« BACK  

Size matters: all-electric tube benders take a MASSIVE step forwards

Unison's new machine brings the flexibility of all-electric pipe bending technology to large pipe sizes. Among many possibilities is the means to fabricate long and complex pipe shapes in single pieces
Unison's new machine brings the flexibility of all-electric pipe bending technology to large pipe sizes. Among many possibilities is the means to fabricate long and complex pipe shapes in single pieces

The tube bending machine innovator Unison is moving the technology forwards again, with the completion of a groundbreaking all-electric machine that is capable of bending tubes and pipes up to 9 inches/225 mm in diameter. The availability of all-electric machines at this new size level brings the benefits of instant set-up and right-first-time precision bending to many new applications in sectors including shipbuilding, powergen, and oil, gas and chemical processing.

The new machine is believed to be the most powerful all-electric tube bender that has ever been shipped, and the first implementation of Unison's new machine design is destined for a naval shipyard. Until this development, the largest all-electric machines offered by most vendors could typically handle maximum tube/pipe sizes of up to 7 inches/175 mm.

"We believe that the right-first-time manufacturing capability of our new 225 mm tube and pipe bending machine with its automated set-up, can deliver a return on investment very quickly through scrap reduction and operator time savings - probably within just two to three years," says Alan Pickering of Unison. "With this project Unison has also devised a novel electromechanical actuation architecture that will allow the continued scaling of all-electric benders to even larger machines - and we are confident we can take the next step to 250-300 mm pipe sizes with ease, with bend torques up to a million Newton-metres or more."

"The cost of tubing and piping at eight and nine inch diameters is so considerable that bending machines at this size level can process many millions of pounds worth of raw material a year. The savings in scrap alone for all-electric machines offering this kind of right-first-time precision can generate a return on investment very rapidly" adds Alan Pickering of Unison. "This is particularly true for users employing advanced alloy tubes for purposes such as corrosion resistance and lightness - where the value of single pieces is often measured in five figures."

Unison's new machine offers an advanced and highly productive alternative to the hydraulically-powered machines that are typically used today for bending large bore tubing and piping. Its all-electric bending motion - controlled by software-programmable, closed-loop servomotor axes - allows automatic machine set-up, and delivers extremely high accuracy and repeatability from batch to batch.

Unison has overcome many major engineering challenges to build this landmark machine - a process that has taken more than a year of R&D at its design centre.

The most critical of these challenges was finding a way of integrating the servomotor power required to deliver the torque for bending large pipe sizes. For the first application, Unison's new machine needs to be able to bend piping up to a maximum bore of 8 inches with Schedule 30 wall thicknesses of over 7 mm (with an outside diameter of 8.65 inch or 220 mm). For this task, the machine has to deliver a maximum torque of 360,000 Nm. The challenge was met with a novel power transmission architecture. Despite packing in all of this power, the machine also meets the first user's requested low loading height of just 60 inches (1524 mm), and can be provided with even lower loading heights down to around 1200 mm if required.

Another critical design challenge was keeping the bend head of the machine compact, so that it can fabricate intricate shapes without danger of collision. The mechanical design reduces the profile of the clamp and pressure dies and provides a large amount of free space around the bending head, to minimise the potential for interference and give end users a great deal of production flexibility.

The first example of Unison's 225 mm machine architecture is over 12 metres long, and allows users to load pipe lengths of up to 6 or 9 metres in length, using either a clamped or hitch-fed arrangement. This will allow long and complex pipe shapes to be fabricated in single pieces - providing another substantial cost saving mechanism compared to the common practice of creating pipe shapes by bolting together shorter sections that have been further processed to add flanged ends.

In the first application, the bending capability is needed mainly for bending standard large-bore steel piping. However, the high torque also provides an extremely valuable capability for bending tubing made from specialist high strength and/or corrosion-resistant alloys - even with large wall thicknesses. This is also vital for many of the other potential applications for Unison's new machine architecture in areas such as offshore platforms and nuclear power plant construction.

