If you’ve ever heard of the tube bending process, you may be unfamiliar with what that term means. Tube bending is a phrase used to refer to the process of forming, bending and shaping metal tubing, typically tubes made from steel, titanium, aluminum, or other materials. This process is often done using CNC tube bending equipment, which is a computerized way of programming manufacturing jobs. CNC, or computer numerical control, machinery allows manufacturers to set the specifications necessary to create a product.
When it comes to CNC tube bending machinery, the process is very similar to manual tube bending processes. First, the calculations needed to bend the tube at a precise angle need to be completed. Computers can often gather these figures faster, so this is where CNC equipment comes in handy.
Second, the tube needs to be inserted into the machine. In some cases, a tube bending mandrel will be used to ensure that the tube isn’t crushed while it’s being shaped. A mandrel is sort of like a steel rod that prevents a pipe or tube from collapsing. The tube is formed around a die, which is sort of like a mold, and it’s held in place by a block or clamp. From there, the tube can be bent to just about any degree needed, and even designed in spirals or other shapes.
Using the calculations for tube bending, usually derived from very specific formulas, a CNC tube bending machine operator can specify how the tube should be constructed and bent. From there, on a CNC machine, jobs can be programmed and settings can be stored to complete as many tubes as possible. Other processes related to tube bending are tube forming and tube end forming, which can also be done on CNC equipment.
Why must tubes be bent according to a formula? For many objects, it’s possible that a tube won’t do what it’s designed to do if it’s not shaped correctly. For example, some pipes are made to transfer fuel in automobiles and jets. If the tube isn’t formed correctly, the fuel might not get from the tank to the engine as needed. Other objects could potentially break more easily if a tube isn’t constructed from the right material. Something that’s meant for strength, like bars on windows, could be at risk for damage if they aren’t formed correctly.
Want to know more about tube bending? Talk to a tube bend machine manufacturer, visit a tube bending website, or leave a comment below.