Unison unveils all-electric tube bender

Posted on 15 May 2012

The new machine will be on display at Farnborough Air Show, boasting rapid and repeatable software-based set-up, and lower energy consumption and noise than hydraulic alternatives.

Unison said it is seeing interest from companies in the aerospace sector, as they are able to support fabrication processes that must manufacture ultra-precise parts in very small batches – typically without generating any scrap.

Other requirements being put forward by aerospace companies are bending relatively complex part shapes in a single stage, bending alloy tubing such as titanium with wall thicknesses as fine as 0.9 mm while eliminating jig-based inspection processes.

Another key advantage is Unison’s laser-controlled spring-back correction system. Available as a build-to-order option on any of the Unison’s machines for bending tubes from 50 mm diameter upwards, the system automatically compensates for the natural tendency of metal tubes to spring back slightly after being bent, enabling parts manufacturers to implement a right-first-time production process.

By eliminating scrap wastage associated with conventional hydraulically-powered bending machines, the system helps manufacturers address the spiralling cost of raw materials, and is especially beneficial for companies working with exotic alloys. The correction system can also be used for edge and feature detection to facilitate more stable process control of pre-laser-cut parts.

Alan Pickering, CEO of Unison commented: “Aerospace is one of the most demanding applications for tube bending … yet it’s still commonplace to see older-style hydraulically-actuated benders in use – machinery that is much more suited to large-batch production of run-of-the-mill components”

He added: “We are able to show that all-electric bending automation has helped aerospace manufacturers to evolve component production processes that are at the vanguard of what is technically possible in terms of precision, shape creation, and cost effectiveness.”