Tube expansions are used for a variety of applications in many of the objects we use on a day to day basis. From modes of transportation to the plumbing and HVAC in the buildings we walk in, expanded tubes are used everywhere. Expansions can vary from a slip fit for exhaust applications to full on 1 inch expands on diameter. At Proto-1, we have two main methods for producing expansions on tube and pipe; ram end forming and segmented end forming.
RAM End Forming:
Proto-1 has a full lineup of RAM tube end forming machines that can produce a wide range of tube expansions. Ram machines use a set of dies to hold the tube in place while a shuttle with multiple tool hits moves in to expand the tube. With each tool hit, the tube is expanded until the final tool hit expands the tube into the die cavity. Ram tube end forming machines are an ideal machine platform for tube and pipe that requires multiple kind of end forms to be produced in one machine/operation. Many of our ram machines are progressive tube end formers with the ability to be equipped with multiple tools to complete various forms on one tube. Because the material is moved into a tube cavity cut within the dies, ram tube end forming is a very accurate process that it capable of producing tubes with critical tolerances, concentricity, and offsets. A video example of a ram expand is below:
Segmented End Forming:
Proto-1 also offers two lines of segmented tube end forming machines to produce expansions. Unlike their ram counterparts, a segmented tube end forming machine utilizes an inner wedge with tooling segments. When the wedge is moved forward, the segments expand out in a circular fashion, expanding the tube from the inside out.
Our Tube Sizing Machine (TSM) line of equipment is ideal for simple expansions up to 1 inch on diameter. These machines provide a quick and effective way to expand tube and pipe for applications such as a slip fit however, these machines do not provide accuracy that is compared to a ram tube end forming process. Tooling changeover is significantly faster with our segmented tube end forming machine. These machines do not have dies that require changeover but rather tooling fingers that can be swapped out in the matter of minutes.
The Indexing Segment Machine (ISM) is another line of segmented machines that Proto-1 offers. Indexing Segment machines use four jaws to hold the tube in place while inner segments expand, retract, and index the material into the jaw cavity. This process produces results that are similar to ram end forming when it comes to critical tolerances and concentricity. Unlike ram end forming, this version of segmented end forming does not leave any marking on the product. With ram end forming, especially for fuel funnels or complex expands, grips insert/serrations are added to the die to hold the tube in place. Bent parts can also be formed with our line of index segment tube end forming machines. Compared to ram end forming, segmented end forming doesn’t require specially cut dies to accommodate for a bent part. Along with a fast tooling change over, tooling cost for an indexing segment machine is less than ram end form tooling. While forming, many ram end forming applications require the use of lubrication to form a part or product. Index segment machines require minimal lubrication in most end form applications. Aside from expansions, the ISM line of machines is capable of reductions, beads, flares, and more.
Proto-1 Manufacturing is an OEM of tube cutoff and end forming machines for the tube and pipe industry since 1997. Our machines specialize in tube cutoff, deburring, beading, flaring, expanding, and more.
Check out the videos and pictures below to see our expanding capabilities. For info regarding our machines and processes please contact us today.