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Plastic bending

by Sep 8, 2021Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Plastic bending happens when thermoplastic tubing is heated and its initial shape is altered with no need for cutting, welding or fittings. The result is a single piece of bent plastic tube featuring a variety of angles and/or number of bends.

Plastic bending is a proven time- and money-saving production method, because there is no need to purchase and install Ts, elbows and other joints in the assembly. It’s a good solution for building systems within limited space or for creating a specific shape of tubing.

Plastic bending process

Raw tubing should be used. Plastic tubing that is professionally cleaned and bagged by trusted suppliers saves time and money. There’s less risk of contamination with professionally cleaned raw plastic tubing. This process reduces the number of contaminants that can enter a clean room as the custom tube bending happens.

Plastic tubes made of Polytetrafluoroethylene, Polypropylene, Polyvinyl Chloride and others bend without compromising the integrity of the material. Common sizes of plastic tubes for bending range from 1/16th-inch to 2-inches in diameter.

It’s crucial that the correct amount of heat is applied consistently during the plastic bending process. This helps avoid kinks developing in the plastic, which hampers the flow rate and potentially slows down production processes. Kinking also allows liquid build up and possibly congealing or drying into the kink, forcing manufacturing companies to constantly clean and sterilize their piping to clear out the trapped liquid.

Industries such as semiconductor manufacturing and alternative energy require the highest level of purity for finished components. To achieve those results, plastic bending for those clients takes place in a cleanroom. 

Through years of experimentation, Axenics’ technicians developed tube bending equipment and techniques with better performance than “standard tube bending.” These proprietary techniques and tooling options help achieve tighter tolerances and accomplish more modifications than conventional tooling and procedures. Custom tooling achieves the exact bend radius, angle and design required in a repeatable process. It’s also possible to bend any length of thermoplastic tubing.

Plastic tubing kits facilitate the movement of liquids and gases from one area of a manufacturing system to another in one clean, clear shot. This expedites transport around components and other obstacles in a production system. End connections for tubing assemblies can simply mate with the connections already installed in an existing production space.

Plastic bending for high-purity results

Bending high-purity plastic tubes is a good option for production systems that transport corrosive liquids or volatile chemicals. Savvy manufacturers utilizing plastic tubes for high-purity applications know there’s a smaller chance of contaminants getting into gas and liquid supplies versus some metal tubing systems. Metal tubes potentially suffer from flaking welds when high-pressure gas and liquids flow through them.

Bent plastic tubing also holds up well against vibrations when placed into large machinery. Vibration fatigue and failure can be a problem with some moving mechanical systems and equipment.

Plastic bending benefits and properties

  • The efficiency of plastic bending increases a manufacturer’s production capabilities without raising costs since there is less raw material required for plastic fabrication and fewer – if not zero – fittings required.
  • Precision bending on plastic tubing decreases the likelihood of potential leaks via welded joints.
  • Bent plastic tubes generally integrate into a manufacturer’s existing machinery without compromising the integrity of either the tubes or systems.

Keep in mind, the exact plastic used for a manufacturing project depends on the temperature fluctuations within the production environment. Extreme heat can cause thermoplastic relaxing, which can weaken your system with cracks, fissures or tube breaks.

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