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Precision Tube Bending

by Last updated Apr 23, 2024 | Published on Aug 25, 2016Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
Precision tube bending is a unique process that takes a very skilled mechanical mindset in order to perform correctly. There are numerous companies that list tube bending within their overall capabilities but few are actually able to perfect the art of precision tube bending .

Precision tube bending is the process of creating tubes that are bent without any inside or outside diameter imperfections, no wrinkling as well as minimum wall thinning and flattening.Precision Tube Bending - Axenics

Precision tube bending

One of the biggest problems in performing tube bending is the elimination of wrinkling in the bend. This unsightly feature occurs on the outside diameter, inside of the bend radius. Wrinkling is a condition that most industries will not tolerate, especially aerospace, semiconductor and medical.

The art of cold bending without wrinkles involves a combination of many factors; exact insertion depth of the mandrel, proper clamp die and backing block pressure, as well as draw speed. Another factor that lends itself to precision tube bending without wrinkles is the use of the right type and viscosity of bending/drawing oil.

The semiconductor industry does not allow any oils to be used in the bending process so welded tees and elbows are used to compensate for tight radius precision tube bending. This procedure is followed because in most cases the inside diameter of tubing for the semiconductor sector is electro-polished.

Electro-polishing is a required process in semiconductor tubing as these tubes usually carry high-purity gas within them and the chance of any material flaking off and contaminating the chip-making process would be disastrous.

The aerospace sector on the other hand, relies heavily on bending/drawing oil in the precision tube bending process. The oils are needed in order to obtain the tube bending tight radiuses without deforming the tubes. The use of welded elbows and tees is a less accepted practice because the aerospace industry strives to have fewer points per tube assembly.

The fact that these tubes are introduced to greater stresses, given the role they play in the aerospace environment, makes them more susceptible to leaks and cracking.

Wall thinning and flattening is another issue that comes into play when performing precision tube bending. Most industries will only tolerate ten percent or less of wall thinning as well as flattening for precision tube bending. This means that the tighter the bend radius, the greater the chances of wall thinning and flattening.

Wall thinning and wrinkling go hand in hand as well because with precision tube bending you are essentially stretching/thinning the outer diameter of the bend while compressing/thickening the inner diameter of the bend.

When the material on the inner diameter of the bend starts to thicken up it will have a much greater tendency to create wrinkles. Controlling this from happening is what precision tube bending is all about.

Precision tube bending also requires that there be no clamp or backing block marks on the tubing. The tube needs to be held tight as it is being pulled around the radius block. There is a fine line between holding it secure enough to make sure it doesn’t slip vs. holding it too tight, putting clamp marks in the outside diameter of the tube.

The art of precision tube bending success is a combination and knowledge of the material being bent as well as the equipment used.

The art of tube bending success is a combination of expert knowledge of the material being bent, skilled expertise, and using the proper equipment during the process. Each of these factors must be aligned in perfect harmony in order to achieve the consistent quality most high-tech industries require for defect-free, bent tubular assemblies.

All these factors have to be set up in perfect harmony in order to obtain the precision tube bending that most high-tech industries require for defect-free bent tubular assemblies.

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