Another aspect of this bending versatility is the ability to programmably control the action and timing all of the machine's bending dies. This allows bending programs to be highly optimised for each particular application, to achieve goals such as bending brittle materials, or retaining as much wall thickness as possible after bending.

Much of the tubing and piping in the 225 mm maximum size range of the new machine architecture can be extremely expensive. So, in addition to the precision of the electromechanical bending architecture, Unison is also making the new machine available with its revolutionary laser-controlled springback correction system, which accurately measures bend angles as they are fabricated, and automatically applies a correction to compensate for any springback.

This right-first-time production process is ideal for many of the perceived applications that Unison foresees for the new machine. In target applications such as shipbuilding and the fabrication of power generation and oil and gas processing plants and equipment, most parts have unique shapes or are fabricated in small batches. This means that routine scrap - something that is almost inevitable when setting up competitive hydraulically-actuated machines - is very high.

Buyers of Unison machines also obtain access to one of the most extensive portfolios of productivity-enhancing software tools for tubular metal fabrication. Covering the complete process from design and manufacture through to final inspection, the product range includes: TubeWorks - an innovative PC-based CADCAM solution for tubular metal fabricators who use SolidWorks CAD software that reduces order processing and pre-production development time from hours to minutes; the powerful PC-based Unibend Office and Opt2Sim 3D simulation software for offline creation, test and validation of bending programs, as well as a unique calculator app for evaluating bending machine tooling that runs on Apple’s iPhones, iPods and iPads.

PUBLISHED: 23 Sep 14 Bookmark and Share
Company:
Unison
Country:
UK
Tel:
+44 1723 582868
Fax:
+44 1723 582379
Email:
alanp@unisonltd.com
Website:
www.unisonltd.com
Other News from Unison:

»
New head of sales & support appointed to meet Unison growth
»
Unison Ltd is increasing its manufacturing capacity and opening a new factory in Virginia, USA
»
All-electric tube bender multiplies productivity for cleaning trolley maker
»
Ultibend improves productivity with new all-electric tube benders
»
Precision tube bending takes next step in evolution
»
Innovative automated tube bending cell allows wheelbarrow manufacturer to almost double manufacturing output
»
World's most powerful all-electric pipe bending machine swings into action at Norwegian shipyard
»
Custom all-electric tube bender will accelerate right-first-time production for precision metal fabricator
»
Custom tube bender eliminates cut-off waste of tubular parts for exercise machines
»
Unison opens its own service and sales office in North Carolina
»
Accurate and cost effective tube bending - a new machine concept from Unison
»
Unison receives its Queen's Award
»
Tube bending pioneer wins Queen's Award
»
Ultra-powerful all-electric pipe bender starts operations at US shipbuilder
»
Second Unison all-electric bending machine for fast-growing tube fabrication specialist
»
Precision aerospace engineers choose Unison tube bending technology
»
Tube manipulation specialist embraces all-electric technology and enjoys fast return on investment
»
All-electric tube bending machine innovator appoints new American support partner
»
UK tube manipulation sector "in robust health" says Unison after open house event
»
Size matters: all-electric tube benders take a MASSIVE step forwards
»
Tube bending CAD/CAM software also accommodates laser tube cutting
»
Faster and smarter tubular parts production
»
Scarborough could be the UK's next 'engineering hotspot' thanks to the new University Technical College
»
Powerful all-electric pipe bending machine boosts manufacturing throughput and accuracy of large-bore hydraulic parts
»
Tube bending specialist accelerates throughput and implements right-first-time manufacturing with the help of all-electric machine
»
Advanced tube bending technology helps British Airways maintain latest-generation aircraft
»
New all-electric tube bender extends shape-forming capabilities of aerospace manufacturer
»
Tube bending leader adds new low-cost entry-point machine to its range
»
Higher-productivity tube bending to be highlighted at Tube 2014
»
Innovative tube bending CADCAM solution
»
Advanced tube benders speed construction of subsea wellhead trees
»
Proof that engineering careers still appeal to UK youngsters!
»
Novel tube bender boosts productivity by 500% for leading American tubular part fabricator
»
Higher-productivity tube bending to be demonstrated at Fabtech
»
Lord Green opens design and manufacturing facility for tube bending innovator
»
More production capacity fuels international expansion of tube bending innovator
»
World's largest all-electric pipe bender ordered by US shipbuilder
»
Record sales for tube bending machine builder Unison
»
Siemens Subsea Products adopts all-electric tube bending for production of subsea hydraulic flying leads
»
Unique robotic tube bending system can dramatically speed production
»
Clean, green production efficiency underpins tube bending machinery upgrades at leading truck parts manufacturer
»
Yorkshire's centre of engineering excellence continues investing for its future
»
Right-first-time tube bending technology to be highlighted at Farnborough
»
Business Secretary Vince Cable visits fast-growing UK machine builder
»
Novel twin-head tube/bar bender provides platform for high throughput automated production
»
Fully-automated production cell increases wheelbarrow frame manufacturing efficiency
»
Architectural metalworker achieves right-first-time output using unique bend correction system
»
Right-first-time tube bending technology to make European premiere at Tube 2012
»
All-electric tube bender provides production versatility for submarine builder
»
Scarborough plays host to hundreds of budding designers and engineers
»
Unison supports World Motorcycle Land Speed Record Attempt
»
Rotating-head tube bender produces ultra-complex part shapes in one fast automatic cycle
»
Unison to support VTube software in the UK
»
First all-electric tube bender for leading European tube bending specialist
»
Record sales for tube bending machine builder Unison
»
Precision aerospace tubular parts fabricator chooses all-electric CNC tube bender to combat emerging challenges
»
Tube bending excellence 2011
»
Integrated all-electric tube bender and cutter delivers competitive advantage to volume tubular part manufacturers
»
Architectural metalwork leader chooses right-first-time tube bender
»
Advanced tube bender will boost flexibility of performance exhaust manufacturing
»
Scarborough continues investing in the UK's engineering future
»
Metalworking machinery leader opened its doors at Scarborough engineering week
»
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems orders bending machine
»
End-former accelerates refurbishment process for automotive parts specialist
»
Advanced tooling added to tube bending portfolio


