube lengths, rather than ordering and stocking much larger batches of shapes. The machine additionally provides Fabspeed with much greater flexibility to customize - allowing it to employ exotic lightweight materials such as titanium, or to vary the shape and sound of designs, to meet the needs of individual clients.

The machine selected is an all-electric, servomotor-controlled bender from Unison's Breeze range for tube diameters up to 76 mm, fitted with a multi-stack tooling head. Fabspeed chose an all-electric architecture and Unison's design because of the machine's software-controlled repeatability and simplicity of use, and for its quietness and cleanliness in a workshop environment handling many of the world's most prestigious road vehicles, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and more.

"Unison's machine is intrinsically simple to set up and use," says Fabspeed's Product Development Manager Tony Wells. "It means that any of our technicians can be trained easily to use it, and deliver precision, right-first-time results. The machine is going to enhance our production process, and give us even more flexibility to meet the demands of our clients - who typically want the very best, and an individual solution."

"The accuracy and repeatability of an all-electric tube bender is very well suited to this application, which requires the production of very complex shapes because of the restricted space in engine compartments, and it also gives the company a lot more flexibility of development," added Alan Pickering of Unison.

The machine was sold to Fabspeed by Unison's US sales and support partner Horn Machine Tools.

PUBLISHED: 06 Oct 10 Bookmark and Share
Company:
Unison
Country:
UK
Tel:
+44 1723 582868
Fax:
+44 1723 582379
Email:
alanp@unisonltd.com
Website:
www.unisonltd.com
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