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Laser-Controlled Tube Bender Compensates for Springback

Friday, August 01, 2008
 
Unison, a UK-based manufacturer of tube-bending machines, has commissioned
Laser-Controlled tube bender compensates for springback
a laser-controlled tube-bending machine for Uber Precision Manufacturing, a contract manufacturer based in Lynchburg, VA. A laser-measurement system controls the machine’s electronically actuated bending axes to ensure that tube is bent without scrap—overcoming the common problem caused by variations in the springback characteristics of materials. The new machine bends tubular parts to accuracies of 0.1 deg. or better, and in small batches, according to company officials.

The Unison tube bender is a multi-stack machine capable of bending tube diameters as large as 4 in. It complements Uber’s other equipment including two 4-kW laser-cutting machines with 3D capability, one dedicated to tubing.

Laser-controlled tube bender“Flexibility was a critical goal with this tube-bending installation,” says Stephen Brown of Horn Machine Tools, Madera, CA, Unison’s U.S. partner. “The machine has to manufacture perfect products even in batch sizes down to one or two. Also critical was the ability to quickly change tools and reconfigure the machine, as was accuracy and repeatability. The large multi-stack system accommodates tools for as many as three different jobs.”

Unison’s noncontact measurement system measures bend angles by monitoring changes in the reflection distance of two laser beams. In operation, it takes a reference measurement from the straight edge of the tubing. After bending, the system automatically commands the clamping die to move away to allow the material to spring to its natural position. It then takes a second measurement to calculate actual bend angle. Any variation from the programmed angle is displayed, along with a simple selection button that commands the machine to automatically regrip the tube and apply an additional force to achieve the required angle, accounting for the actual springback characteristics of the material based on the first bend.

Unison North America/Horn Machine Tools: 559/431-4131; www.hornmachinetools.com

 

See also: Horn Machine Tools, Inc.

Related Enterprise Zones: Fabrication


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