Getting the Most Out of Your Bender / Saw Combination

You’ve been making a specific part for years now. You don’t know when the ride is going to end, however, after the first few production runs you started to get a better grip on the true costs involved. Even with the job running well you still ponder “how can I make it even better?”

Let’s says the raw material comes in as 1/8” OD copper tubing. The first operation is to cut the tubing into individual lengths for further processing. Then, the bin of cut parts sits waiting until the right bender / operator combination becomes available. Wouldn’t it be nice to combine the saw operation and the bending operation and thus avoiding the wait time?

Making it happen

People do avoid this. It is done every day with small diameter copper and aluminum tubing. You will even find it more prevalent in the world of forming semi-rigid coax cable.

Start with feeding long sticks of raw material thru the carriage of a CNC bender. The process is simple; bend and cut in one setup. With the saw blade most often mounted just behind the bend die, the chips are kept clear of the bend tooling. In combination with the right software, processing parts using this approach can clearly reduce the cost of goods sold and the turnaround time on each individual part.

Advantages

Having a saw mounted on your bender has several advantages. To start, the overall processing time is reduced by eliminating the wait time between the saw and the CNC bender. The operator is right there to keep the process moving. A second advantage is the reduced floor space to process the job. With the saw and the bender now occupying the same floor space, the overhead costs associated with that job is likely to go down. 

Believe it or not, a third significant advantage is still possible. With the right system, the minimum last leg length can be reduced beyond what might be considered as possible. This is based on the saw being mounted on the bender and a fixed distance exists between the saw blade and the center of the bend die itself.

Reducing the Minimum Last Leg Length

The goal here is to allow the system to cut a tube where the last leg length is less than the fixed distance between the saw blade and the center of the bend die.  It works like this:

Providing the three (3) axis CNC bender has the ability to shift the material away from the bend die, the software then has the ability to backup & cut the material after the last bend has been made. After the last bend has been made, the last bend is still wrapped on the bend die.  If the carriage on the bender were to advance the material forward and shift out at about the same time, then rotate the part (R axis), the carriage/part might then be in a position to retract/reverse the tubing to a point were the last bend is now positioned behind its initial position. The saw would then be in a position to cut the last leg length shorter than it would have been if the saw parted the tubing when the last bend were still wrapped around the bend die.

Summary

What’s the real advantage? You may have just eliminated an additional secondary operation to trim the last leg shorter. This saves time, money and raw product. And we all recognize that the more time and money that we can save without adversely effecting quality, the better off we all will be.


About the Author

George Winton, P.E. designs and builds CNC tube fabrication equipment for Winton Machine in Suwanee, GA. He can be reached at gwinton@wintonmachine.com or 888.321.1499

About the Machines We Build

All of our semi-rigid coax and tube fabrication machines at Winton are designed, manufactured, and tested in-house.  We have a large line of standard products as well as the ability to engineer the best solution for our customer’s needs.  Our experienced sales staff makes sure that our customers can justify their capital equipment investment by offering a solution that is exactly what they need in order to manufacture their parts.  Please contact us today to discuss your project.

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