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Publication numberUS3426562 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 11, 1969
Filing dateSep 1, 1960
Priority dateSep 1, 1960
Publication numberUS 3426562 A, US 3426562A, US-A-3426562, US3426562 A, US3426562A
InventorsInda Floyd
Original AssigneeWalker Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Machine for bending metal tubes
US 3426562 A
Images(15)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

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MACHINE FOR BENDING METAL TUBES Filed Sept. 1. 1960 Sheet /4 of 15 United States Patent 3,426,562 MACHINE FOR BENDING METAL TUBES Floyd Inda, Racine, Wis., assignor to Walker Manufacturing Company, a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 1, 1960, Ser. No. 53,407 US. Cl. 72--7 21 Claims Int. Cl. B21b 37/14; B30]: /26; B21j 7/26 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE My invention relates generally to automated machines and more particularly to an automated machine for bending relatively long sections of tubing.

One particular application of the automated machine of the present invention is in the bending of tailpipes for automotive use. A conventional automobile tailpipe comprises a long section of tubing with many irregular bends so placed and oriented that the tailpipe fits properly beneath the frame of an automobile. Obviously, since a tailpipe is a rigid tubular member, no one tailpipe can fit every make or model of automobile. As a practical matter, each particular model of each make of automobile has a different tailpipe. Thus, a manufacturer specializing in the manufacturing and sale of tailpipes must be prepared to make and stock a prohibitive number of tail pipes differing in length, in the number and angle of bends, in the location of the various bends, and in diameter.

There has long been a need for an automatic machine capable of bending any particular type of tailpipes in any quantity desired without requiring the long machine setup time inherent in pipe bending machines heretofore known and used. Such a machine would make it possible to drastically reduce inventories of tailpipes and make it necessary to stock only relatively small quantities of each tailpipe configuration along with suitable quantities of straight tubing of various diameters which could be cut to length and bent as orders for either original equipment or replacement parts are received by the manufacturer.

With the rapid development and use of numerical control systems in recent years, in related machine tool fields as Well as in other fields, it has become practicable to use a numerical control system for the reception and translation of pertinent data relating to the location of each bend, the angle of each bend, and the radial plane of each bend thereby to control an automatic machine so as to feed a straight length of tubing into a bending head in such a manner that the desired bends would be automatically placed in the tube.

A principal drawback to the actual development of such a fully automated bending machine has been the lack of a bending head capable of integration with an automatic system in such a way that the bends are remotely controlled, yet the required clearances and movements are provided so that the tailpipe can be indexed from one bend to another and removed from the machine after the bending operation has been completed.

The bending machine of the present invention solves many of the problems heretofore associated with bending a metal tube at successive positions axially of the tube, to various angles, and in various angularly related planes by effecting the bends without requiring removal of the tube from the machine.

Generally, the automatic bending machine comprises a loading mechanism for the acceptance of lengths of metal tube, a tube feed mechanism for positioning the tube axially and rotatively with respect to the bending head, a bending head to form the desired bends in the tube, and

a numerical control system for controlling the tube feed mechanism and bending head to bend the tube at the axial and rotative position and to any desired angle of be'nd dictated by the numerical input intelligence. After each bend is accomplished, the tube is axially advanced to the position of the next bend, and rotated if necessary, by the feed mechanism the sequence being repeated for any desired number of bends. After the tube is moved through the machine by the feed mechanism and the desired bends are completed, the feed mechanism ejects the tube and indexes to an initial position for the acceptance of the next tube from the loading mechanism. Suitable electrical and hydraulic controls, auxiliary to the numerical control system, provide for automatic operation of functions not requiring numerical control.

The bending machine features a novel bending head that is particularly adapted to automatic control and which effects each bend by mutually complementary rolling, wiping and ramming actions. The bending head utilizes a hydraulic actuator for the advancement of a ram die against the tube between fixed and movable wing dies, the actuator, ram die, and movable wing die being mounted on a rotatable table. The bias of the ram die against the tube effects concurrent rotation of the table, and therefore the ram die and the movable wing die, with respect to the fixed wing die and rotation of the movable wing die with respect to the ram die and table. This novel relationship of relatively rotating components re sults in the aforementioned simultaneous ramming, rolling, and wiping actions. Only one end of the tube is required to be supported which is the optimum condition for the application of an automatic control system to control the positioning of the tube with respect to the relatively rotating components of the bending head.

