Pr od uc ts & s ew
Novel tube bender boosts productivity by 500% for leading American tubular part fabricator Rotating-head bending machine replaces two hydraulic benders A rotating-head tube bender is dramatically accelerating the production of complex parts at one of the USA’s leading tube and pipe bending fabricators. The new Unison machine is installed at Sharpe Products of Milwaukee. Its rotating head action allows it to make left-hand and right-hand bends in one continuous cycle - doing the work of two of Sharpe›s previous hydraulic tube benders, while also speeding throughput by up to five times. This performance is enabling Sharpe to reduce the lead times significantly on a wide range of complex multiple-bend jobs, as well as on parts requiring bends of widely different radii.
The new machine was supplied to Sharpe by Unison›s North American partner, Horn Machine Tools. It increases the number of Unison machines that Sharpe operates to three, and follows Sharpe’s long-term strategy to gain control commonality across its tube fabrication operation by progressively replacing old machines
with Unison’s all-electric tube bending technology. This approach has major time and costsaving advantages. Operators only need to be trained to use a single type of machine, and can then be deployed wherever they are most needed within the company. Sharpe is choosing to standardize on Unison tube benders because they have proved to provide the performance that the company needs to maintain its competitive edge, and because it has found Unison’s support service to be second to none. Sharpe’s latest machine is a Unison 2-inch (50 mm) Breeze-Revolution tube bender that performs both lefthand and right-hand bending. The machine has two multi-stack tool heads mounted on opposite sides of a rotating frame. After bending using one or more tools on one head, the head retracts and a combination of transverse and rotational movement then positions the other head for subsequent bending operations. Changeovers between left-
hand and right-hand bending heads can be repeated as many times as needed, allowing complex shapes to be fabricated completely automatically without removing the tube or involving any other machines. “The flexibility of this machine has to be seen to be believed,” says Sharpe’s President, Paul Krickeberg. “A lot of the parts we produce, such as exercise machine frames and architectural handrails, are manufactured from standard 1.5 to 2 inch tubing and require a mix of small and large radius rightand left-hand bends. Until now, we have used two hydraulic benders – one for right-hand bends, the other for left-hand bends – which could involve up to three separate machine cycles and easily take five or more minutes. The Unison machine creates all the bends that are needed in a single cycle, and typically in less than a minute. "What’s more," Krickeberg adds, "by replacing the two hydraulic benders with
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