From Artificial Intelligence to Handcrafting: A Manufacturing Blog

Pipe Bending Technology Explained

by Jennifer Jones

Pipe fitting is a skilled job which usually takes a lengthy apprenticeship in order to learn all of the commonly used techniques. The skills required by pipe fitters to bend pipes can be applied to plumbing and gas engineering as well as ducting and air-conditioning. However, many of the bending processes and technologies used are common to all of these disciplines.

DIY pipe fitting is often undertaken in Australia for plumbing, but it is often better to call upon a professional when pipes need to be fitted into small recesses and where awkward turns and junctions need to be accommodated with bends.

Rotary Draw Bending

As well as plumbing pipes, this technique is used to shape car chassis and roll cages. The rotary draw bending approach uses a counter-bending die, which is stationary plus a fixed radius die that actually makes the pipe bend. This technology is a good choice when a heavy pipe needs to maintain an attractive finish as well as an even diameter over the course of the bend. This approach is also often able to handle square-shaped tubing as well as the more common circular style.

Induction Bending

Induction pipe benders use an accurately controlled level of heat to bend sections of pipe rather than create turns and joins. Metal pipes are reshaped through the application of a high-frequency electrical power source that allows them to be bent more easily. This is done without deforming the pipe so that it continues to work properly.

Induction pipe bending was originally developed to harden the surface of steel materials. When used in pipe bending, an induction coil is placed around the pipe, which raises it to a temperature of between 850 and 1,000 degrees C. The heated pipe is then transferred through the induction coil as a bending force is applied to meet the desired radius of the bend. Since the pipe on either side of the bend remains hard throughout the process, distortions are minimised with this bending technique.

Hydraulic Bending

Often digitally controlled, modern hydraulic benders are used to reshape pipes with a high degree of accuracy. However, these devices don't heat the pipe but rely on brute force instead. As such, these bending devices tend to be heavy and more useful for professional applications, such as factories and oil rigs, than in homes. A variety of 'formers' might be fitted to a hydraulic bending unit that allow for various radii of bends to be made.

For more information, contact local professionals like Inductabend Pty Ltd.