Control of the bending machine is efiected by a numerical positioning control system that functions in an exemplary constructed embodiment, to translate digital intelligence into analogue commands for machine operation. The numerical intelligence input is coordinated with suitable auxiliary function inputs from, for example, conventional limit switches and push buttons, so as to automatically cycle the bending machine through the full bending sequence and to recycle the machine upon termination of the sequence. The numerical control system is supplied with information as to the axial position of the tube, rotational position of the tube, and angular position of the bending head by suitable position feedback transducers. When the tube is in a position other than the position dictated by the input intelligence, as sensed by a feedback transducer, the resultant error voltage effects energization of a servo drive for the appropriate function to effect either axial movement of the tube, rotation of the tube, energization of the bending head, or any sequential combination thereof. Energization of the bending head effects control of the angle of bend because of the direct relationship between the rotational position of the ram die table, and respective dies of the bending head to the degree of energization of the hydraulic ram die actuator, as will be discussed.

The control system includes a data or intelligence source of a known type which may comprise, for example, punched cards, punched tape, or manual set decade switches. Punched cards and tape require card and tape readers, respectively, whereas decade switches may be directly connected to the control system. The aforementioned intelligence inputs are connected to a director including an auxiliary function input. The director converts digital intelligence from the data input into analogue commands for energization of suitable servo valves. Any error voltage between a command voltage: and feedback voltage is analyzed to determine the amount and direction of position error, whereupon a signal is transmitted to an appropriate valve excitation amplifier and servo valve to reposition the component of the bending machine at a speed proportional to the amount of error and in a direction indicated by the sense of the error voltage.

A bending sequence is initiated by placing a tube in the jaws of the loading mechanism for transfer to a position above the machine where the tube is engaged by the tube feed mechanism. The feed mechanism advances the tube axially with respect to the bending head to a position defined by a tube index stop. Thereafter the tube is advanced axially with respect to the bending head to a position dictated by the input intelligence whereupon the bending head is energized to effect a bend in the tube.

Bending is accomplished by drawing the ram die against the tube at the midpoint between the fixed wing die, which is rigidly supported by the frame of the machine, and the movable wing die. Continued movement of the ram die toward the wing dies causes the table for the actuator, ram die, and movable wing die to rotate with respect to the fixed wing die, causing the tube to be simultaneously rolled, rammed and wiped around the ram die. The movable wing die rotates with respect to the table concurrently with rotation of the table with respect to the fixed wing die.

After the tube is bent to a desired angle, as dictated and sensed by the numerical control system, the ram die is displaced laterally with respect to the table to clear the bent tube whereupon the ram die, table, and rotatable wing die return to an index position. When the rotatable wing die is in the index position, the feed mechanism advances the tube axially to the position of the next bend. If desired, the feed mechanism rotates the tube, as dictated by the numerical intelligence, to effect the next bend in a radial plane angularly related to the previous bend. This sequence is repeated for any desired number of bends that may be preset on the punched tape, punched cards, or manually set up on the decade switches.

Thus, another object of the invention is to provide a machine for automatically bending a tube at any desired position axially thereof.

Another object is a machine for automatically bending a tube to any desired angle.

Another object is a machine for automatically bending a tube in any desired radial plane.

Another object is a machine for automatically bending a tube at a plurality of positions axially thereof, in any desired radial plane and to any desired angle.

Another object of the present invention is a tube bending machine that effects bending of a tube by mutually complementary rolling, wiping, and ramming actions.

