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Tubecraft boosts capability with new pipe bender

Posted on 09 Nov 2020 and read 1472 times
Tubecraft boosts capability with new pipe benderSurrey-based T&T Tubecraft, a tube manipulation and pipe bending sub-contract specialist, has taken delivery of a new electric 130mm diameter multi-stack CNC tube bending machine from Unison Ltd, the UK’s leading supplier of all-electric tube bending machinery.

This is the third Unison tube bender to be purchased by T&T Tubecraft since 2014 and joins a 50mm Unison Breeze machine and a 100mm Unison Breeze multi-stack model that are in daily use at T&T Tubecraft’s Woking facility.

The company has customers in a wide range of industry sectors including aerospace, architectural, construction, dairy and food processing, defence, marine, motorsport, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, pneumatic conveying, power generation, scientific and subsea.

Offering exceptional power and immense levels of flexibility, the 130mm machine has been described by Unison as ‘the ultimate tube bending machine for sub-contractors’.

Ross Turner, T&T Tubecraft managing director, said: “Of all our tube benders, our 100mm Unison machine is easily the busiest, This is largely down to its user-friendly programming, fast tool changes, automatic set-up and uncompromising levels of accuracy and repeatability.

“Ironically, when we purchased the 100mm Unison machine back in 2015, we didn’t have a vast amount of work for it. This quickly changed, however, as we gained the ability to take on new projects.

“The new 130mm machine will increase our capability even further, both in terms of capacity and the ability to tender for an even greater range of projects. We expect it to be of particular interest to customers in the aerospace sector.”

Bending exotic alloys

The bigger brother of the Unison 100mm multi-stack machine, the Unison 130mm tube bender is particularly suited to bending exotic alloys such as titanium and Inconel, as well as Super-Duplex stainless steels.

Able to push bend tubes of up to 6.2m in length when in standard mode, it also features a hitch-feed facility, whereby the machine carriage retracts by the length of the next feed, enabling mandrel bending of tubes up to 8.7m long.

As a result of this capability, T&T Tubecraft believes that, out of all UK tube manipulation subcontractors, it may provide the longest bending range.

Multi-stack tool holding allows the most complex of parts to be formed in one uninterrupted manufacturing cycle, while Unison’s bar code scanning system ensures that only the correct tools are installed while also configuring the machine automatically.

A further feature which attracted T&T Tubecraft to the Unison 130 mm machine is the standard-fit rise and fall pressure die. This can result in significant savings in tooling costs and allows tools of very different radii to be used on a part within a cycle. Like all Unison machines, T&T Tubecraft’s new 130mm machine is also highly powerful.

Mr Turner added: “This is a significant advantage for us, as it provides the reassurance to achieve high quality thin wall bending, even on high yield-strength alloys such as Inconel.”

The 130mm machine has been networked to T&T Tubecraft’s CAD facilities and a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for verifying bend accuracy and design conformity.

The tube bender can be programmed manually or from CAD data using industry-standard IGES or STEP files, while data obtained by the CMM from the first manufactured part can be used to make automatic adjustments to the machine prior to commencing a manufacturing cycle.

Right-first-time approach

He continued: “The all-electric architecture and automated Unibend software-controlled set-up of our Unison machines offers major advantages over hydraulic machines. Bending accuracy and repeatability are dramatically improved.

“We achieve right-first-time manufacturing for repeat sub-contract work and typically expect even the first bent trial component at the start of a project to be very close to what we are looking to achieve.

“Machine configuration is also rapid, typically only taking 15 to 20min. As a sub-contract tube manipulation company, we also quickly get to hear how well new machines are viewed by our teams. Unison machines are very well received by our workforce.

“Unison’s Unibend operating software is exceptionally intuitive, meaning much faster programming and accelerated training for new staff members. Our operators consider the Unibend control system to be exceptionally user-friendly.”

Multi-radius and multi-stack machine

Steve Haddrell, Unison key account manager, said: “It is always satisfying to receive repeat orders, especially when they are from such a well-respected company as T&T Tubecraft.

“What was particularly rewarding in this instance, however, was the opportunity to work closely with the customer to deliver an already exceptionally capable, powerful and robust multi-radius and multi-stack machine with the additional component length to give them a real edge in the sub-contractor marketplace.”

Established in 1973, Unison is the UK’s leading manufacturer of tube and pipe bending machines, offering the largest range of all-electric benders for diameters from 4 to 275mm. With a reputation for building, high power, robust machines that deliver uncompromising levels of accuracy and repeatability, the company continually innovates the tube and pipe bending marketplace.

The company manufactured the world’s first all-electric tube bender in 1994, followed by the world’s first all-electric multi-stack tube bender, then the world’s largest all-electric tube bender for the shipbuilding industry.

Available in single-stack, multi-stack and right or left varieties, Unison machines are delivered to over 21 countries globally, while the company’s tube-bending software is recognised as the most user-friendly control system for tube bending machines.

The software is written and supported by Unison, ensuring complete control of its evolution, with no need for third party support.