Choosing a pipe bending machines ideal for your bending operations can often become a complicated process. As there are many pipe bending machine manufacturing companies in the market, the pipe bending machines are not created equally, each machine offers a distinctive set of features. This makes it quite difficult to have an ultimate choice.
For proper bending applications, it is obligatory to use a strong machine that can proficiently and accurately conduct your bends.
Pipe Bending Machine Types
Before choosing the right tube bending machine, you need to know what types of pipe bending machine are available and their characteristics. Here we first introduce the main pipe bending machines on the market.
1. Hydraulic NC pipe bending machine
Hydraulic NC pipe bending machine is a semi-automatic pipe bending machine. It is used to generate single or multiple bends on the same plane. Feeding and rotation of the pipe is performed manually, while the bending arm is maneuvered by a hydraulic cylinder.
• Easy and simple maintenance
• Touch screen for easy maneuver
• Isn’t compatible with complicated tubes
• Manual operation for rotation and feeding purpose, will take more time for production
2. Twin head pipe bending machine
A twin head pipe bending machine is designed to bend a pipe simultaneously at both ends. This machine is only compatible with a large bending radius and more wall thickness, it can’t install mandrel and wiper die. It is suitable for symmetrical product bending, such as chair frames, bed frames.
• Simple and easy to maneuver
• Bend 2-4 sections at a time
• High efficiency when bending symmetrical products
• Can’t be used as a mandrel bender
• Complex bending can’t be performed
3. CNC Tube Bender
A CNC tube bender is a fully automatic, computer-operated pipe bending machine. It offers all the features of NC machines but also features automatic feeding and operations. It can be used to perform bending at larger space angles and bend radius.
• Exceptional precisions and repeatability
• Fully automatic machines
• Used for multiple bends，complex 3D parts
What Drive Systems Pipe Bending Machines Adopt？
Pipe bending machines are operated using a kind of power source system. Here is a brief description of these power sources.
1. Pure Hydraulic System
This system is used in a semi-automatic pipe bending machine, it uses hydraulic oil to work as a medium while for a power source an electric motor refueling pump is used. Valves group can control the movement of cylinders for the entire motion system.
• Stable pressure, reliable actions
• Large power transmission
• Fast response
• Difficult to attain precise motion
• High energy usage
• Oil has to be regularly changed
2.Hydraulic and Servo System
It is used in fully automatic machines like CNC tube benders. The hydraulic system acts upon the clamping and mandrel dies, this precise action for bending, feeding, rotation, tool shifting is sustained by using servo motors.
• Used for highly precise pipe bending
• Reduced energy expenditure
• Moderate price ranges
• Creates additional heat
• Oil must be replaced regularly
3.Pneumatic and Servo System
This kind of power system is used for smaller automatic CNC bender machines. The cylinders are in charge of mandrel pulling and many other actions without precision requirements. Servo motors can again maintain the precise action control i.e. pipe bending, feeding, pipe rotation, tool change, etc.
• Used for precision pipe bending machines
• Energy consumption is reduced
• The system generates lesser heat
• High-production efficiency
• Only suitable with small pipe bending machines
• Requirements for compressed air
4.Full Servo System
In this system, all the actions of the pipe bending machines are controlled by servo motors. It doesn’t rely upon a hydraulic system i.e. wiper dies, auxiliary push, etc. These systems are capable of offering stable running speed, reduced working sounds, no oil circuit pollution, and steady instability errors.
• High accuracy, maneuverability, and flexible actions
• Reduced energy consumption
• Less heat is formed
• Higher production competence
• Hardware cost is higher
• System cost is also higher
What Control Systems Does a Tube Bending Machine Use？
Here is a comprehensive guide regarding the methods a pipe bending machine normally can use as a carrier of a control system:
1. Microcontroller System (NC control system)
The action of a hydraulic pipe bending machine is incorporated onto a circuit board. The system is locked, making it impossible to be upgraded. But still, it is quite favorable and offers several benefits: the working principle is straightforward, lesser components are required, and is inexpensive.
2. PLC Control System
The computer system is designed as a mainstream system having PLC as its core and touch screen for display. You can get exceptional functionality and a degree of openness. The PLC control system is incredibly compatible with automatic pipe bending machines.
3. Industrial Computer System
An industrial computer system has an industrial computer as the core of the system. It also has an industrial touch screen as a display carrier. The system has incredible specificity and strength as compared to other systems.
4. PLC+ Industrial Computer System
It is a combination of computing features of an industrial computer, the openness of a PLC system, and stable motion controls. It is capable of further improving the functionality of a pipe bender, it improves the steadiness of any action and efficiency of the equipment.
How to Select a Pipe Bending Machine?
Here is a list of factors you should think of before buying a pipe bending machine:
You should whether the machine capacity is compatible with your tube size. Each machine has its specific size capacity. Only the tubes falling under the capacity range can properly fit in the pipe bending machine.
You should review the tube material type that is to be bent on the machine. Stainless steel is harder to handle compared to carbon steel, the bending force needs to be bigger, and it is easier to spring back, aluminum material bending force is usually not that large.
It is necessary to listen to the opinions of the machine manufacturer and select the appropriate machine model according to the specific pipe size and pipe material.
You should also think of the part shapes and the two bends distance. For some products, their design will have interference, it will hit the machine body or the tooling, or the floor in the bending process, so we have to choose a machine that can avoid such interference. And the two-bends distance is also important, if the straight distance is too short, you’ll have to use a pipe bending machine with compound tooling. The machine will be more expensive.
If you require a fast bending machine for your mass production operation for swift results, you can opt for CNC pipe bending machines or twin head pipe bending machines as they are faster.
An important aspect to consider before you buy a pipe bending machine is its durability. The functionality and reliability of any bending tool also ascertain the overall long-lasting performance of a pipe bending machine.
Strength is another factor to consider before buying a pipe bending machine. The pipe bending machine should be rigid enough to endure the workload without sacrificing any performance.
Quality & Accuracy
It is also vital to determine whether a pipe bending machine is capable of creating the most accurate and highly precise bends devoid of any errors or damages. A quality pipe bending machine is capable of creating the most accurate bends.
You should also determine the engineering quality of the pipe bending machine i.e. machine assembly, quality of the servo motor used, quality of rack and pinion, and guide rail. The accuracy of the pipe bending machine is based on these factors.
Control System Stability
The reliability, hardware configuration, and functionality of the control system affect the stability and efficiency of a pipe bending machine.
When you choose a pipe bending machine, you should pay more attention to the controller’s reliability, the components it uses.
Most people buy a pipe bending machine without knowing the efficiency of its safety precaution features. Actually, there are safety covers and safety mats to be sold to provide the safest operating environment.
It is better to invest your money in a pipe bending machine that can guarantee your safety and won’t put your life in danger.
A well-maintained pipe bending machine prevents damages and proposes consistent functionality. Pipe bending machines and the tooling compel regular cleaning between consecutive operations.
But some companies strive to lower your load by creating exceptional pipe bending machines that require the least maintenance and care allowing you to focus entirely on your pipe bending operations.
You can choose a pipe bending machine that doesn’t require much additional attention and time-taking maintenance to save your money and time.
Consider the warranty duration and the after-sale service the supplier provide. Any downtime will make you lose time or money.
Consider upstream and downstream procedures, so that the bending operations don’t have any issue with tube entering or exiting the machine after being bent.
You should also pay attention to some special necessities i.e. complete tolerances of the machine, ovality or wall thinning, and other quality requirements.