A further object is to provide a tube bending machine that is automatically controlled by a numerical control system responsive to inserted intelligence as to the bends to be put in a tube by the machine.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed descriptions, claims and drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of an automatic tube bending machine in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the bending machine of FIG- URE 1;

FIG. 3 is an end view of the bending machine of FIGURE 1 showing the loading mechanism thereof in the tube receiving position, enlarged for clarity;

FIG. 4 is an end view of the bending machine similar to FIG. 3 showing the loading mechanism in the feed position;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary top view, partially in section, of a bending head shown in an index position;

FIG. 6 is an end view of the bending head of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 5 of the bending head after completion of a 90 bend in the tubing;

FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7 after completion of a bend in the tube;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 99 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary end view of the bending machine showing the end stop and operating cylinder therefor;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary end view of the feed mechanism carriage;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary side view of the feed mechanism arbor head;

FIG. 13 is a diagrammatic numerical control circuit for the bending machine;

FIG. 14 is a diagrammatic hydraulic control circuit for the bending machine;

FIG. 15 is a diagrammatic hydraulic control circuit supplementary to FIG. 14; and

FIG. 16 is a diagrammatic hydraulic control circuit supplementary to the FIGURES 14 and 15.

General description A bending machine 20 (FIGS. 1 and 2), in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, comprises a loading mechanism 22 (FIGS. 3 and 4), for the acceptance of lengths of metal tube 40, a tube feed mechanism 24 for positioning the tube 40 at a desired axial and rotative position, and a bending head 30 for effecting bends in the tube 40. The feed mechanism 24 and bending head 30 are energized and controlled by a numerical control system 32. (FIG. 13.)

The tube 40, after being cut to proper length, is placed in three aligned pairs of jaws 42 and 43 of the loading mechanism 22 (FIGS. 3 and 4). The aligned pairs of jaws 42 and 43 are supported by three loading arms 44 which, upon rotation of a common support shaft 45, pivot upwardly to carry the tube 40 to a position above the machine 20 (FIG. 4) where it is picked up by the tube feed mechanism 24. After the feed mechanism 24 engages the tube 40, in a manner to be described, the tube 40 is advanced and rotated with respect to bending head 30 to an axial and rotative position dictated by suitable numerical input intelligence to the control system 32. When the tube 40 is in a desired axial and rotative position, the bendin ghead 30 effects a bend in the tube 40 to an angle dictated by the input intelligence to the control system 32.

Bending is accomplished by means of a hydraulic actuator 50 (FIG. 5) which draws a ram die 52 against the tube 40, engaging the tube 40 at the midpoint between a fixed wing die 56, which is rigidly supported by a frame 60 of the machine and a movable wing die 62. Continued movement of the ram die 52 towards the tube 40 and wing dies 56 and 62 (FIG. 7) causes a table 64 for the actuator 50, ram die 52, and movable wing die 62 to rotate about the pivotal support for the table 64 on the frame 60 with respect to the fixed wing die 56 thereby causing the tube to be simultaneously rolled, rammed and wiped around the ram die 52. It is to be noted that the movable wing die 62 rotates with respect to the table 64 concomitantly with rotation of the table 64 with respect to the frame 60.

When the tube 40 is bent to a desired angle, the ram die 52 is displaced laterally with respect to the table 64 to clear the bent tube 40 whereupon the ram die 52, carriage 74 and rotatable wing die 62 return to their index position (FIG. 5). When the bending head 30 is in the index position, the feed mechanism 24 advances the tube 40 to the position of the next bend. If desired, the feed mechanism 24 rotates the tube 40 to effect the next bend in a radial plane angularly related to the previous bend. When all the bends have been completed, the feed mechanism 24 advances the tube 40 to an eject position whereupon the tube is ejected onto a suitable conveyor or storage device (not shown). The feed mechanism 24 then returns to an index tion of another tube 40.

The frame 60, for the support of the aforementioned components, comprises a pair of spaced parallel machine ways 70 and 72. The feed mechanism 24, comprising a carriage 74, is movable longitudinally of the frame 60 on the ways 70 and 72. The frame 60 has a plurality of upstanding legs 66 and lateral members 80 for the support of the parallel ways 70 and 72 and may be, for example, either a unitary casting or a weldment. The bending head 31), which will be described in detail hereinafter, is supported at one end 81 of the frame 61} (FIGS. 1 and 2).

The carriage 74 is supported for movement longitudinally of the frame 60 by two pairs of rollers 90 and 92, on opposite sides thereof, that are rollable along the ways 70 and 72, respectively. The carriage 74 is driven longitudinally of the frame 60 by a drive comprising a rack 100 and gear 102. The gear 102 is driven by a suitable piston type hydraulic motor 104 on the carriage 74 that is energized and controlled by a servo valve 106, as will be described.

