Robots have been used for some time as efficient and flexible bending machines to process tubes, and these systems are continually developed further and improved. For the engineers at transfluid this means first of all to make the software user-friendly, so it is possible to work in an efficient and professional way.

Based in Schmallenberg, Germany, transfluid specialises in the production of tube bending and tube processing machines, and has been developing customer-focused technologies for tube processing since 1988. The high-tech engineering company offers tailor-made solutions for the construction of plants and machines, for the automotive, energy and shipbuilding sectors and the manufacturing of medical equipment. The bending systems produced by transfluid can take isometrics data and generate bending data without separate programming of the robot system.transfluid has now designed the next step in the development of its range of tube bending robots and improved it again. The online connection to CAD systems has always been possible, which reduces the set-up time a lot. Another important aspect is to simplify the software connection because of the robot programming capabilities of each customer.

The latest generation of machines can process isometrics data online. There are also positions stored in the control system, for where the piece is picked up and dropped off. In addition, it is also possible to retrieve the position for the necessary supports for long tubes. A complete, new, complex bending geometry can be programmed and bent quickly, in less than 30 minutes, including the set-up of the bending tools.

Synchronised and coded for clear identification

The transfluid bending cells with two robots bend long tubes at both ends. This way, tubes can be supplied with forming, hoses or connection systems. The preparation and cleaning of the tubes becomes a lot easier. It is much better to process straight tubes, when the bending machine can bend at both ends. These benefits can be enjoyed either when bending with one or two robots.

With a set-up with two robots, it is possible to process tubes of up to 6,000mm in length without any problems. The two robots work in a synchronised way. Additional equipment, like clamping or support devices, also synchronise with the processing robot. The robots recognise the component with a code, generate the bending sequence and choose between different radii and diameters. It is possible to work with a total of six different tube diameters or radii without having to change the dies.

Advanced processing, greater output

With the new developments and improvements from transfluid, a production cell with two robots can do more than bend a tube at both ends: each of the bending robots can also process different geometries. Both machines are working all the time and the system can be used efficiently and with a significantly higher output.

The latest generation of transfluid bending robots offer safe handling: the grabbing co-ordinates on the tube for the pick-up from the magazine and for the dropping off can be retrieved from the pre-programmed parameters. This means that the user has almost no programming of the bending sequence or the handling steps. The machine simply refers to pre-loaded data.

Even tubes with long lengths, which are nearly impossible on conventional bending machines, can be processed without any problems, as the long sections will not cause any collision problems. This is possible, because the last bending is done on the “floating” tube, just before the drop off. The whole system is operated by a bending machine control unit. The benefit is that it is possible to work both with x, y and z co-ordinates, but also with lengths and bending angles, just like a standard bending machine.

It is not necessary to have special knowledge of robot programming. In order to keep the set-up times as short as possible, the robots have pre-programmed tool settings, including axes for the set-up position. This keeps the set-up time short for the operator. With the latest generation of bending robots, transfluid has expanded the possibilities of tube processing and made it more efficient.