Tube bending involves the production of parts using tubing as a raw material. Bending, forming, drilling, welding and other processes are used to create the finished product. A muffler shop is an example of the type of business that would use tube bending regularly. Tube size refers to the inside diameter of the cylinder and tubes are generally smaller and less rigid than pipe is. There are several materials that can be bent including aluminum, brass, stainless steel, nickel alloy and PVC. Professional tube bending machines are expensive to buy because they control all aspects of the bending process at once: aspects like tubing support, clamping, steady bending action and accurate alignment all at the same time.
Tube bending processes
Mandrel Bending is when a mandrel is inserted into the tube and positioned during bending. The mandrel is pulled through the tube so that the shape is maintained and the bends are not deformed.
Rotary Draw Bending is the most widely used method of bending pipe & tube today, particularly for tight radii and for thin wall material. Advantages include maximum control of wall thinning and ovality.
Ram Bending is one of the oldest and simplest methods of mechanical bending. Ram bending uses a die and a hydraulic ram for bending. The tube is placed in the die and the ram, which contains the other half of the die, presses into the tube to push it around the radius. Ram action forces the pipe against two fixed rollers or pivot blocks to bend around the die. Large sweeping curves can be bent in small increments, moving the pipe for each bend.
Compression Bending is the process whereby pipe or tube is bent to reasonably tight radii, usually without the use of mandrel or precision tooling. It is accomplished by clamping the workpiece behind the rear tangent point and then by means of a rotary arm rolling or compressing the material around and onto a die.
Roll Bending & Coiling - Roll bending uses three powered rollers, with the center roller applying pressure in a downward motion. A drawback of roll bending is that the inside of the tube is not supported.
Making coils is an art. Tight radius coils are often made on draw bending equipment or, for small diameter pipe and tube, by winding the material onto a suitable cylinder to form the coil on a drum. Usually coils are made by machinery designed for coiling. The pipe is fed between three rollers - the center drive roller and two powered or idler side rollers.
Stretch Forming is a metal forming technique for creating complex and severe bends in sheet and extrusion stock without localized buckling and wrinkling. Very importantly, it reduces or eliminates compressive loads in the part during forming. Eliminating compression lets more severe and complex bends be obtained economically.
Heat Induction / Hot Slab Bending - Both processes require the heating of pipe, tube or structural shapes. Heat Induction bending is typically a higher cost bending process and is primarily used in large diameter material.
Hydroforming uses fluid pressure to form tubular ferrous materials into the shape of the die. This process allows for severe shape deformation and usually produces stronger pieces with uniform thickness.
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