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Perfect tube bending with zero wrinkles

by Published on Mar 22, 2024Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

What happens when you’re faced with tube bending for a manufacturing application? At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like a complex process given you have the necessary equipment on-site. But consider this scenario: Your technician slots the tube into the mandrel tube bender without verifying the tube’s thickness or adjusting the die pressure correctly.

The result? On bending, you’re met with wrinkles along the inside bend radius.  

For OEMs in areas like semiconductor fabrication or the creation of medical devices, wrinkles on these bent tubes are unacceptable and mean wasted resources.

Why? Wrinkles can trigger fatigue in both metal and plastic materials, which leads to cracks or a complete failure of the material. This poses issues especially when the tube is part of an assembly that endures high pressure from liquids or gasses. 

Regrettably, the occurrence of wrinkles is common during pipe and tube bending. Being aware of why these defects happen and identifying the correct ways to sidestep them are crucial for ensuring your tubes are bent successfully.

Understanding the Origin of Wrinkling

The intent of utilizing a mandrel tube bender is to avert the wrinkling that can mar the inner aspect of pipes and tubes. The mandrel’s purpose is to remain static as the tube’s external radius is subjected to force; this force is what variates the shape of the pipe into the required bend. 

The reasons that pipes wrinkle are varied. It might be something as elementary as the pipe being unclamped during the application of pressure, or the mandrel not being inserted sufficiently within the pipe to facilitate a smooth bend.

The wrinkling problem might also arise when the applied pressure is inadequate – or too much. There can be other causes too like the incorrect placement of the wiper die; wear and tear of the wiper die; improper lubrication; or too much of a gap between the mandrel and the pipe.

Addressing the Wrinkling Challenge

While making adjustments to your tube bending process, you might have to try different solutions before finding the best fit. It’s common to start by ramping up the tube pressure. After all, more pressure should result in a tighter tube, preventing room for wrinkles during the draw. 

But, if escalating the pressure doesn’t yield results and wrinkles still appear, then there are other areas to scrutinize. Pay attention to the mandrel insertion rate, consider the volume of lube in use, and inspect the wiper die’s status – these might also be the root of your issue. 

Alternatively, the trouble may lie in the mandrel selection related to the specific metal you’re attempting to shape. A golden rule to keep in mind: opt for a soft mandrel when working with rigid tubing and a hard mandrel when bending more pliable tubing.

Wrinkles Are More Than Just Aesthetic Problems

A wrinkled tube is not something you want to use in your production. If bending your own tube in-house is becoming a challenge, it may be time to consider a partner.  

With Axenics’ top-grade CNC bender and diverse team of skilled technicians, we effectively eliminate tube wrinkling. Moreover, mandrel tube bending is a reliably consistent process. 

Mandrel tube benders can prevent internal tube wrinkling by remaining static as the tube’s outer radius is subjected to pressure, thereby creating the desired bend. 

Assured Quality in Tube Bending and Pipe Bending

Given the various defects that could arise in pipe and tube bending, it might be more economical and straightforward to enlist the services of a dependable component manufacturing company like Axenics, allowing you to minimize material waste.

Our seasoned professionals assure flawless bending, every single time, a result of their extensive technical experience. We also perform regular maintenance and recalibration on our equipment to guarantee consistent precision. 

Another key advantage of choosing pipe bending services from contract manufacturing firms like Axenics is our Class 100 cleanroom. This ensures that, where required, each pipe and tube is bent following a sterile process. Such a service is valued by OEMs across various sectors where tube contamination can jeopardize the functionality of assembly systems or final products.

So, when you choose Axenics for your pipe or tube bending needs, you’re guaranteed a robust and reliable bent tube that matches your specifications, every single time.

Do you have low-pressure canisters that need to be requalified?

Axenics is DOT certified for this type of testing. Contact Us to learn more.

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