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Equipment for Tube Fabrication: A Basic Guide

Equipment for Tube Fabrication: A Basic Guide

What equipment is used in tube fabrication?

  1. Tube Bending Machines
  2. End Forming Machines
  3. Notching Machines
  4. Cutting Machines
  5. Deburring Machines

As the tube industry continues to advance, more and more equipment and techniques are added to fabricators’ repertoire to enhance capabilities, streamline processes, refine production, and improve efficiency. Consequently, nowadays many of those interested in ordering fabricated tubes can get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of machines available for use.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, we’ve got just the thing for you. Here is a list of the common equipment used in tube fabrication to help you understand the tube fabrication process better.

Tube Bending Machines

By far one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment for tube fabricators is a tube bending machine. These machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each is fit for different capabilities, accessories, and features.

Some machines are designed to create simple and small bend radiuses in tubes. Others are used for sharper bends, and others are also used to make wider or more complex shapes. Many different types of tube bends can be performed by the following machines:

  • Press Bending
  • Ram-type Bending
  • Roll Bending
  • Compression Bending
  • Rotary Draw Bending
  • Mandrel Bending
  • Wiper Die Bending

Because these machines vary in the kinds of bends they can create, some machines are more suitable for handling large tubes, complex shapes, and tight bend radii, while others are best left for less demanding applications.

End Forming Machines

End Forming Machines

Another kind of tube fabrication equipment is the end-forming machine. End-forming equipment is used to change the tube’s geometry, usually near the end of the metal form. This is possible through a variety of processes using sand compaction to force the tube into the desired form. The different techniques of end-forming include beading, expansion, grooving, flaring, thickening, and more.

Each of these methods has special requirements and is performed by different tools. Because there are various kinds of end forms, these machines are categorized in four ways:

  • Type of energy used for machine operation — manual, electromagnetic, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic.
  • Way of compacting sand in a frame — manual, squeeze and vibration, jolting, slinging.
  • Method of extracting a model from a frame with sand — frame pin lift, frame flask removal, model broaching, rotary table.
  • Type of executing tasks or finished items — these vary greatly, and some types of machines can create tubes for multiple kinds of applications.

Some end-forming machines also perform multiple types of forming processes, while other machines are more specialized. A tube can undergo this process before or after other forming processes. If end-forming is done first, the tube is typically trimmed and polished into the correct length to fix any discrepancies.

Notching Machines

Notching machines are also used in the tube fabrication process. They are used to notch or punch holes and slots into the tube. This process is necessary for tubes that are to be joined together to form a similar joint.

Notches can be made at the end of the tube, which allows it to be attached to a similar tube design. It can also be performed at the side, creating a tight bend. This process is performed by the following kinds of notching machines:

  • Hole Saw Notchers
  • End Mill Notchers
  • Abrasive Notchers
  • Plasma Notchers
  • Punch Type Notchers

Cutting Machines

Cutting Machines

Similar to notching machines, cutting machines are made to cut tubes. However, this process cuts through the tube entirely. Additionally, there is a wide variety of techniques and methods that can be performed, which are needed depending on the tube’s end-use. Some of these machines are saw setups that quickly perform simple cuts. Others are more complex and use CNC and lasers. The general types of tube cutters are:

  • Ratchet Action
  • Spring Action
  • Hinged Cutters
  • Heavy-duty Cutters
  • Conduit Cutters
  • Enclosed Frame Cutters
  • Telescoping Cutters
  • Square Frame Cutters
  • Laser Cutters

Deburring Machines

Deburring is one of the last processes carried out in tube fabrication. It is performed to remove the small imperfections on the edges of machined tubes. These machines are needed to provide a smooth and reliable tube. Removing these imperfections is possible through various methods performed by machines such as:

  • Manual Deburring Machines
  • Punch Deburring Machines
  • Brushing Machines
  • Electromechanical Deburring Machines
  • Thermal Energy Deburring Machines
  • Vibratory Finishing Machines

In tube fabrication, the most commonly used equipment is the brushing machine. This is because these machines can easily conform to the circumference of the tube, allowing the whole rim to be deburred evenly.

Key Takeaway

The spectrum of equipment used for tube fabrication ranges from simple, manually operated machines to CNC-controlled, multi-step machines capable of producing a finished piece in a matter of seconds.

Because the machines vary so greatly, it is important to understand their differences when choosing how to fabricate your pipe. Need some help? Contact us to learn more about our catalog of fabrication machines and capabilities, or let us help you find the right solution for your application.

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