Tube bending leader adds new low-cost entry-point machine to its range
PUBLISHED: 08 Apr 14
Unison has bought the manufacturing rights to the EvBend 1000 - this low cost precision CNC tube bending machine is widely used by aerospace, defence and motor racing companies
Unison announces an advanced new machine design offering a very low cost entry point to precision CNC tube bending. The addition to its range comes from the acquisition of the unique manually-operated EvBend CNC tube bending machines developed by Silkmead Tubular Ltd (STL), the Dunstable-based tube manipulation specialist. The two companies have collaborated for some time, with Unison writing STL's database management software and selling a number of their machines as part of workshop packages in recent years.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Unison secures manufacturing, sales and future design rights to the STL range of CNC tube bending and end forming machines. These include the EvBend 1000 and 2000 tube benders, and the DB50 rotary end forming machine. The unique EvBend bending machine concept was developed specifically to provide a cost-effective solution for low volume, high precision manufacturing of high value tubular parts, for markets such as aerospace. It does this by combining the precision advantages of CNC controlled rotary draw bending with manually operated bending - which greatly reduces machine costs.
EvBend 1000 is capable of creating right-hand or left-hand bends in tubes up to 1 inch diameter. It is a popular choice for repair workshops, and with companies producing low volume high value parts, or prototypes in market sectors such as defence, aerospace manufacturing, oil and gas equipment, and motor racing - including several Formula 1 teams. The EvBend 2000 extends the capability of the machine design to tube diameters up to 2 inches.
Commenting on the acquisition Unison's Managing Director Alan Pickering said: "Extending our portfolio of all-electric tube benders with manually-operated CNC machines is a core part of our strategy to lower the entry cost to precision tube bending. It brings starting prices down to around £40,000, which will provide many markets with more cost-effective solutions. We are also taking on STL's support staff and training our own people, to support existing users, and are currently visiting key customers to assure them of our long-term intentions."
In the past, Unison's collaboration with STL included development of a database for the EvBend CNC machines, so there is already an underlying commonality of user interface. Following its decision to acquire the intellectual property rights to the machines, Unison is regenerating the machine designs on its CAD system, and is modernising elements of the design as well as making modifications to suit its own component procurement and manufacturing processes. The current EvBend machines use a relatively low technology standalone CNC controller based on a proprietary STL design. Unison is now investing in the design of a fully integrated controller for the EvBend 1000 machine, based on a standard PC/Windows 7 platform with a motion control system featuring embedded CNC functionality.
Alan Pickering points out that existing users of EvBend machines will be able to benefit from Unison's development program, “In addition to manufacturing the machines, we intend making our new controller available as a retrofit. The original DOS-based controller had very limited I/O facilities and was essentially a standalone device, whereas all Unison controllers are designed for integration with other manufacturing machines, as well as CAD systems. By ordering a controller retrofit, EvBend users will simplify the transfer of data from design to manufacturing, as well as enhance the performance and extend the life cycle of their bending machine."
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