Architectural metalwork leader chooses right-first-time tube bender

PUBLISHED: 25 Oct 10

Usinon is supplying Lee-Warren with an all-electric tube bender
Usinon is supplying Lee-Warren with an all-electric tube bender

An advanced Unison tube bending machine fitted with automatic error correction has been ordered by Lee-Warren to support its architectural metalworking business.

Lee-Warren is one of the UK's leading architectural metalworking subcontractors, producing component parts such as balustrades for prestige building projects like the new athletics stadium and velodrome currently under construction in London. Until now, it has used a subcontractor to bend the tube sections required, which would then be cut and welded together to create the finished parts.

The new Unison machine will give Lee-Warren state-of-the-art tube bending capability, in-house. All-electric servomotor-controlled bending, combined with a laser-controlled correction system that automatically adjusts for errors caused by variations in springback, will allow the company to bend part shapes perfectly first time - without creating scrap.

"This investment underpins a radical improvement in the efficiency of our tube bending operations," says Lee-Warren's Workshop Manager Alex Pollock. "It will eliminate several work stages from the tubular part production process, and the expense of the scrap that was an inevitable by-product of the previous fabrication sequence. The software-controlled nature of the machine will also give us much more flexibility to support our future business development."

The machine chosen by Lee-Warren is one of Unison's Breeze family tube benders, capable of bending tubing diameters up to 76 mm using either mandrel bending or roll-forming. The machine will incorporate an extended bed to handle very long tube lengths, and will also be fitted with Unison's Angle-Sure measurement system which dynamically measures the accuracy of bend angles and automatically compensates for any errors. This module overcomes the common problem of differences in the springback characteristics of materials from different metal production batches caused by minor variations in grain and temper.

Another significant attribute of the new tube bending machine for Lee-Warren is its energy efficiency. Unison's all-electric machine only consumes any significant amount of energy when actually performing a bend. A conventional hydraulically powered bender, by contrast, typically consumes energy continually, as the system's fluid has to be maintained at pressure.

Founded in 1979, Lee-Warren specialises in architectural metalwork, and has grown rapidly to become one of the UK's leading players in this market segment. In 2003 the company trebled its manufacturing capacity by relocating to a modern 4650 m2 factory, and today it employs over 120 staff. A major factor in Lee-Warren's success is its willingness to invest in the latest plant and equipment, to ensure it has the most efficient technology and automation. During the last three decades the company has built up an immense portfolio of work on many of the UK's best known building projects. Its clients include many of the UK's best known construction companies and organisations with large estates such as airport operators, supermarket chains, shopping centres and councils.2UTF-8

Unison Ltd, UK
Tel: + 44 1723 582868

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