Lubrication For Tube Bending Process

drawing compound lubricant

Lubrication is a process used to restraint friction and deterioration by using a friction-reducing substance (lubricant) on the moving surface. The lubricants can be fluid, solid, or plastic-based substances. 

Recently, advanced lubricants are formed to offer extra-clean and eco-friendly performance. These compounds contain chemical soaps, chemical solutions, and non-active pastes. They are being used in a wide range of industries for more effective bending operations.

In this article, you can learn all about tube bending machines lubrication and its importance.

Lubricants used for pipe processing operations can offer several roles when used for a bending machine. The most important features of a lubricant are compatibility with the tooling, materials, and environment of the component that is being bent.

Here are some roles a lubricant must play for better quality operations:

  • Should enhance the functionality and effectiveness of any tube-fabricating operation
  • Increase the life span of bending tools
  • Meet the standards of each operation for chemical content, reactivity, and washing services
  • Have no negative effects on the machine or the pipe being bent
  • Will not affect successive operations

Types of Effective Lubricants

There are various types of lubricants on the market that are used in pipe bending operations. These lubricants offer particular features ad can be used for many bending machines for effective fabrication.

Here are some types of lubricants that are most commonly used nowadays:

Chemical Solutions in Soap Form

Chemical solutions that have a soap-based form are quite advantageous as they can offer cleaning services along with the lubricating process. Such solutions are easier to work with and are completely harmless.

These extra-clean lubricants are created with the finest material so that they can be used during several operations such as re-cutting, end finishing and forming, and sawing.

The oil-free formula of these lubricants allows the parts to be conveniently scrubbed, welded, annealed, or heat-treated after the tube bending process. The cost-effective lubricant can enhance the durability and performance of each operation without over-heating or producing any smoke. 

Heavy Soap or Paste Compounds

Heavy soap or paste compounds are also termed pigmented lubricants that are largely being used for exceptional lubrication. These lubricants can be directly used for mandrel and draw bending operations. They are easy to use, you just have to follow the supplier provides information to create an effective barrier for your machines.

Soap-based lubricants offer an upper hand. They not only offer exceptional performance but are easy to clean as well. They are also quite convenient to apply using a brush, hand, or mandrel-rod lubricator. Make sure to follow all the recommended steps while applying the lubricant using exclusive lubricators.

Low-halogen, Soap Compounds

Low-halogen, soap-based lubrication compounds can be used for heavy-duty performance in different operations. The quantity of halogen in these lubricants is lower than 25 parts per million. The lubricants can be used for various applications and enhance the overall functionality of any pipe processing machine.

Extreme-pressure, Petroleum-based Compounds

Petroleum-based compounds are quite eminent and can offer heavy-duty performance. These lubricants can provide extreme pressure and shock-resistant features. They work as a special physical and chemical barrier and can’t be wiped off or squeezed during extreme pressure. 

The lubricants are composed of chlorine, sulfur, and exceptional wetting agents, plus heavy bending oils to leave a heavy residual compound.

The extreme pressure compounds can be cleaned and removed using vapor degreasing. You must produce a special cleaning solution to wipe off these lubricants exclusively in alkaline systems. 

Macro Emulsions

Heavy-duty macro emulsion lubricants also known as extreme-pressure solubles not only support your bending operations but also boost the functionality of any tube bender. You can enjoy several features and benefits from such lubrication oils. 

Macro-emulsions can offer:

  • Easy to clean performance
  • Extreme-pressure safety
  • Brilliant wetting and flushing
  • Easy to apply by brushing or spraying

You can use such lubricants for various operations i.e. medium-dry draw bending, end finishing, forming, and re-cutting.

High-temperature Compounds

Extreme-temperature and elevated lubricants are exclusively designed to execute several operations such as:

  • Stress relieving
  • Annealing
  • Heat treating tube processing 

These high-temperature lubricants contain an excellent combination of aqueous solutions with graphite, such as a polymer. Invert emulsion compounds mixed with polymers are exceptionally used for high-temperature operations. This mixture is highly effective and can prevent smearing off at work-forming temperatures. 


Tooling Selection and Preparation

Selecting a proper lubricant for your pipe processing operations is necessary. You should gather as much knowledge as possible. Ask the tooling supplier or any expert for better advice. There are some aspects you should consider before choosing lubrication oil for your pipe benders.

Tube-fabricating Process

The type and composition of the lubricant you use depend upon the type of process you desire to use for your tube-processing operations. Some lubricants are compatible with high-pressure machines while some only work best with lower to medium pressure. 

Simultaneously same goes for the temperature requirement of a lubricant to work properly is also unique for each type. You can select the type of oil, which is more compatible with your bending machine and the method used.

 The method used for the bending operations must be cost-effective, safe, and use all of the lubricants without producing any excessive waste.


Before picking a lubricant for your machines it’s practical enough to consider its nature. Some cheap lubricants can produce dangerous by-products during the process. While high-end bending lubrication oils can reduce the generation and disposal of hazardous waste material.

Cleaning and Finishing 

You should go for a lubricant that is easy to remove and clean off. Some oil-based lubricants can stick to the machine’s surface and are difficult to remove. Most lubricants require the formation of a special alkaline solution to remove it f the surface.

While modern advancements allow the machines to be cleaned by wiping them down using a clean mop or cloth to create better results while working.

Types of tooling and materials

The choice of a lubricant for a pipe bending machine is also determined by the type of tools and materials you use. Industries use various types of material including titanium, stainless steel, Inconel alloy, and aluminum. 

But these materials are only compatible with some lubricants which are devoid of any damaging components like sulfur, animal fats, chlorine, and so on. It is best to pick out a lubricant for your tooling you can use compounds that can be metallurgical irreconcilable with some components of the tube being bent. 

Amount of Lubricant Required for Each Operation

A sufficient amount of lubricant is required for proper functionality over the desired tooling area. 

 A common conception from which many of you are deceived is that an abundant quantity of lubricating oil can offer better protection against damages.

It can be true but only for a few conditions, but can cause damage to your machines and is difficult to wipe off. Excessive lubricating compounds can cause impulsive failure in many fragile tool areas. Normally, a generous amount of dense lubricant is enough and is quite effective as well.


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