Processing metal tubes starts with two major groups of operations: cutting and end-finshing. Many machines can do one of these things well, but not the other. For example, some stationary lathe machines cut metal tubing with a fair degree of accuracy, although vibration tends to be a problem for conventional cut-off lathes, leading to inaccurate cuts and high tool wear. However, these same machines may not have the capability of also finishing the same metal tubes with beveling or chamfering both ends of the tube. For those using these types of machines, a secondary process, which involves unloading the cut metal tubes and transporting them to a second machine for finishing, is necessary.
With a rotating-head cutoff machine, the two processes can be combined into a single, simple task that involves no more than a quick touchscreen setup. Once the metal tubes are loaded, they can be measured, cut, and finished without any further handling. With the addition of loading and unloading accessories, even these tasks can be automated, making the entire process, from start to finish, truly “hands off.” More importantly, because the tubes are held stationary during this process in two metal chucks, rather than spinning as in a traditional lathe, the chance of vibration errors is greatly reduced. The final product is of higher quality and can be finished to more exact specifications.
Beveling and Chamfering Options
A bevel is a simple term that usually calls for the outside of the tube to be machined at a 45 degree angle, and may require an inside “deburr” to remove harps edges. But when a precise tube end chamfer is called out, the tube drawing will show the chamfer angle and depth dimensions for both the inside and outside chamfers. And these may different on each end of the tube. Chamfers also help with assembly operations and improve product quality. In cases where the tube will be butt-welded, a deep bevel or a “J-prep” radius can be produced for proper weld penetration.
Whether the finished product demands a chamfer or another type of bevel, cutting metal tubing finishes to precise angles means that they will fit exactly in demanding applications. Therefore, it is critical that angles and depths be exact. In some cases, these tolerances are so tight that even few thousandths difference can cause the final product to be unusable, especially when CpK monitoring is implemented. In those cases, customers demand a high degree of accuracy.
A rotating-head tube cutoff machine offers many more capabilities than a traditional tube cutoff lathe. Both internal and external chamfers can be machined as a part of the overall cutoff cycle. Because of the nature of the servo-driven tool drive and the variable-size chucks, changing the tube size and end profile is much simpler and takes a fraction of the time.
If you would like to learn more about how a rotating-head cutoff machine can help you process more customized orders for your metal tubes, give Hautau a call. We have been working with companies for over 40 years to create solutions for metal tube processing. Call today to find out how we can help you!