A suitable longitudinal position feedback transducer 110, for example, a transducer manufactured by the W. F. & John Barnes Company, Rockford, 111., extends along the frame 60, a sensing head 112 thereof being supported by the carriage 74 for movement therewith relative to the element 116 thereby to feed back the physical position of the carriage 74 with respect to the frame 60 and bending head 30.

position for the recep- Loading The loading mechanism 22 (FIGS. 3 and 4) comprises the three loading arms 44 which are of generally U shaped configuration and are supported for rotation with respect to the frame 60 at the lower ends 150 thereof, respectively, by the longitudinally extending drive shaft 45. The shaft 45 is supported for rotation by a plurality of bearings 154 and is rotated by a hydraulic motor 155 (FIG. 2) to pivot the upper ends 156 of the arms 44 from a loading position (FIG. 3) to a position above the machine 26 in alignment with the feed mechanism 24 (FIG. 4). Suitable limit switches 157 and 158 are engageable with a cam 159 on the shaft 45 to control energization and deenergization of the motor 155 and to initiate other functions in the bending sequence upon positioning the tube 40 in alignment with the feed mechanism 24.

The upper end 156 of each loading arm 44 is provided with a tube gripping mechanism 160, respectively, comprising a hydraulic actuator 162 having a piston 164 that is secured to the pivoted upper jaw 42 of the gripping mechanism 160, reciprocation of the piston 164 acting to open and close the jaws by moving the jaw 42 up about its pivot. The lower jaw 43 is rigidly supported by the end portion 156 of the loading arm 44. The jaws 42 and 43 are provided with pairs of rollers 172 and 174, respectively, of truncated conical cross section so as to define a V-shaped way to facilitate gripping of the tube 40 therebetween upon energization of the hydraulic actuators 162 to close the jaws.

Tube feed The tube feed mechanism 24 (FIGS. 1, 2, 11 and 12) comprises the carriage 74 having support rollers 90 and 92 thereon for engagement with the ways 70 and 72 of the frame 60, respectively. Movement of the carriage 74 longitudinally of the ways 70 and 72 is effected by the drive gear 102 that is engageable with the longitudinally extending rack 1011 surmounting the way 72. The drive motor 104 is suitably mounted on the carriage 74 and effects rotation of the gear 162 through a suitable gear train (not shown), rotation of the drive motor 104 being controlled by the servo valve 196 which, in turn, is responsive to the numerical control system 32. The longitudinal position of the carriage 74 on the ways 70 and 72 is sensed by the longitudinally extending feedback transducer in cooperation with the sensing head 112 thereof.

After the loading mechanism 22 positions the tube 40 in alignment with the tube feed mechanism 24, the tube feed mechanism 24 is energized to engage the tube 40 for the purpose of supporting the tube 40 for axial movement and rotation. The tube feed mechanism comprises an arbor head having an expandable arbor 122 at one end thereof, for example, an Ericson expanding arbor, that is enclosed within an elongated sleeve 123, the sleeve 123 being fixedly supported by the carriage 74. The arbor 122 is acceptable within the tube 40 and expandable radially outwardly to grip the tube 40 for rotation and axial movement with respect to the bending head 30.

The arbor head 120 is supported for movement with respect to the carriage 74 on a pair of spaced tubular ways 176 and 177, movement along the ways being effected by appropriate energization of a hydraulic piston and cylinder unit 175. Advancement of the arbor head 120 with respect to the carriage 74 biases the arbor 122 thereof into the open end portion of the tube 40 thereby to condition the arbor 122 for expansion.

