Tube-Bending Machines Make DebutOctober 1, 2010
UK-based Unison Ltd., represented in the United States by Horn Machine Tools, Madera, CA, introduces a new family of all-electric tube-bending machines. Incorporating a real-time Ethernet control-system architecture and a major new release of programming and control software, the machines take the advanced shape-forming capability and flexibility of servomotor-controlled bending to a new level.
Company officials say that the new Breeze machines bend more quickly than previous generations of electric benders; exploit advanced multi-axis synchronization capabilities to support sophisticated rollforming; improve the tool adjustments that can be employed during the bending cycle to generate ultra-precise part shapes; and offer a visual collision-checking programming feature as standard. The machines also feature an open architecture that is easily adapted to integrate application-specific capability or to build workcells.
At the heart of the Breeze machines is a real-time machine and motion system based on the Ethernet-compatible Powerlink protocol. The speed of the network makes it possible to rapidly coordinate the movement of the various servomotor axes used during bending, such as the carriage, plane of bend and clamp roller. Bend quality and wall thickness can be improved thanks to finer real-time control over the motion profiles used by key bending axes, which move as the rotary draw bending process takes place, such as the carriage and the follower die. Other benefits include improved diagnostics and data collection that can assist with programming and maintenance; and easy connection to factory networks for changing programs, reporting production metrics, etc.
Among dozens of new and improved features in v10 of Unison’s Unibend software package is a collision-checking feature that helps users program the machine for new parts. Bending operations are visualized using a 3D model of the machine. If they note any potential collision problems, bend sequences can be reversed, and intervening carriage and rotation movements can be employed to ensure the part can be easily manufactured.
Horn Machine Tools: 559/431-4131; www.hornmachinetools.com
See also: Horn Machine Tools, Inc.