Category Archive: Uncategorized

Understanding Tube Bending Fundamentals

Tube bending is the process of bending a tube or a pipe to create the curves and shapes required for a particular application. For many projects, bent tubes are more useful than straight ones: handles and railings, trombones, HVAC equipment, automotive parts, furniture frames, and more. Tube bending can be a cold form or hot form process, depending upon the needs of the application.

Cold Form Tube Bending
Cold form tube bending is a quick process that doesn’t require any additional heat and instead relies on physical force to create the curve. While cold bending may have its limitations, it’s an affordable choice that’s used in the construction, shipbuilding, bridge building, automotive, food processing, and petrochemical industries, among others.

With cold form tube bending, you can create components with large radii and multiple angles. There is no risk of thermal deformation and the original metal properties remain intact.

There are five commonly used cold bending processes:

  • Press Bending. In press bending, the tube is fixed in place and the bend die is pressed against the tube to create the curve. This long-used technique is quick and reliable for symmetrical parts that don’t require a consistent cross-section.
  • Rotary Draw Bending. Commonly used for pipe fittings, handrails, instrument tubing, and components for automotive and aerospace applications, rotary draw bending is used for precise bends with a constant diameter.
  • Compression Bending. Because the setup is simpler, compression bending is more economical than rotary draw bending. However, it can’t be used for small center-line radii due to the lack of support for the inner diameter of the tube during the bending process.
  • Roll Bending. The tube is worked back and forth on a set of rotating rollers, which gradually create the bend radius. Roll bending is used to make spiral tubes and bends in large tubes.
  • Bending Springs. Used for PVC and soft copper pipes, bending springs are placed into the tube and gently pulled from each side to create the bend. It’s not especially accurate or repeatable, but it’s simple, fast, and useful for household tube bending projects when consistency isn’t required.

Hot Form Tube Bending

Though more complex and expensive than cold forming, hot form tube bending processes, including heat induction bending and sand packing hot-slab bending, allow for high-accuracy forming to meet your exact specifications. The resulting component offers excellent strength, and the material retains its thickness. For complex projects with tight tolerances that require exceptional accuracy and repeatability, hot form bending is a popular choice. It’s used for components in the agricultural, mining, automotive, plumbing, and construction industries, among others.

Freeform Tube Bending

Freeform bending is an innovative tube bending method that uses a movable die capable of bending complex parts without needing to change the bending tool. The technique is ideal for multi-radius bends with very little distance in between and angles of more than 180 degrees. It’s easy to make modifications to the project as you work, which makes it an excellent method for prototyping. Roll bending is a type of freeform bending.

Form Bound Tube Bending

Form bound tube bending is a technique that bends or forms the tubing based on the geometry of the die. It can be manual or performed with machines and includes techniques like rotary draw bending, compression bending, and mandrel bending.

Tube Bending from TBSI

At TBSI, we leverage years of experience in tube bending to meet the needs of a variety of applications. With competitive pricing, quick lead times, and personalized service, we’re committed to helping you solve project challenges and deliver effective solutions. Contact us to learn more about tube bending, CNC forming, wire forming, and other forming solutions, or request a quote for your project today.

Welding Automation

Automation capitalizes on technological advancements to efficiently manage machinery and processes, with the ultimate goals of increasing production speeds and output, all while ensuring quality products and reducing costs. Welding automation, also known as robotic welding, is one of the more widely used robotic applications in the industrial sector. The process typically utilizes a robotic arm with three-dimensional capabilities for movement, replacing manual labor with technology and controlling a welding torch to unite materials or components into one assembly. Manufacturers often use this advantageous automated process when carrying out high-volume and repetitive welding tasks.

Benefits of Welding Automation

Welding is already present in virtually every industry. Automating the process offers operations a wealth of benefits, including:

  • Increased efficiency and output. Robotic welding significantly improves upon the rate of manual operations, allowing companies to increase production speeds and make better use of their workforce in other areas.
  • Decreased opportunities for human error. No matter how much training welders receive, the human workforce will never be immune to making mistakes. Automated processes are more reliably consistent.
  • Versatility. Automated systems are more flexible in that users can configure them as they please, moving or modifying their placement when necessary.
  • Improved safety conditions for staff. Automated welding improves the safety of a facility because workers will not expose themselves to hazardous environments.
  • Budgetary advantages. Increased productivity equates to higher profits. Also, eliminating human error saves on raw material waste and the production time involved in reworking.

