WAFIOS presents this new development in Düsseldorf together with the machine's bigger brother, the RBV 60 R, which was presented in 2013.

The series couples power with innovative technology and new ergonomic design.

The RBV machines are new, extremely versatile and profitable tube bending machines for the production of 2D and 3D parts with more flexibility in the production of parts and higher repeat accuracy. Thanks to the new, more robust design of the machine, significant process improvements could be achieved. More performance, despite increased energy efficiency, is guaranteed due to the use of the most modern control and drive technology from the robot industry. High service and operating convenience increase the machines’ availability.

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WAFIOS CNC Tube bending machine RBV 60 R

Thus the RBV series becomes a long-lasting solution for the effective production of a large spectrum of parts also in small batch sizes.

The exhibition program will be completed by the successful BMU 50 R bending machine which will be exhibited for the first time as a machine for bending tube from the coil. Visit WAFIOS in hall 5, booth A 21 at the Tube show!

Published inMachinery
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 09:59

Innovative tube bending CADCAM solution

An innovative PC-based CADCAM solution for tubular metal fabricators who use SolidWorks CAD software, that enables them to reduce order processing and pre-production development time from hours to minutes, has been launched by the tube bending machine builder Unison.

The software automatically extracts key manufacturing information, including tube specifications and CNC bending data, from both native SolidWorks models and common CAD file formats such as STEP, IGES, and ParaSolid. It can handle tube models with round (tube and bar), square, rectangular, oval or flat-sided oval cross-sections.

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Unison has secured exclusive worldwide sales for the new software add-in – called TubeWorks – from its developer, 3DCompound Ltd.

3DCompound, a UK-based software consultancy, specialises in the development of third-party value-added products for the highly popular ‘SolidWorks’ mechanical design software. The company was founded by an accredited SolidWorks Elite Application Engineer with an extensive background in CAD and tube bending technology. It produces a variety of innovative software tools, ranging from macros to fully integrated add-in modules, which enable SolidWorks users and their organisations to realise major savings in the time and capital cost of application-specific processes.

According to Alan Pickering, MD of Unison, “Automating the extraction of manufacturing data from CAD files helps bending machine users to create production-ready programs much more quickly and efficiently. TubeWorks will provide our customers with an enormous competitive advantage and is an important addition to our growing portfolio of software tools. As well as offering a smart solution for metal fabricators seeking to accelerate their request-for-quotation (RFQ) procedures, the software will help companies with in-house bending machines to reduce design-to-manufacturing times.”

3DCompound’s MD, Ali Jani, adds: “We chose Unison as a partner because its innovative culture matches well with our own. Unison’s all-electric tube bending machines are widely regarded as some of the best in the industry, enabling companies to push performance boundaries in metal tube fabrication. Our new TubeWorks add-in is designed with the same principles and for the same markets – we believe that the software provides users with a unique and powerful means of enhancing the productivity of their tube bending operations.”

The TubeWorks add-in is fully integrated into SolidWorks, allowing users to take full advantage of the CAD software’s powerful design functions, and eliminates the need for any additional standalone solutions for generating manufacturing data during the design, development and production of tubular parts. The add-in software is inherently intuitive and easy to use, requires no special training and can be mastered within 10 minutes.

In addition to its manufacturing data extraction capabilities, TubeWorks offers a host of powerful functions to further help users minimise the pre-production design time of machine-based tube bending. These include automated centreline creation through tubular geometry (for both round and non-round profiles) and automated conversion of imported tube models into native SolidWorks models for CLR (centreline radius) modification. The software also extensively automates the generation of 2D drawings, as well as the creation of reports for the YBC data that will be used to control the bending machine and for the XYZ coordinates of the modelled tube.

To maximise flexibility and ease of use, TubeWorks is fully functional in a multi-body part environment. A searchable tooling log enables users to quickly check the types of tools – such as bend former, mandrels, wiper dies, etc – that will be necessary for a particular bending operation, while a tooling recommendation function verifies whether a part can be produced using existing tools, or suggests suitable substitutes. The software also includes an extremely useful tube length calculator, which evaluates the total length of tube that will be needed for fabricating the specific formed part.

Unison also offers on-demand WebEx demonstrations of TubeWorks to registered customers, via its website.

Published inProcessing

According to estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the energy demand of the world population will increase drastically in the coming years: in 2030, around 5.5 billion people will have access to the electricity supply – this is equivalent to growth of 1.5 billion consumers within only slightly more than two decades. To meet the increased energy demand, in addition to investment in renewable energies, the construction of new power plants and modernisation of existing facilities in particular are vital. One critical criterion here is to significantly improve efficiency in the power plant process. The requirements for the installed tube systems and tube materials are therefore also increasing, as they make a noticeable contribution to increasing efficiency. Schwarze-Robitec have developed special bending machines for precisely this application area, which bend high-strength, thick-walled high-pressure tubes as well as boiler tubes, tube coils and entire membrane tube walls accurately and both time and cost-effectively.

