CNC Tube Bending
Axenics offers Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) pipe bending services for larger bends and for customers requesting high-quantity tube and pipe bending services. We have the ability to work with all of the major alloys, including; copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and Inconel.
A CNC bending machine creates wrinkle-free bends in metal tubes, allowing liquids or gasses to flow through tubing seamlessly. It’s the most-precise bending process for metal tubing. While each CNC tube bending machine is different, here’s an example of the CNC tube bending process on an electric/hydraulic CNC tube bending machine (a common choice for CNC bending):
- The metal tube is sized and it receives a clean, dry cut (no oils).
- The cut piece of tube is inserted into the bender’s mandrel and is clamped down.
- The CNC tube bender operator loads the program that includes the part number that informs the bending machine of the proper bend.
- The CNC operator presses a foot pedal to begin the process (which is part of the safety features of a bender).
- The tube bends in less than one minute using the sheer force of the bender.
A hybrid electric/hydraulic bender combines electric drive bending with hydraulic bending actuation. This type of CNC bender is environmentally friendly and consumes a small amount of power and produces low noise and heat. The clamp and pressure die of the CNC bender are hydraulic driven while the mandrel is hydraulic with early withdrawal.
Benefits of CNC Tube Bending
CNC tube bending provides a more precise, automatic, and repeatable process than manual tube bending. Compared with manual bending, CNC tube bending machines can accurately control the degree of a bend, the distances between bends, and the plane of the bend. CNC tube bending allows for maximum accuracy due to its higher degree of control within the process. This computerized and automated tube bending process makes it possible to perform more complex bending processes than manual bending, and increases overall operational efficiency.
Additional benefits include:
- Using a CNC bending machine, welds, joints and expensive fixtures are eliminated from a complex assembly system.
- CNC bending is a cleaner option compared to other bending/welding processes.
- Projects are generally less expensive as fewer fittings equals a lower overall cost. If you can eliminate five fittings from each of your 10 systems, you can effectively eliminate the cost of 50 fittings.
- Eliminating welds and joints within a system also eliminates the risk of leaks that may occur in welded or jointed complex assembly systems.
- The semiconductor industry benefits from building systems without the wall thinning that can occur in welded systems. With CNC tube bending, the integrity of the materials is maintained.
- CNC tube bending also produces a much smoother finish than other processes. Depending on how the system is being implemented, an engineer may prefer a system that looks better cosmetically.
- Fewer bends in a system minimize flow restrictions for chemicals and liquids that may otherwise get trapped in joints or sharp corners.
- Precision tube pipe systems are produced faster and more precisely on CNC bending machines, allowing time savings of up to 95 percent.
Experts in Tube & Pipe Bending
Our highly-trained bend technicians are capable of CNC bending a wide range of bend radii. Our experts have many years of experience and knowledge, which allows them to provide the most accurate bends possible. Once complete, all of our bends are leak tested before they leave the facility as a part of our strict ISO quality policy.
Axenics CNC Tube Bending Machine
The Horn Metric TBRE Hybrid CNC Bender offers dual stack tooling with mandrel bending and roll bending, which allows the machine to mandrel-bend tight radius and roll-form large radius sweeps on the top stack. It uses servo electric bending and servo tube positioning, combined with hydraulic tooling actuation to maximize the energy applied during the bending process.
We use a dual stack hydraulic tube bender with roll forming capabilities to implement a variety of CNC tube bending services. Our CNC bender executes both simple and complex bends of up to 2” diameter tubes.
The primary metal tubing bent on the CNC tube bender is 300-series stainless steel, known for its ease of bending and for not cracking, breaking or causing wrinkling within the tube – resulting in virtually no change to the internal finish of the tubing.
The CNC50-TBRE also bends aluminum, copper, Inconel and other metal alloys.
Axenics’ CNC50TBRE Hybrid CNC Tube Bending Radius Chart
|Tubing Outside Diameter (OD)||Material||Radius||Radius|
|0.25", 6.35mm, ¼-inch||Stainless steel||.5", 12.7mm, ½-inch||.5625", 14.28mm, 9/16-inch|
|.375", 9.52mm, ⅜-inch||Stainless steel and Copper||.9375", 23.8mm, 15/16-inch|
|.5", 12.7mm, ½-inch||Stainless steel||.5", 12.7mm, ½-inch||1.5", 38mm, 1 ½-inches|
|.75", 19mm, ¾-inch||Stainless steel and Aluminum||1.125", 28.5mm, 1 -⅛" inches|
|1", 25.4mm, 1-inch||Stainless steel and Aluminum||1.5", 38mm, 1 ½-inches|
|1.25", 31.75mm, 1 ¼-inches||Stainless steel and Inconel||2", 50.8mm, 2-inches|
|1.5", 38mm, 1 ½-inches||Stainless steel||2.25", 57.15mm, 2 ¼-inches|
Uncover benefits of tube bending for your next project
Save time and money while getting top quality
Here are a few key reasons why you should consider CNC tube bending for your next project:
If you’re looking to keep costs down, while still achieving quality results, CNC tube bending is a cost-efficient solution to consider. Precision tube bending allows manufacturers to eliminate the need to purchase a large number of joints and fixtures that are required with joint welding, the cost of which can add up quickly.
