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Tube & Pipe

New frontiers

By John Loos

May 2010 - With all its products leaving the facility with customer-specific polishes, the old polishing system of Camdel Metals Corp., Camden, Del., was buckling under the workload pressure and needed replacing.

Camdel Metals is a supplier of straight tube cut to length and long-coiled tube. It provides the longest seamless stainless steel tubing available; some of its coils reach up to 2,500 ft. to 3,000 ft. in length.

The company also works with a variety of unique alloys, from 300-series stainless to Inconel 625 and 825 Incoloy, and Hastelloys such as C22 and C276.

"We had an old polisher that we used, and it was a maintenance nightmare, basically hanging on by a thread," says Kevin Harding, manufacturing engineer for Camdel Metals.

In looking to replace the polisher, Camdel Metals became aware of AM Machinery Sales Inc., Warminster, Pa., and its ML 100 round pipe/tube finisher.

"Our maintenance supervisor and I went and looked at the machine in their showroom, and they ran a couple parts for us," says Harding. "We were amazed by the design and ease of use and especially when it came down to changing the belts. We fell in love with it right away."

According to Harding, upon implementation, the benefits of the machine were apparent almost immediately.

"I would say productivity increased the day we put it into service," he says. "With the old polisher, we had to remove the entire tube in order to change a belt. Now we can leave the tube in place, open the cover, change a belt, flip it around, change another belt and we’re right back online. It took anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour with the old machine and just a couple minutes with the new machine. It’s definitely a great improvement."

Camdel Metals has since purchased two more ML 100s, each adding significantly to the company’s production.

"We put all of our machines through a grueling pace throughout a day," says Harding. "A lot of them are running 24/7, and we haven’t had any problem with them at all. Plus, we’re actually running them outside of the envelope the machine was designed for. We’re actually polishing [ 1/16-in.] tube, well under what they’re designed for. And there’s no problems there either."

Despite the near-constant usage, the ML 100s have remained largely maintenance free, with no serious issues arising. This is thanks to a rugged design and high-quality parts that resist wear and tear, according to Tony McCue, president of AM Machinery Sales.

"I can count on one hand the amount of [replacement] parts we’ve ever sold," he says of the ML 100s. "They just run and run."

Harding echoes this sentiment and emphasizes his satisfaction with AM Machinery Sales.

"We haven’t had any problems with these machines whatsoever," he says. "Anyone can sell a piece of equipment, but you have to stand behind it to actually get the return business. [AM Machinery Sales] has been absolutely perfect."

Finding the right equipment
The ML 100 round pipe/tube finisher is a standout performer in AM Machinery Sales’ tube finishing arsenal.

The standard version can process tubing from 1/4 -in. diameter to 4-in. diameter. Other model machines can handle up to 12-in. diameters.

It features a 4-hp belt motor, a 2-hp wheel motor and sanding belt speeds of 11.5 m per second to 35 m per second.

"What’s made the ML 100 sellable is all the flexibility that it has and all the capability of doing straight and bent tubing," says McCue. "You can even do flared tubing."

The ML 100 can also be adjusted from handling straight to bent tubing with the removal of a single bolt, and the automatic feed is hinged and swings out of the way, allowing the machine to accommodate a variety of applications with minimal setup time.

AM Machinery Sales has a long history of providing quality equipment for deburring and finishing of flat sheet metal applications.

About four years ago, it recognized a growing opportunity in the tube finishing market and has since made significant forays into it--with impressive results.

The company’s tube finishing machines, manufactured by NS Maquinas, Gondomar, Portugal, include a round or an oval tube grinder for bent and straight tubes of varying capacities and a four-sided tube finishing machine that can finish square or rectangular tubes or bar stock in a single pass.

So far, the interest in these machines has been significant, as customers with applications as varied as motorcycle exhaust pipes, handicap-accessible doors for vans, and foot steps and handrails for trucks have implemented them into their operations.

"We’re getting a lot of inquiries, and people are very interested in [our tube finishing machines] because of their capabilities," says McCue. "Precision sheet metal is still our main forte in the business, but these machines are opening doors in different directions. And with this economy, you have to be more diversified."

Tubular features
The four-sided tube finisher, the NS FGWH 150 8Z, is designed for intensive finishing in high-production environments and features a modular construction for varying production applications. It can also be provided in dry or wet execution, with an automatic water-filtering system.

AM Machinery Sales’ tube grinder also simplifies and streamlines tube processing, particularly for tubing that’s not perfectly round. It features two motor heads, variable speeds from 0 to 5 m per minute, and quick and easy diameter adjustment.

"If you were to put a tube through a typical centerless machine, if the tubing is somewhat out of round--and most tubing is--you’ll find it has a problem grinding all the way around the OD of the tube," says McCue. "What’ll happen is it’ll literally push the grinding head away, and you won’t get a good grind around the entire surface. So you’ll have to pass it two or three times to make that happen. But with [the NS tube grinder], you can take a tube that is literally an egg shape and put an even finish on it all the way around."

And AM Machinery Sales is not stopping there.

"Since we have had such success with tube finishing, we decided to do more research and found that tube punching is an area that had limited advancements over the years," says McCue. "We found a company in Italy that manufactures a punching machine capable of punching all four sides of a tube at one time without any distortion. It’s possible to punch round, oval, square or rectangular tubing--it makes no difference. In addition, this machine is a modular design, providing the ability to expand with your production requirements. We expect this to be another big hit with people doing tubing." FFJ

Interested in purchasing reprints of this article? Click here

Sources

  • AM Machinery Sales Inc.
    Warminster, Pa.
    phone: 215/293-0333
    www.ammachinerysales.com

  • Camdel Metals Corp.
    Camden, Del.
    phone: 302/697-9521
    fax: 302/697-7405
    www.handytube.com

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