Lincoln Electric Automation has announced the availability of its automated, all-servo controlled Tube and Bar Straightening System for carbon steel, stainless, aluminum, copper, brass, and other materials. These solutions incorporate artificial intelligence that automatically adapt learning for different part types without requiring operator intervention. As compared to traditional approaches, these systems have helped to reduce cycle times up to 80%.
Many tubes and pipes produced for precision applications today lack sufficient straightness for finishing operations like machining or centerless grinding. This poses a problem for manufacturers who rely on manually intensive operations using traditional straightening presses to achieve straightness. Compounding this challenge is the shortage of skilled labor for these operations as well as a lack of process repeatability. This can lead to quality problems downstream where vibrations during grinding can lead to inconsistent results as well as potentially damaging centerless grinding wheels, further adding to costs.
How the system works
Bundles of tubes/bars are loaded onto a staging deck and then automatically fed to the straightening equipment. In the straightening process the bar stock is rotated 360° while sensors measure the bar at multiple data points along its length to create a profile. This data is sent to the PLC where it is compared to the straightness specification in order to determine where it needs to be corrected.
A servo press, mounted to a servo-controlled rail, is positioned to the indicated location determined by the sensors and then bends the bar/tube repeatedly over its length to bring it within tolerance. This process continues until the straightness requirements are achieved. As a final check, the tube is then rotated again to collect the data points to confirm that the bar is within specification. Depending on the customer’s process, bars or tubes may then be automatically or manually transferred to other operations.
Benefits of the system include:
Adaptability to varying tube lengths and O.D. requirements and part batches.
Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment and has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln Electric has 56 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 20 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries. For more information about Lincoln Electric and its products and services, visit the Company’s website at www.lincolnelectric.com.