Common Welding Automation Processes

Manufacturers have a variety of robotic welding options to choose from when selecting the ideal automated process. The following methods can be semi- or fully automated for faster production and improved accuracy:

  • Metal inert gas (MIG) welding. To generate a welded joint with automated MIG welding, a continuous, solid wire electrode passes quickly through a welding gun and then into the weld pool. A shielding gas safeguards the weld pool against contaminants. This economical arc welding method is also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW).
  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Another arc welding technique, versatile TIG welding utilizes tungsten electrodes for high-quality welded joints. It is an ideal method for creating joints between thin or small components.
  • Dual-shield welding. This type of arc welding generates an arc that passes between a consumable electrode and the weld pool, which receives protection from an external shielding gas and an electrode’s internal flux. It’s also referred to as flux core arc welding (FCAW).
  • Grid welding. This form of welding uses a pattern board for the precise positioning of individual wires as they go through welding machinery. The weld creates wire mesh by combining orthogonal wire pairs in a grid configuration.
  • Pulsed welding. This form of welding uses both low and high currents, switching between the two during production. It’s applicable for a range of material thicknesses for good versatility, and it also improves material resistance and minimizes heat input.
  • Spot welding. Spot welding combines heat from an electric current and pressure to melt metal sheets and join them together. The pressure is not released until the joint is set, and no filler material is required for the process.

Robotic welding processes can also incorporate things like automated remote welding, joint locating, weld seam tracking, process simulation, and offline system programming for more flexible manufacturing operations and greater process control.

Future of Welding Automation

Trained human welders will continue to have a place in welding processes. Often, they can better handle specialized tasks, or a single operator may oversee multiple processes or pieces of equipment working in sync. However, welding automation continues to grow in manufacturing as it can streamline the process and offer so many benefits to an operation. Assembly lines, in particular, are capitalizing on automated processes like welding to increase efficiency and repeatable production.

Another type of robotic welding that is gaining in popularity is laser welding. This newer technology utilizes a high-powered beam of light to create the heat needed to rapidly melt and weld metal components together. The process currently struggles with dense or thick metals, so this is an area in which laser welding innovations would be useful.

Automated Solutions From TBSI

At Taylor Business Strategies, Inc., we offer expert manufacturing solutions to customers in a variety of industrial sectors, with an emphasis on welding. TBSI offers a range of robotic welding capabilities to meet varying needs, such as MIG, TIG, dual-shield, grid, pulsed, and spot welding. We complement our services with fast lead times and affordable prices to best serve our customers.

Are you running into production limitations in your welding project? Contact us today to request a quote and learn more about TBSI and the services we offer.

Tube Laser Cutting vs. CNC Saw Cutting

When it comes to manufacturing precision components, CNC saw machines and tube laser cutting machines are two advantageous equipment options. Both automated systems utilize set instructions within a computer program to rapidly generate products, even in high-volume production runs. While both pieces of equipment can handle jobs demanding intricate cutting, each has distinct capabilities and benefits, so it is helpful to understand the differences to determine which one is the best choice for a specific application.

What Is CNC Sawing?

Manual saw cutting was once considered the standard method for fabricating components. In computerized numerical control (CNC) sawing, a physical saw blade uses friction and automation to cut through thick materials like metal and plastic. Depending upon the application, saw blades for CNC cutting include circular, band, and miter saws.

Manufacturers can create a design file using computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, which integrates with the CNC saw cutting machine. A computer then guides the cutting implement with optimum performance and output speed while reducing the risk of operator injury.

What Is Tube Laser Cutting?

Modern technology has opened the door for tube laser cutting, a non-contact technique that uses a laser’s heat to quickly and efficiently cut through materials. Manufacturers commonly use this flexible process to cut tubes ranging in size, shape, material type, and thickness to desired lengths, or bore holes or design features into tubing surfaces. Operators also have the option of producing either two- or three-dimensional designs with two- or three-axis tube laser cutters.

Tube laser cutting is an ideal method for consistent repeatability, providing superior precision and smooth edges in its cuts. This reduces the need for secondary finishing. That, and the fact that laser cutting equipment can handle both general and design-specific cutting on a single machine, provides cost-saving efficiency.

What Materials Are Best to Use for a CNC Saw vs. a Tube Laser?

One of the most significant advantages of a CNC sawing machine is that it can cut through thicker materials that other cutting techniques can’t. Materials that are ideal for CNC sawing include:

  • Acrylic
  • Aluminum, steel, and metal plate
  • Composite material
  • Plastic
  • Wood

Alternatively, compatible materials for tube laser cutting include:

  • Aluminum, titanium, and other metals or steel alloys
  • Corrugated substrates
  • Plastic
  • Wood

Cost Difference Between Laser and Saw Cutting

Many manufacturers assume that CNC sawing is the most cost-effective method of the two, but they must consider several factors, including any material and tolerance requirements, when choosing the most affordable and effective process for the job. Unlike saw machining, laser cutting has the potential to be a dual operation that offers reduced costs when a task requires multiple cuts. Eliminating the need for secondary finishing can provide cost savings as well. However, while laser cutting machines necessitate less maintenance than CNC sawing machines, they consume more energy. Manufacturers must weigh the advantages of each for determining the ideal process to meet a specific application’s requirements.