Gripping of the tube 40 is initiated by forward movement of the carriage 74 to engage the sleeve 123 of the feed mechanism 24 with the end of the tube 40. The sleeve 1'23 preferably is of the same diameter as the tube 40 to facilitate such engagement. Further movement of the carriage 74 and sleeve 123 biases the tube 40 against a retractable end stop 126 (FIGS. 1 and 10), on the opposite end of the frame 60. Engagement of the tube 40 with the stop 126 defines a longitudinal index position for the tube 40. 'Upon the receipt of a suitable signal from an auxiliary input to the control system 32, for example, a limit switch on the end stop 126 (not shown), the hydraulic piston and cylinder unit is energized to advance the arbor head 120 and arbor 122 into the open end of the tube 40. Thereafter, a hydraulic piston and cylinder unit 178 is energized to expand the arbor 122 to grip the internal surface of the tube 40 thereby to positively hold the tube 40 for movement longitudinally of the frame 60 and for rotation to any desired angular position with respect to the bending head 30. Expansion of the arbor 122 is accomplished by an operating rod 179 of the hydraulic unit 178 that extends longitudinally through the arbor head 120 so as to be engageable with the expandable arbor 122 to effect expansion thereof through axial movement of a conventional cone expander.

The end stop actuator 126, against which the tube 40 is biased after engagement by the sleeve 123, is controlled by an end stop hydraulic piston and cylinder unit 192 (FIG. 19). The end stop actuator unit 192 has a piston or operating rod 193 engageable with an arm 194 to effect rotation of the arm 194 about a pivot 195. The arm 194 has an outer end portion 196 that is swingable into alignment with an aperture 197 in a tube guide 198 through which the tube 40 extends and is supported in proper position with respect to the bending head 30. The tube guide 198 depends from an overlying portion of the frame 60. Suitable limit switches 199 and 200 are actuated when the operating rod 193 reaches an upper and lower position, respectively, for control of the actuator unit 192 and to initiate other functions of the machine 20.

After expansion of the arbor 122 to engage the tube 40, the carriage 74, arbor head 120, arbor 122 and tube 40 move longitudinally of the frame 60 as a unit under drive of the motor 104 as controlled by the servo valve 106 and control system 32.

The arbor 122 is mounted on the outer end of a rotatable arbor drive shaft that is rotated by a worm 181 and gear 182. The worm 181 is driven through suitable couplings by a rotary hydraulic motor 183 that is energized through a servo valve 184.

A feedback transducer 186 (FIG. 12) such as an Atcotran transducer manufactured by the Automatic Timing and Control Company, is supported by the carriage 74 for sensing rotation of the arbor shaft 180, arbor 122 and tube 40. The transducer 186 has an element 187 that is movable axially thereof upon rotation of the arbor drive shaft 180 due to, for example, movement of a pin 188 within a helical groove 189 in the drive shaft 180 to give positive indication of the rotational pOSitiOn of the arbor 122 and therefore of the tube 40.

Bending head The bending head 30 is located at the end 81 of the frame 60, only one component thereof, namely, the fixed wing die 56 being rigidly aflixed to the frame 60, the remainder of the components being supported on the rotatable table 64. The table 64 is mounted for rotation with respect to the frame 60 by a vertically disposed pivot pin or shaft 202 the axis of which lies in a vertical plane extending through the longitudinal axis of the un'bent portion of the tube 40. As will be discussed, the fixed wing die 56 is removably secured to the end portion 81 of the frame 60 so that dies of varying length and groove radii can be interchanged to facilitate bending of various diameter tubes at varying bend radii.

As best seen in FIGURES 5, 7 and 8, the movable wing die 62 is rotatable about the central axis of a vertically orientated shaft 308 that is supported by the table 64. The shaft 308 is vertically aligned with the shaft 202, its primary function being to support the movable wing die 62 for rotation relative to the table 64.

The ram die 52 is movable with respect to the table 64 towards and away from a plane drawn through the central axes of the shafts 202 and 308. Such movement of the ram die 52 effects concomitant rotation of the table 64 about the shaft 202, rotation of the movable wing die 62 about the axis of the shaft 308 and bending of the tube 40. The ram die 52 is drawn toward the aforementioned plane upon energization of the hydraulic cylinder 50, the degree of energization controlling the extent of linear movement of the ram die 52 and thereby controlling both the aforementioned angles through which the table 64 and movable wing die 62 rotate and the angle of bend in the tube 40.