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The requirements for liquid and steam line systems in modern power plants are increasing: significantly higher pressure, flow and temperature values result in increasing strain on the systems. At the same time, the legal constraints and requirements are intensifying. Leakages can result for example in costly repairs or – which is worse – investigations, fines and even a deactivation order from the relevant regulatory authorities. This makes the use of durable, safe and effective tube systems and solutions all the more important. Whereas thick-walled high-pressure tubes and pipes have been welded together for decades from various straight and pre-bent tube components, modern tube bending processes offer significant advantages with respect to safety, subsequent maintenance and the requirements of the present tube parameters as well as last but not least appreciable benefits in terms of manufacturing costs and times.

Efficient production of manifolds, steam and pressure lines

The semi-automatic SR 320 tube bending machine and the automatic CNC 320 HD from Schwarze-Robitec GmbH produce complex tube systems in one operation from a single tube for example for pressure and steam lines, manifolds and similar tubes. Being equipped with special tools, the machines bend thin and thick-walled tubes with a maximum diameter of 323.9 x 17.5 mm. With a tube size of 323.9 x 10 mm, for example, they have no problem producing a bending radius of 1.5 x D, which is equivalent to a bending radius of 485 mm in the example mentioned. The semi-automatic machines in the SR series are particularly suitable for the production of single bends and small series. The automatic, CNC-controlled machines are also suited to complex tube systems with several bends or large batch sizes. “Compared with the induction bending processes, our cold bending process offers huge time savings in the production process,” Schwarze-Robitec Plant Manager Jürgen Korte explains. “Whereas hot shaping of these work pieces takes around eight hours, our customers require an average of only six minutes for one bend.” Depending on the specific application, Schwarze-Robitec offer the machines from their heavy duty machine series for various diameters and wall thicknesses up to 610 x 21.4 mm. The machines are available in semi-automatic design with SR control and in automatic design with CNC control. All machines can be equipped e.g. with a tube magazine and tube feed and enlarged up to fully automatic bending cells.

Economical production of boiler tubes and tube serpentines

Very different but similarly exacting requirements now also exist for boiler tubes and tube serpentines in power plant construction. The production of smaller boilers with greater capacity, for example, requires the use of extremely tightly bent tubes. Depending on the tube diameter, it is not uncommon for the required minimum bending radius to be 1xD (sometimes under 1xD). The semi-automatic booster bending machines and automatic CNC pressure bending machines from Schwarze-Robitec are designed precisely for these requirements. The unique cold-bending process from Schwarze-Robitec offers utmost precision and surpasses the tolerance requirements for wall thinning and out-of-roundness e.g. of European standard EN 12952, American Society of Mechanical Engineers ASME B31.1 and all other international standards. The CNC-controlled booster bending machines are also equipped with a tube positioning device, which facilitates fully automatic bending of tube systems. For efficient processing of very large and complex tube serpentines, Schwarze-Robitec offer the CNC TWIN series machines: this machine series, which is available in three different sizes up to diameter 88.9 x 11 mm, uses two vertically and horizontally movable bending heads (1x left-bending, 1x right-bending), which alternately bend the tube clockwise and anticlockwise. Consequently, the tube serpentine does not need turning after each bend, which ensures quick and economical production processes and the manufacture of large leg lengths. “Of course, our machines also guarantee the processing of high-strength materials, for example such as high temperature steel alloy T91,” Managing Director Bert Zorn adds. Moreover, they are able to produce different bending radii within one tube system. Furthermore, adding a Terminal End Bender to the machine is easily possible.

Precise processing of complex tube walls

Schwarze-Robitec also offer a specialised bending technology for the bending of entire membrane tube walls, which is common in the construction of modern boilers and power plants: the FL machine series processes tube walls with a maximum width of 3,600 mm and a length of 25,000 mm or more quickly and accurately by means of the compression bending process. The machines are equipped with a most modern CNC control, which also takes into account e.g. the springback when bending the membrane tube wall. Only recently, the bending specialists delivered one of the world’s largest membrane tube wall bending machines to an Indian customer. With this machine, costumers are able to bent tube walls precisely in particularly large dimensions, the users secure considerably reduced costs and production times as well as lower installation costs. Equally, this machine offers the option of diagonal bending. “Overall, we have been developing and producing tube cold bending machines designed especially for the specific requirements of power plant construction for over 45 years,” Schwarze-Robitec Managing Director Bert Zorn summarises. “Every machine is a customised solution, which we adapt precisely to the individual production needs of the customer.”

Published inProduction

alanThe UK based pioneer of all-electric tube bending machines, Unison, is celebrating a record business quarter. The company made six machine sales during Q1 - worth over £1.5 million in total.

