A tube bending machine, also known as a tube bender, is a type of forming machine that deals with the forming of tubes or tube-like products. Tube bending machines are usually used for shaping metal workpieces for a variety of applications, such as exhaust pipes for cars or piping systems for water supply, etc.
The process of tube bending is not merely to make an arch on a tube. In fact, when using a tube bending machine, there are several things to consider in order for the optimal result the machine can contribute to. For example, when convenience and costs are what may be considered, press benders would be a perfect choice. Besides, when product consistency is a significant consideration, mandrel benders would be more suitable than other types. Simply speaking, one type of bending machine that is perfect for a specific application may not be suitable for another, as there are both pros and cons for each one of them, and we will discuss it in the following paragraphs.
To perform the tube bending process, the two main bending tools are the dies and rollers. The dies can be regarded as the prototypes of the products, which determine how the products would be like after operations, and the forms of them differ depending on the type of tube bending machine being used. As for the rollers, they are especially used on roll benders, which create naturally create the arches of tubes as the workpieces pass through them.
The press bender is the most conventional form of tube bending machine. It utilizes a die, which looks like that for forming sheet metal, to be the bending tool. As the compressive force is given to the workpiece, a tube is bent through the cavity of the die.
This type of tube bending machine also uses dies as the bending tool. What differs from the press bender is the number of dies and the bending mechanism it applies. On a rotary draw bender, there would be several dies used at the same time. The clamping die holds the workpiece in place, and the pressure die provides compressive force for the workpiece. In addition, it is the radius die that helps shape the tube as it is drawn from one end to another end.
Different from the above two types, the roll bender uses rollers as the bending tools. There will be at least three rollers arranged on the tube bending machine. As the workpiece is fed through the intervals of the rollers, it would be formed through the radii of the rollers. In other words, it is the arrangement of the rollers that determines how the arches on the tubes are presented.
As mentioned above, one type of tube bending machine that is perfect for one task may not be suitable for another. Although press benders and roll benders are relatively less expensive, it takes time and is hard for them to meet the maximum accuracy of the bending process. In contrast, for the rotary draw benders or the advanced form, which is with a mandrel to ensure product consistency, they work faster but cost more than the other types accordingly. Therefore, before deciding which tube bending machine to invest, choose the one that meets the requirements of your works the most.
No matter which tube bending machine is applied for the required tasks, the two main factors that make the success or failure of the process are bending range and tolerance. Bending range can be referred to the angles that the tube bending machine is available to bend for the workpieces, and tolerance is the acceptable variance of the bending results.
Although the tube bending machines with a wider bending range seem to be more versatile for accomplishing most of the tasks, there is still a limit to the availability of workpieces. For instance, some thin-wall tubes are not allowed to be bent with higher radii, as they may be broken. Besides, when using a tube bending machine, make sure the bending angles are within the maximum and minimum limits so as to make the optimal results.
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