TUBE NEWS 2016 May 2016 - Page 14

Stainless Steel Tube Fitting Manufacturer Improves Productivity With New All-Electric Tube Benders Two new all-electric tube bending machines are helping Ultibend Industries to boost the manufacturing productivity of stainless steel tube fittings for food and beverage processing systems. Customised to suit Ultibend’s proprietary manufacturing process, the machines from Unison automate the bending of tube fitting shapes such as elbows and U-bends, in sizes from 1/2 to 4 inches diameter. Initial manufacturing operations have demonstrated that the new machinery boosts manufacturing speed compared with the previous hydraulic bending process. and they have served Ultibend well, but they are hydraulically powered - and critically for the future development of the company - only offer a very basic level of machine and operator control. As the company has expanded, it became interested in upgrading the bending process with more flexible all-electric machines - using softwarecontrolled servomotor controlled bending. Developing its own solution to this upgrade would involve familiarity with servomotor based motion control as well as much more sophisticated machine control and interfacing software - and it was viewed as too big a step for the Ultibend engineering team. So, it decided to look to the commercial market for an upgrade. Ultibend started in 1992 as a subcontract tube bender, supplying architectural pipework. The company also found a market for tubular parts for the strong local food processing industry, and evolved from sub-contract work into offering a broad range of stainless steel tube fitting parts for applications including food, winery, brewery, dairy and sanitary processing. Ultibend settled on Unison as the supplier, largely because of the fact that it had started life as a machine controls and software supplier and that a large proportion of its output was customised. “We didn’t want a standard machine, so discovering Unison was great. Their willingness to customise - and the fact that they are genuine machine control experts - gave us confidence that we would get the far-reaching solution that we As part of the company’s development, Ultibend designed and manufactured its own tube bending machines. There are now four of these machines TN MAY 2016 14