Referring now to FIG. 9, the table 64 is supported for rotation with respect to the frame 60 by the vertically orientated shaft 202. The shaft 202 extends through a plurality of apertures 204, 206, 208 and 210 in a like plurality of horizontally extending support flanges 214, 216, 218 and 220 on the frame 60 of the machine 20. The shaft 202 also extends through a pair of aligned vertical bores 243 and 244 in a pair of horizontally extending flanges 245 and 246 on the table 64 thereby to support the table 64 for rotation with respect to the frame 60. It is to be noted that the shaft 202 is pinned to the flanges 245 and 246 of the table 64 thereby requiring that the shaft 202 rotates with the table 64 within the apertures 204, 206, 208 and 210 in the horizontally extending flanges 214, 216, 218 and 220, respectively, on the frame 60. The shaft 202 also extends through a plurality of vertically aligned apertures 230 and 232 in the upper and lower legs 234 and 236, respectively, of a U-shaped face plate support 240. The U-shaped vertical cross section of the face plate 240 is defined by the legs 234 and 236 in conjunction with a vertically extending bight portion 242 (FIG. The face plate support 240, in conjunction with a second face plate support 350, supports a face plate 370 that is secured to the ram or piston 390 of the hydraulic actuator 50 by a plurality of bolts 384.

Rotation of the table 64 with respect to the frame 60 is restrained by a rotary oscillating hydraulic torque actuator 256, for example, an actuator having the trade name Rotac and manufactured by the Excello Corporation, Detroit, Michigan. Rotation of the table 64 is restrained by an upper end portion 252 of an output shaft 254 of the actuator 256 that is keyed to a transverse support member 260 on the frame 60 as by a pin 262. The shaft 254 extends downwardly through an aperture 264 in a flange 266 extending horizontally from the table 64. Therefore, because the housing of the torque actuator 256 is affixed to the table 64, relative movement of the table 64 with respect to the frame 60 is restrained by hydraulic pressure within the actuator 256.

The lower end portion 250 of the table 64 is supported for rotation with respect to the frame 60 by a support shaft 270 that is disposed in a vertical bore 272 in a transverse shaft support flange 274 on the machine frame 60. The shaft 270 extends upwardly into a bore 276 in a horizontal flange 278 of the table 64. The shaft 270 is aligned with both the shaft 254 of the torque actuator 256 and the upper support shaft 202 thereby to facilitate rotation of the table 64 about the common central axis thereof.

Because the shaft 202 is pinned to the flanges 245 and 246 of the table 64 by the plurality of pins 280, a cam 282 on the lower end of the shaft 202 is also rotatable with the table 64 to give, in conjunction with a. suitable feedback transducer 284, positive indication of the rotational position of the table 64. The transducer 284 is affixed to the frame 60 and has a cam follower 286 thereon engageable with the cam 282.

As discussed hereinbefore, the fixed wing die 56 (FIG. 5) is removably secured to the uppermost transverse flange 220 of the frame 60, as by any suitable means, for example, machine screws (not shown), so that die faces of varying arcuate radius can be employed for the acceptance and bending of tubing of various diameters.

A movable wing die support clevis 300 (FIG. 9) having a plurality of aligned apertures 302, 303 and 304 in a like plurality of transverse flanges 305, 306 and 307 is supported by the vertically extending shaft 308 for rotation with respect to the table 64. The rotatable wing die 62 is removably secured to the upper end of the clevis 300 as by bolts (not shown) so as to be rotatable therewith. The lower end of the shaft 308 has a radial flange 310 to position the clevis 300 axially thereof.

The shaft 308 is keyed to the clevis 300 as by a plurality of pins 312 and to an upper end 314 of an output shaft 316 of a rotary oscillating torque actuator 320, for example, a Rotac, as by a pin 321. The housing of the torque actuator 320 is aflixed to a vertical support plate 330 that has upper and lower end portions 331 and 332 adjustably secured to the table 64 as by a pair of ways 333 and 334, respectively. Therefore, rotation of the movable wing die 62 relative to the table 64 is restrained by the torque actuator 320, the amount of restraint being determined by hydraulic pressure applied to the actuator 320. The support plate 330 has a horizontal flange 335 with a bore 336 therein for the support of the shaft 316. Therefore, upon adjustment of the face plate support 350 transversely of the table 64, the plate 330, torque actuator 320, shaft 308, clevis 300, and rotatable Wing die 62 move transversely thereof.

