These processes, also known as tube fabricating, take place after the initial tube forming from raw metal materials in order to customize the tubing to better fit the intended application. Performed on shapes such as square, rectangular or round, tube end forming processes can also be used on various tubing diameters and lengths.
Many industries benefit from tube end forming for diverse applications such as: automotive and aerospace, for power transmission applications including fuel lines and exhaust pipes; industrial manufacturing, for applications such as hydraulic cylinders and heat exchangers; retail, for point of purchase (POP) displays; and construction and architecture, for hardware such as grab bars, handrails and floor flanges.
There is a wide range of metals used in tube end forming process, although some metals have proved more difficult to use than others. Some commonly used materials include steel, stainless steel and copper, while some aluminum alloys can make tube end forming quite difficult. Some advantages that tube end forming processes can offer include: enhanced tube strength, improved connectivity to other components, such as a hose with tube flaring, and increased sealing capabilities.
While there are numerous tube end forming processes, flanging, beading, expansion or reduction, flattening and chamfering are among the most common. At its most basic, tube end forming alters the shape of the tube’s end in some manner beneficial to its intended application; thus, all of these processes are for customization of the tube. For instance, tube flanging is done to create a projection around the end of the tube either for increased strength or in order to attach to another component. This process is less expensive than the alternative method of welding of flanges onto pipes or tubing. Tube beading is also used to create a method of attachment to other components.
There are two main types: rotary beading, which can be used for o-rings or to connect hoses, and compression beading, which is used for sporting goods and lawn equipment. Tube expansion and tube reduction both serve to alter the size of the end of the tube. The purpose of this process is to better fit the tube to the attachment, such as connecting to fluid lines in a hydraulic system.
Tube flattening is used to create a way to easily fasten tube assemblies to the tube; thus, the ends are then trimmed and a hole is pierced for attachment. Lastly, tube chamfering is probably the least common of the five, and is used to create beveling within the end of the tube that allows for easy attachment to certain components.