"The surge in sales comes after the prolonged downturn due to the credit crunch, and is due in large part to the sustained marketing efforts we made throughout the period," says Alan Pickering, Managing Director of Unison. "We've been taking interested parties on 'technology tours' around the facilities of existing users. This close-quarters contact has really helped potential users to understand the benefits of the advanced type of machinery we make, which is software-controlled and very versatile."

All six of the machines are destined for overseas clients in the USA, Germany, Holland and South Africa - for applications ranging from aircraft manufacture to general metalworking fabrication.

Unison welcomes the increase in its overseas business, which already accounts for over half of the company's output.

"Up to now we've been focusing our international sales efforts in just a few key countries," adds Pickering. "Expanding that international footprint is the next big step for Unison, and we believe these orders are the first of a large number this year - as we currently have an extensive enquiry list."

Unison also points to the continued investment it has made in engineering development over the last two years. "You can view a recession as purely negative, and cut back on spending until it's over, but Unison tried to see the downturn as an opportunity for engineering development," adds Pickering. "Over the last 18 months we have taken several major steps forward in technology, including upgrading the electrical architecture of our tube bending machines to an advanced industrial Ethernet network, and integrating a major new tooling facility that allows our machines to both bend and cut tubes in one continuous process."

Unison is taking on several new staff to help it meet the higher levels of demand, in departments including mechanical and electrical engineering design.

One aspect that is helping to win orders is the very low energy consumption of Unison's 'all electric' machines compared with traditional hydraulically powered benders. Unison machines only consume any significant amount of energy when actually performing a bend. By contrast, a conventional hydraulically powered bender typically consumes energy almost continually, as the system's fluid has to be maintained at pressure.

Published inProcessing
Trilogy Takes Over Representation of Schwarze-Robitec in North America

Trilogy Machinery, Inc. becomes the exclusive North American distributor for Schwarze-Robitec tube bending machines.

Schwarze-Robitec is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tube cold bending machines. The traditional company from Germany, which was founded in 1903, develops and produces tube and pipe bending systems for the automotive, shipbuilding and offshore industries, power plant construction and the chemical industry as well as special bending solutions for many other sectors of industry.

The bespoke quality products will now be sold throughout North America exclusively by prestigious partner agency Trilogy Machinery, Inc. “For our customers in the USA, Canada and Mexico, we have gained the ideal partner in Trilogy, which will now continue the successful work of Charles Russell Jr. and Tony Granelli,” Schwarze-Robitec Managing Director Bert Zorn reports. “Agency president Allan Flamholz has worked in the area of metal processing machines for over 33 year and has exact knowledge of the latest market requirements.

With his trained team, he offers the best possible advice for our entire range of products and solutions.” In addition to customer advice and customer care, the new appointment of Trilogy Machinery includes the complete sale including import of bending machines and tools.

Published inMachinery
Bending, Measuring and Further Bending in One Go

To accurately bend steel or stainless steel tubes and tube systems must accept long auxiliary processing times for the generally unavoidable measuring and adjusting process. This is because the rebound behaviour of the materials can differ widely – even if the tubes come from a single batch. The production of prototypes and individual items is similarly time and labour-intensive. The Springmatic optical measuring system provides a remedy here: the new development from Schwarze-Robitec, which is integrated into the bending tool, measures the bent tubes directly whilst tensioned on the bending machine and immediately starts the required further bending process if desired or saves the required correction value for subsequent bends.

Single stage

Instead of removing the tube after the bending process, checking it on an external measuring system then retensioning it for subsequent bending, tube processing companies can bend, measure and adjust in a single stage with the aid of Springmatic. Immediately after the bending of a tube, the new optical measuring system that Schwarze-Robitec is integrating into its bending tools records the rebound value, from which the CNC control of the tube bending machine calculates the required subsequent bending angle. Subsequent bending is carried out immediately afterwards – either fully automatically if desired or after clearance by the machine operator. “This integrated form of dimensional stability check and tube post-processing takes only a few seconds per work piece on average. This is contrasted with around three to five minutes required for measuring and adjusting in the conventional way,” Schwarze-Robitec Plant Manager Jürgen Korte reports.

Broad range applications

When developing the measuring system, the tube bending specialists from Cologne placed particular emphasis on a very broad range of applications: Springmatic reliably checks both thick and thin-walled tubes in the broadest range of materials and diameters. The system can be integrated into almost any bending tool and combined with almost all tube bending machines from Schwarze-Robitec. “The measuring accuracy from Springmatic is naturally equivalent to the accuracy of conventional external systems,” Schwarze-Robitec Managing Director Bert Zorn adds. “Furthermore, users not only save up to nine tenths of the auxiliary processing times previously required; in individual item and prototype production, they additionally benefit from a noticeable material saving as almost every component is now also a useable bulk component. These advantages have an effect particularly in tube production for the automotive, machine and plant engineering, and shipbuilding industries.”