As best seen in FIG. 6, the face plate support 350 is of generally U-shaped configuration defined by a pair of horizontally extending leg portions 352 and 354 and a bight portion 356. The leg portions 352 and 354 have suitable apertures 358 and 360 therein, respectively, for the acceptance of the shaft 308. Therefore, the support plate 350 is movable laterally of the table 64 with the shaft 308, as will be discussed.

As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the bight portions 242 and 356 of the face plate supports 240 and 350, respectively, have a pair of spaced aligned ways 361 and 362 thereon for the support of the face plate 370. The face plate 370 has as uitable aperture 371 for the passage of a pair of actuator extensions 380 and 382 that are fixedly secured to the housing 383 of the hydraulic actuator 50 and to a ram die slide 510 as by a plurality of bolts 512. Because the piston 390 of the actuator 50 is rigidly affixed to the face place 37 0 as by a plurality of bolts 384, energization of the hydraulic actuator 50 effects relative movement between the housing 383 of the actuator 50 and the face plate 370, the actuator extensions 380 and 382 passing through the apertures 371 and effecting movement of the ram die slide 510 and ram die 52.

Adjustment of the bending head 30 to effect bends of different radius is accomplished by varyin the spacing between the central axes of the shafts 202 and 308. The face plate supports 240 and 350 have oppositely threaded transverse bores 400 and 402 therein for the acceptance of an adjustment screw 404, opposite end portions 406 and 408 of which are provided with threads of equal but opposite lead. A center portion 409 of the rod 404 is keyed to a portion 410 of the face plate 370 so that, upon rotation of the screw 404, the face plate 370, the actuator 50, a ram die slide 510 and ram die 52 move laterally with respect to the shaft 202 and fixed wing die 56. The shaft 308 and its appended components, including the torque actuator 320 and movable wing die 62 also move laterally with respect to the shaft 202, twice the distance of movement of the face plate 370, actuator 50, ram die slide 510 and ram die 52.

As best seen in FIG. 6, the table 64 has an upper surface 500 with a pair of parallel ways 502 and 504 thereon (FIG. for the acceptance of the ram die slide 510. The ram die slide 510 is movable on the ways 502 and 504 to support the ram die 52 for movement against the tube 40 under the bias of the actuator 50. The slide 510 is rigidly affixed to the extensions 380 and 382 of the actuator 50 as by a pair of screws 512 so as to be movable therewith. Therefore energization of the actuator 50 effects movement of the actuator housing 383, extensions 380 and 382, slide 510, and ram die 52 to the left, as seen in the drawings, against the tube 40.

The slide 510 is provided with a pair of spaced, parallel transversely extending Ways 520 and 522 for the acceptance of a ram die carrier 530. The ram die carrier 530 is movable transversely of the slide 510 under the bias of a hydraulic cylinder and piston actuator unit 532, one end 534 (FIG. 5) of which is afiixed to the slide 510 and the other end 536 of which is affixed to the carrier 530. lateral movement of the ram die 52 is required to clear the die 52 from the tube 40 upon completion of a bend.

The ram die 52 is secured to the carriage 530 as by a plurality of bolts 538, that permit the die 52 to be removed for the purpose of interchanging dies of various sizes to effect bends of varying radius or to accept tubes of different diameter. Each ram die 52 is of semicircular construction having a peripheral arcuate groove 540 complementary to the tube 40 being bent.

Operation of the bending head 30 is best understood when it is realized that the piston 390 of the hydraulic unit 50 is rigidly secured to the face plate 370' of the table 64- and that when fluid under pressure is admitted to the actuator 50, the hous 383 and its rigid extensions 380 and 382 move to the left as seen in FIG. 5. Movement of the housing 383 of the actuator 50 to the left pulls the slide 510 and attached ram die 52 toward the tubing 40 which has been properly positioned by the feed mechanism 24 in the aligned semicircular recesses in the wing dies 56 and 62. When contact is made between the ram die 52 and the tubing 40, resistance is presented to further movement of the ram die 52. This resistance is provided by the tube 40 and by the Rotac units 256 and 320. The latter resistance can be varied or controlled to provide the proper degree of resistance to effect bends without distortion or deformation of the wall of the tube 40. The unit 256 is preferably set to provide somewhat more resistance than the unit 320 so that the wing die 62 lags behind in terms of angular rotation.

