The production of lines for braking systems, air conditioning units and similar devices with a length of 1,500 mm and tiny diameters of as little as 18mm represents a real challenge when it comes to bending technology, specifically with regard to handling. After all, to be economical, production processes also need to be swift. And precision and quality are factors that are just as important.
As part of a recent project, the team at Transfluid developed a tube processing system that involves robot handling of the material and that can bend tubing in lengths of up to 4,500mm – 47 bends in a time of circa 140 seconds. Another specification that the team had to meet when developing their solution was that the tubing would be already shaped or fitted with flanges.
The process involves first inserting a bundle of tubes into a feeder. The tubes are then individually orientated by symmetrical rotation according to the positioning of the flanges. Each tube is then picked up by one of the two robots and this transfers it to a moveable spanning device with an appropriate high retaining system designed for longer tubing. The spanning device allows the robots to process the tubes on one or even on two sides in parallel. This also speeds up the procedure; the time required for processing each tube, even at this length, is constantly less than three seconds. Both robots have seven axes with drive systems and can bend right/left.
Another advantage of the Transfluid tube bending concept is that isometric data can be uploaded directly online from a CAD system, meaning that complex programming of the robots is not necessary.