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Bay-Area Fabricator Banks
on CNC Electric Tube Bender

Thursday, December 16, 2010
SF Tube, Hayward, CA, a tube and pipe subcontractor with more than 20 bending machines, has added an all-electric software-controlled tube bender to its arsenal. The machine, from UK manufacturer Unison, allows the company to produce more complex tubular shapes than it can using its hydraulic machines, say company officials. These complex shapes include rotary-draw bent and rollformed curves, performed in a single machining operation—parts that in some cases used to require successive operations on as many as three different machines. The firm notes one example—a highly styled handrail for buses and trains that it now forms on the Unison machine at a 70-percent labor reduction. More at; SF Tube is online at

Virtual Passenger-Car Optimization Reduces Mass
by 15-20 Percent, Without Compromises

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
A joint project of the U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership and Auto/Steel Partnership to use computer modeling to optimize use of advanced-high-strength steels in a vehicle passenger compartment illustrates no-compromise lightweighting by as much as 20 percent. The model, which calls for new load paths (transverse tubes that directly absorb side-impact forces) within the front seat, simultaneously optimizes geometry, grade and gauge. An important note: not only were researchers able to considerably reduce mass without compromising structural integrity, but they also achieved cost parity—“We used a higher grade of steel, but we used less,” says project co-chair Joe Polewarczyk. More at and

Steel-Service Center Adds
Third Robotic-Cutting Cell

Monday, December 13, 2010
AT&F Steel, Cleveland, OH, a steel-service center and provider of custom metal-fabricating services, has installed its third robotic-cutting system. The new setup boasts contour-beveling capabilities via a six-axis torch-wielding robot (plasma or oxyfuel) and a laser-guided camera system. Cutting speed peaks at 300 in./min, with beveling from 0 to 60 deg. Cutting table: 13 by 50 ft. More at


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