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Tube & Pipe

Freedman Seating Co. upgrades to all-electric Unison Tube LLC CNC tube bender

October 2018 - The NYC Ferry is experiencing record-breaking ridership because more and more people are relying on its service to transport them to work and play. Since the ferry’s inception in May 2017, it has moved more than 5 million passengers.

This growing demand calls for new larger-capacity vessels, such as the Ocean Queen Rockstar, which debuted recently at the NYC Ferry Homeport in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The ship has a capacity of 350 passengers and is the first of six boats that will be outfitted with larger engines and substantially more seating on the top and bottom decks to accommodate more passengers.

The seats were manufactured by The Freedman Seating Co., Chicago, which has been serving the bus, rail, marine, delivery truck, specialty and commercial vehicle seating markets for more than 125 years. The company has been a part of the transportation market’s evolution and undertook its own search for an upgraded tube bending machine that could accommodate expanded manufacturing capacity.

FFJ 1018 tube image1

Faster setup

Freedman’s decision to purchase new bending equipment was driven by a desire to replace an old hydraulic tube bender and outdated software with current bending capabilities. The company’s goals were to reduce the time-consuming setup the old machine required, as well as increase reliability, repeatability and productivity with the capability to perform  multiple bends at the same time.

Company management thought a bespoke twin-head all-electric CNC bending machine from U.K.-based Unison Ltd. could do the job. Unison has a second manufacturing facility in Danville, Virginia, which supports the activities of its plant in North Yorkshire. The company manufactures all-electric tube benders from 5⁄8 in. to 10 in. diameters.

Freedman’s custom bender has all-electric architecture, which provides several benefits, according to Unison. It has a rapid and repeatable software-based setup, lower energy consumption and reduced noise compared with traditional, hydraulically powered bending machinery. In addition, its accompanying software is easy to program and offers 3D simulation to improve accuracy and bend speed.

Dream it, design it

The Unison software allows Freedman to design and create complex tube shapes without generating cut-off waste and enables the company to double its productivity by using twin-head bending technology. The fully automated tube bender also manages material loading and features seam detection sensors to reduce material handling.

Compared to hydraulically powered bending machines, the all-electric architecture of Unison’s twin-head benders allows users to consume considerably less energy. Significant power is only used during the bending operations, whereas hydraulic benders normally require the oil pump to maintain a pressure reserve, which needs energy. Tests conducted by Unison show that during bending operations, a twin-head all-electric machine only uses about 10 percent of the electricity needed by a comparable hydraulic bending machine.

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Unison's twin-head bending technology can help companies increase productivity.

Despite their popularity, twin-head bending machines are only produced by a handful of manufacturers, and most are large, hydraulically powered systems. Unison takes a different design approach: Its twin-head bending machines are controlled by servomotors. The standard machine configuration comprises two separate bending heads supported on independent ball screw-driven linear carriages. A fifth axis controls a compact and fast actuating tube “center grip and rotate” unit, which can be mounted in a fixed position between the two heads or removed from the machine. The flexibility of this design facilitates production of either 2D or 3D parts and accommodates both symmetrical and asymmetrical parts.

The servomotor-driven center grip and rotate unit is compact and designed to combine ease and speed of loading and unloading with a secure grip. It also has an extremely narrow profile, allowing very close approach of the two bending heads.

“Our experience with Unison over the course of 17 years has been excellent. The quality of the service and support Unison has provided over the years is exceptional,” says John-Paul Paonessa, marketing manager for Freedman Seating Co.

“The staff is very knowledgeable, supportive, friendly and provides prompt responses to our service needs. We purchased our first twin-head Breeze tube bender 17 years ago and added another twin-head Unison bender seven years later. One of the many important qualities of these benders is the reliability and the consistency they provide our manufacturing process on a daily basis.” FFJ

Sources

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Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

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AMADA AMERICA, INC.

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Burghardt + Schmidt Group

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Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
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HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
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MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

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