Partner With TBSI

When selecting the right cutting technique for your application, consider the material and the number of cuts and, importantly, employ an operator with years of experience in metal manufacturing to achieve superior quality. Taylor Business Strategies, Inc. has been fabricating high-performance components since 1998, drawing on an extensive supplier network for the best results.

Offering quick lead times, competitive pricing, and nearly unlimited capacity, TBSI provides agile sourcing solutions while taking a problem-solving approach on all projects. In addition to CNC sawing and tube laser cutting, our capabilities include flat laser cutting, waterjet cutting, CNC plasma and router cutting, torching or flame cutting, and shearing. TBSI has access to more than 50 lasers within our supply chain, including six tube lasers that can cut tube lengths of 30 feet.

Contact our experienced team today to learn more about how TBSI can help your business with all of your steel fabrication needs, or request a quote to begin your project.

 

MIG vs. TIG Welding

Welding is the process of joining separate parts together with heat and/or pressure, and it’s commonly used on metal, wood, and thermoplastics. Many welding processes, including arc welding, use fillers to help form the weldment. Two common types of arc welding are MIG welding and TIG welding, and each offers advantages in specific applications. We’ll discuss those unique advantages and disadvantages here, as well as distinguish the two processes to help you determine which one is best for your project.

What Is MIG Welding?

MIG welding, or metal inert gas welding, is also known as GMAW (gas metal arc welding). This type of arc welding uses a consumable electrode wire that creates an arc with the workpiece and melts to form the filler. To protect the weld pool from contamination, MIG welding uses a shielding gas like argon, helium, carbon dioxide, or oxygen.

MIG welding is fast and efficient for welding a variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon steel. This is the most popular type of welding because it’s easy to learn and delivers high-quality results. This process commonly produces automotive and piping products.

What Is TIG Welding?

Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is also called gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Instead of using a consumable wire, TIG welding applies a tungsten electrode to melt the workpieces together directly or with a handheld filler rod. The shielding gas for TIG welding is typically argon.

The TIG welding process is more complex than MIG welding, so it requires a highly skilled and experienced technician. The resulting welds are exceptional in strength and aesthetics.

What Are the Basic Differences Between MIG and TIG Welding?

There are some key differences between MIG vs. TIG welding, and those differences determine which technique is best for a particular application:

  • Training: MIG is easier to learn, while TIG takes more time and practice to master.
  • Materials: MIG welding works well with most metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and copper. TIG welding can work with these materials too, but it cannot be used for ferrous metals.
  • Shielding gas: The right shielding gas varies according to workpiece material and type of welding. The gas for TIG welding is typically 100% argon or argon with a small amount of helium or hydrogen. The gas for MIG welding is usually 75% argon with 25% carbon dioxide. MIG welding on aluminum requires 100% argon shielding gas.
  • Speed: MIG welding is generally faster than TIG welding.
  • Strength: Though TIG welding is often believed to create stronger joints, both types can produce strong, durable welds with the right technique.
  • Heating process: In the TIG welding process, the welder can control the amperage with a foot pedal, precisely adjusting the heat in real time.

MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding: Pros and Cons

A comparison of MIG welding and TIG welding reveals certain benefits and drawbacks that may have varying degrees of importance to your application:

  • Speed: MIG welding can create welds faster than TIG welding, resulting in faster production cycle times.
  • Complexity: TIG welding is complicated and requires more cleaning, but it provides deeper material penetration than MIG welding.
  • Aesthetics: MIG welding generally produces a less tidy weld than TIG welding, but this may not matter if the weld is hidden from view or appearance is not important to the application.
  • Cost: MIG welding is less expensive, mostly because it takes far less time to do.
  • Sealing efficacy: TIG welding is preferred for sealing welds.

Ultimately, the best choice between MIG and TIG welding depends upon your materials, budget, aesthetic requirements, type of weld, and timeline.

MIG Welding and TIG Welding Services From TBSI

At Taylor Business Strategies, Inc. (TBSI), we offer a variety of welding services, including MIG, TIG, robotic, grid, dual shield, pulsed, and spot welding. To learn more about welding or our other capabilities, request a quote today.