Published inMachinery
Siemens Subsea Products adopts all-electric tube bending for production of subsea hydraulic flying leads

Siemens Subsea Products has chosen an all-electric tube bender from Unison to improve the quality and speed the production of the small-bore hydraulic tubes it uses on subsea hydraulic flying leads with Multiple Quick Connections (MQC), Cobra Heads and associated offshore oil and gas recovery equipment. The tubes feature complex bends of extremely high accuracy, and until now the company has either fabricated them manually or bought them in as pre-formed sub-assemblies.

Siemens Subsea Products produces a wide range of subsea electric, fibre optic and hydraulic power and control systems for offshore oil and gas subsea applications. Its hydraulic workshop at Kongsberg in Norway operates world-class fabrication and assembly processes, producing systems for direct sales and third-party suppliers. As part of its strategy to expand manufacturing capabilities in this specialist field, the company recently reviewed tube bending automation, starting by comparing the performance of a number of leading hydraulic and all-electric tube bending machines.

According to Terje Barth Andersen, Technical Advisor for Subsea Products in Siemens, "It was quickly apparent that electric tube benders offer a number of advantages over hydraulic machines; including more accurate and repeatable results, lower energy consumption and lower noise. In the all-electric sector, Unison's machines stand out from the competition because they allow much faster tool changeover - which is important for us because we produce many of our tubes in very small batch sizes. Another key factor behind our choice was Unison's willingness to develop a machine configuration specifically for our needs."

The tube bender supplied to Siemens Subsea is a 25 mm model based on Unison's popular Breeze platform of all-electric machines, and incorporates a 'rise and fall' pressure die which enables it to perform right- and left-handed bending; this increases manufacturing flexibility and throughput by allowing long and complex parts to be produced from a single length of tubing in one continuous cycle. Installed at Siemens' Kongsberg facility at the end of last year, the machine is currently undergoing commissioning and due to commence operation during January 2013.

The subsea equipment produced by Siemens Subsea is designed for long term deployment - many of the systems have a design life of 30 years and are intended for operation at depths up to and beyond 3,000 metres. As a consequence, the tubes used within the equipment that convey hydraulic fluid for power and control purposes are subject to extremely high internal and external pressures and need to be manufactured to exceptionally high standards. A key requirement is to minimise stressing of the tubes at their bend points - which could lead to in-service failure - by avoiding use of small bend radii. Whereas many conventional tube bending machines are incapable of handling large bend radii, the Unison machine supplied to Siemens features 'full stroke' programmable positioning of the pressure dies and clamps, enabling it to create bends with a CLR (centre-line radius) up to five times the diameter of the tube, with fully automatic set up.

All critical movement axes on the Unison tube bender are controlled by precision servomotors, enabling fast and repeatable fabrication of parts with accuracies to within fractions of a millimetre. The machine is also capable of generating the high torque needed for bending tubes fabricated from exotic alloys such as Inconel, Duplex and Super Duplex, which are used extensively for subsea applications to improve corrosion resistance.

Siemens Subsea's first project involving the Unison machine will be the South Belut Project production of 800 tubes, all made from 316 and requiring complex bends and orbital welding in both ends, for use on umbilical termination units known as MQCs. These are used on various subsea structures, including Christmas trees, and Siemens' versions can accommodate up to 13 hydraulic lines, demanding extremely tight manufacturing tolerances. Each tube is designed on a Inventor 3D CAD system, and the company generally then produces a prototype to verify its accuracy and feed any necessary corrections back into the production process to ensure the quality of subsequent parts. Automating the tube bending process is set to accelerate this procedure - the CAD system and bending machine are linked by a production computer network - and will help Siemens Subsea Products maintain the fully traceable manufacturing records needed for this industry.

Terje Barth Andersen points out that the accuracy and throughput capabilities of Unison's tube bender offer major economic benefits to companies working with expensive materials. "We calculate that the machine will pay for itself in less than two years, based solely on the number of tubes that we can now process in-house instead of purchasing as ready-made parts. Furthermore, the machine's automated set-up capabilities and control software flexibility will help us significantly reduce scrap material by 'right first time' manufacturing. We also envisage selling excess tube bending capacity to the market, making this an even more cost-effective investment."

Steve Haddrell of Unison adds, "This order from Siemens Subsea Products demonstrates a growing awareness of the benefits of all-electric tube bending. The traditional market for high-performance machines of this type is in the aerospace industry, where precision bending of exotic alloy materials is a common requirement. But companies serving the offshore oil and gas industries also face similar demands, as their products are used in ever more hostile environments."

Published inMachinery