The CNC bender also allows for tube bending processes to be primarily automated, eliminating the need for a large staff of welding technicians. Most bends can be performed by the machine and checked after the fact by a bending technician, which cuts down on labor costs throughout the course of your project, especially in cases of high-volume orders.
Because the machine can automate much of the process, there is far less manual labor involved, which allows the process to move along more quickly. Because CNC tube bending eliminates the need for using joints and fixtures to connect and secure components, labor can be saved here as well.
In addition, the precision with which a CNC bending machine is able to perform allows for consistent and accurate bends, which will cut down on time spent having to fix or “re-do” welds that don’t meet quality standards. Custom bends can also be performed easily and provide a more efficient and faster solution to fitting unique spaces and designs.
Precise Bending Capabilities
Our CNC tube bender uses the latest software technology and hardware available. A PC based computer system utilizing BendPro software, enables Axenics CNC tube bender to perform difficult sweep bending anywhere along the tube geometry. The possibility of defects in your piping kits is greatly diminished using this method, plus, by not having welds or joints as part of the finished piping, leaks are not a problem.
The machine can also perform part simulation and automatic conversion from X.Y.Z. coordinate data (Cartesian coordinates) to Y.B.C. (Bend Program) working datum, or vice versa. STEP and IGIS files can also be imported directly into the control to allow for an easy, one-step process for programming and setup.
CNC tube bending is recommended for these production systems
In chemical engineering production, it’s essential to have a seamless flow of gasses or liquids. There are zero kinks in CNC bent tubing systems to trap or slow materials flowing through the system.
CNC machine bent tubing creates liquid-tight and airtight seals for consistent movement of matter through the entirety of your system.
Purifying processes often include the use of caustic chemicals, which can cause filler material on welded tubes to break down over time. Bent tubing has no filler material, but consists only of the base metal, leaving precise pathways for materials to flow.
Manufacturers in chemical production may use tube systems to deliver potentially hazardous materials into temporary or long-term storage. The interior of tubes used to transport that material must remain clean. Bent tubing has no sharp curves inside to trap materials, so the interior remains uncontaminated after materials flow through.
Materials flowing through testing systems must retain their original properties. With bent tubing, there is a much lower risk of contamination as opposed to using a welded tube system or a system with multiple joints. The more components added to a system increases the opportunity for contamination.
Frequently asked questions about CNC tube bending
If the outside diameter of the tube I plan to use is not a standard size, what is a solution for the design?
Tube bending experts can look at your design requirements to see if there’s a solution to bend a standard size tube into a shape or angles that will fit into your space requirements, with minimal fittings to ensure consistent performance without degradation.
If the radii requested is not standard, what is a solution for the design?
Bending experts will look at your design plan to see if the radius of the tube bends can be adjusted and still achieve your goals. One possibility is utilizing both tube bends and high-purity orbital welding to achieve your goal. Back-to-back bends are sometimes requested, as designers look to fit tubing into a small space. Back-to-back bends typically require custom tooling, which adds cost to a project. If the size of the project justifies the cost of the tooling, that may be your best solution.
Is a CNC bender an option for bending tempered or heat-treated tubing?
Some tempered or heat-treated tubes are more likely to rupture, crack or damage internally when bent by a machine.
Basic components of a CNC bender
The mandrel inserts into the tube for support during bending to avoid wrinkling, distortion, collapse, flattening, rippling or breakage during the process. Using a mandrel provides better control over the tube’s ovality or roundness. Mandrel tube bending elicits highly accurate, repeatable results for jobs with tight or large radius bends. The firmness of a mandrel is very important, and should correlate to the firmness of the tube. For extremely durable tubing, a soft mandrel is used, and a hard mandrel is used on softer tubing. This prevents the mandrel from sticking to the inside of the tube, which can damage the tube.
The radius of the bend die takes into account the durability of the tube to adjust for radial growth. Bending a harder material requires a bend die with a smaller radius.
The ideal length of a clamping die is three times the diameter of the tube. Clamping short puts too much pressure on a short section of the tube, resulting in a damaged component.
The wiper die supports the tube on the inside of the bend to prevent wrinkles. The wiper die should be positioned at a slight angle with its contact point extremely sharp at all times. Lubrication at the point of contact is important to avoid premature wear.
Proper lubrication is critical for top-quality bends. Lubrication lowers friction during bending for clean, smooth results. Non-petroleum-based synthetic lubricants in a paste or gel are advised. Durable metals often require more lubrication to prevent friction.
One more thing to note about CNC tube bending: not only does utilizing a CNC bender guarantee a high quality product, it also allows the service provider to achieve the same high-quality result over and over again. Bend radii can be set to fit necessary specifications, and the machine will accurately bend each and every time a tube is run through it.