Shaping: Tube Bending
Tube bending is the process used to form metal pipes or tubes. It allows the creation of structural designs without weakening the metal. These tubes are then used for structural purposes or passageways for fluids or gases. The tube is loaded into a pipe bender and clamped between two dies. The clamp die holds it in position while the pressure die forces it through the bend die and the bend is formed. If the tube wall is too thin to support the bend radius, a mandrel is placed inside the tube to avoid collapse or wrinkling.
The best technique depends on the type, size and thickness of metal and the requirements for the final product. The different types of tube bending methods are:
Press bending – A die is pressed against the tube, forcing it to take the shape of the die. This method can be used when a consistent cross section isn’t required and is usually used on cold tubing.
Draw bending – Metal is clamped to the die and rotated, forming the desired bend. This method is used to create a tube that is visually appealing.
Roll bending – Pipe is fed between rollers which apply pressure to bend the pipe. This method is used to create coils and tubes with little deformation in the cross section.
Ram bending – Pressure is put on a section of the pipe in increments. This method is effective for high production since it’s the fastest and most efficient, however, slight deformation of the metal can occur.
Heat induction – Pipe is heated then bent by pressure. This method is used to bend large tubes or pipes.