Many of our customers come to us with applications and want to know what type of bender will work best for the job. We have put together a guide to help you understand some of the limits and uses of the different benders.
Rotary draw benders use die sets with a fixed radius to bend pipes and tubes. Draw benders are available in various types including manual benders, electric, or hydraulic benders. Programmable draw benders allow the operator to set up multiple bends per part with different degrees of bend.
Common applications for rotary draw benders include handrails, frames, handles, vehicle roll cages, and more. A major advantage of standard draw benders is that the initial investment is significantly lower than a similar capacity mandrel bender. The drawback is the level of accuracy and the requirement of a larger radius, usually 3 x D and higher, where D refers to the tube diameter. When accuracy and appearance is critical to your product, you will need to move up to a mandrel bender.
Use draw benders for lower volume production and lower accuracy.
Mandrel benders insert a piece of solid steel (plug) or a series of steel balls (ball mandrel) into the tube to give the tube additional support during the bending process. Mandrels prevent wrinkling and breaking and allow you to make tighter radius bends; 1.5D up to 1D. Mandrel benders are commonly found in the automotive and motorcycle fabrication industry.
Mandrel benders are available in 100% electric, hydraulic, or electric/hydraulic combinations. Electric mandrel benders offer higher accuracy and are ideal for 1”-2” tube bending. They tend to be quicker and require less maintenance. Hybrid electric/hydraulic benders are often used for larger tubes and where the CLR is very tight. To bend very large diameter tubes (ex. 6” tubes) an all-electric servo driven machine might be cost prohibitive. Hydraulic mandrel benders are the best option if you use large diameter tubes for lower productions.
Use hydraulic mandrel benders for low productions.
Use electric/hydraulic mandrel benders for medium production and larger diameters.
Use 100% electric mandrel benders for high productions when the highest level of accuracy is needed.
Double Head Benders
Double head benders are a type of draw bender that is able to produce 2 bends simultaneously while bending 1-3 tubes at a time. You can expect a huge increase in productivity with this type of bender, it will also improve bends because it allows you to control the distance between bends more accurately.
Double head benders are used for bending tubes when a little larger radius is acceptable. This type of bender requires the centre line radius of the tube to be at least 2x the tube OD. For example, shops that produce furniture often use double head benders for fabricating table legs. Bicycle manufacturers will also use this type of machine to bend handle bars.
Use double head benders for high volume productions.
Roll benders, or hydraulic profile benders, are used for bending pipe into large diameters or rings. These machines consist of 3 dies aligned on a horizontal plane with semi-automatic or CNC controlled operation.
Use roll benders for rolling rings.
Important Information on Selecting a Bender
We covered the general guidelines and uses for the various types of benders, but when you purchase a new bender you will need to have some important information about the tube you will be bending:
What you need to know:
1) The type of material
2) The thickness of the material
3) The outside diameter OD of the tube
4) The centre line radius (CLR)
5) The distance between bends
These are the critical factors that have to be taken into consideration when you select a bending machine. If you have a tube bending job that requires a new machine then contact a Westway representative to help you find the bender that will meet your specifications, production demands, and your budget.
>>Looking for a new bending machine? Have the 5 specifications listed above handy and give us a call at 1-800-263-1199 to find your best machine option.