Industry News:
The PurgEye® 300 Nano
Low cost 1 PPM Weld Purge Monitor®
Huntingdon Fusion Techniques Limited, UK
Roll-Kraft Seminar Session
Outstanding attendance once again at Roll-Kraft's annual regional seminars
Roll-Kraft, USA
Brazing corrugated tubing to stainless steel pipe and cap using UltraFlex Induction Heating
Brazing corrugated tubing to stainless steel pipe and cap using UltraFlex Induction Heating
Ultraflex Power Technologies, USA
Alfa Laval rotary jet head GJ PF FT
Easy as this: Reduce cleaning time by 70% and operating cost by up to 80%!
Alfa Laval Kolding A/S, Denmark
The new Mosweld (SiC) system is equipped with highly-­ reliable (SiC) Silicon Carbide transistors
EMMEDI presents a new evolution of HFI Welder
Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corporation, USA
Qwik-Freezer™ is the industry standard portable CO2 Pipe Freezing System, in use around the World
Double Freezing technique for large diameter valve replacement
Huntingdon Fusion Techniques Limited, UK
The versatile Inflatable Stoppers are used to service a wide variety of industrial applications
Inflatable Stoppers for petrochemical applications
Huntingdon Fusion Techniques Limited, UK
UKF Stainless Ltd offering the best in productivity and performance for efficient handling of tubes to the industry worldwide
UKF Stainless celebrates 25 years of offering the best in productivity and performance for efficient handling of tubes to the industry worldwide
Ultimaster, Germany
DN710 mm TOM® Pipe, PN12.5, PN16, PN20 & PN25 bar
Molecor launches into the market the new DN710 mm Oriented PVC Pipe
Molecor Tecnologia SL, Spain
The PurgEye® 300 Plus
Highest quality welds made with lower costs
Huntingdon Fusion Techniques Limited, UK
» VIEW ALL NEWS «