technologies to bend,
measure multidimensional tubing
Stirling Energy Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz.,
a manufacturer of systems for the solar
power industry, approached Harco Metal
Products about making a component that
requires a series of short, small-diameter
tubes installed in a unique pattern.
Because the bent tubes must have a continuously changing radius, the fabricator
would need a machine capable of making
free-form, multidimensional bends. It also
would need a measurement system that
could accurately evaluate such bends.
Harco immediately was confronted
with a large hurdle in meeting the needs of
this customer: Most readily available
equipment would not perform the
required processes with the speed, accuracy, or consistency needed to meet the customer’s tight tolerance demands.
system. It ran across the TubeInspect HD
machine, developed by Aicon 3D Systems.
A tabletop model developed for small
components, it has a measuring envelope of
17. 7 in. by 15.75 in. by 7. 8 in. and handles
tube diameters from 0.04 in. to 0.40 in.
The machine uses eight digital cameras
for optical measuring and can provide
bend-geometry adjustment data to bending
Harco’s president and founder, Jay Hall,
flew to Germany to meet with representatives from both companies. Within six days
the Harco team proved that the two pieces
of equipment could work together. This
combination of technologies enables Harco
to provide to Stirling complex components
measured to an accuracy of ±0.0010 in.
Harco’s sales and engineering team knew of
a particular tube bending machine developed by Wafios Machinery Corp. that had
the potential to bend the tubing as required.
Harco contacted Wafios, which recommended its BMZ41 and BMZ42 machines,
both of which are capable of bending small-diameter tubes to multidimensional shapes.
Harco then looked for a measurement
Aicon 3D Systems GmbH, Biberweg 30 C,
38114 Braunschweig, Germany, www.
aicon.de or Accurex Dimensional Measurement Systems, www.accurexmeasure.com
Harco Metal Products Inc., 941 W. 23rd St.,
Tempe, AZ 85282, 480-829-0450,
Wafios AG, Silberburgstr. 5, D-72764
Reutlingen, Germany, www.wafios.de or
Wafios Machinery Corp., www.wafios.us