Upon movement of the ram die 52, against the tube 40, the table 64 pivots about the shafts 202 and 270 and torque actuator shaft 254. It is to be noted that the ram die 52 acts against the tube 40 at a point spaced from the central axis of the aforementioned shafts thereby to effect rotation of the table 64. The movable wing die 62 10 also rotates with respect to the table 64 under the bias of the ram die 52. When the table 64 rotates 45 degrees and degrees, the ram die 52, Wing dies 56 and 62, and tube 40 are in the relative positions shown in FIG. 7 and FIG. 8, respectively.

Adjustment of the bending head 30 to change the radius of bend is accomplished by changing and repositioning the wing dies 56 and 62 and ram head die 52. In accordance with the principle of operation of the bending head 30, the center line of the ram die 52 must always be centered halfway between the pivotal axes of the table 64 and movable wing die 62, or, in other words, the central axes of the shafts 202 and 308. Also, the diameter of the ram die 52, which dictates the radius of bend, must be substantially equal to the aforementioned spacing. Therefore, relatively smaller radii bends require a closer spacing of the axes of the shafts 202 and 308.

To accommodate rarn dies of varying diameter, the center line of the hydraulic actuator 50 and ram die 52 is adjustable laterally by the screw 404 relative to the fixed wing die 56. Because the center portion 409 of the screw 404 is coupled to the face plate 370, the center of the face plate 370 is always half-way between the ends of the screw 404 and therefore midway between the axes of the shafts 202 and 308. In order to change the radius of bend, the screw 404 is advanced or retracted until the axes of the shafts 202 and 308 are spaced apart approximately twice the radius of bend desired, which of course, is equal to the diameter of the ram die 52. Preferably, the length of the wing dies 56 and 62 is such that when the wing dies 56 and 62 are aligned in the index position (FIG. 5), they will be spaced apart approximately .0625 inch.

It is to be noted that rotation of the screw 404 also effects transverse movement of the hydraulic torque actuator 320, which is secured to the shaft 308 of the movable wing die. This is required because the shaft 308 of the movable wing die 62 and the torque actuator 320 must be aligned for common rotation.

When the diameter of the tube is changed, the wing dies 56 and 62 and ram die 52 must be changed in order that the concave recesses therein are complementary to the diameter of the tube being bent. In this manner, the machine 20 can be adjusted to bend tubes of any desired diameter at a desired radius.

It is to be emphasized that rotation of the table 64 and therefore the angle of bend in the tube 40 is dictated by the amount of movement of the ram die 52. This movement is in turn controlled by the level of energization of the hydraulic actuator 50. Because movement of the ram die 52 is directly translated into rotation of the table 64, sensing of the rotational position of the table 64, as by the transducer 284 reflects the angle of bend in the tube 40. Because the transducer 284 ultimately controls energization of the actuator 50, the feedback loop is complete.

Numerical control The numerical control system 32 (FIG. 13) translates digital intelligence into analogue commands for control of the bending machine 20. The control system 32 is conventional insofar as the components thereof are concerned, which are, for example, standard components sold by the General Electric Company. The control system 32 comprises a data or intelligence input section comprising, for example, punched cards 600, punched tape 602, or a collection of manually set decade switche 604. The input data comprises numerical information as to the axial position, radial plane, and angle of each bend. The punched cards 600 and tape 602 require card and tape readers 606 and 608 respectively whereas the decade switches 604 may be directly connected into the director of the control system 32. The tape reader 608 also requires a decoder 609. Each of the aforementioned inputs is connected to the director comprising a distributor 610,

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3540249 *Dec 13, 1967Nov 17, 1970Harbert James WApparatus for shaping pliable workpieces
US3681965 *Apr 13, 1970Aug 8, 1972Arvin Ind IncPunch assembly for pipe bender
US3685334 *Feb 25, 1970Aug 22, 1972Pines Eng Co IncBending machine
US3766764 *Oct 6, 1971Oct 23, 1973Limon JAutomatic pipe bender
US3808856 *Jul 3, 1972May 7, 1974B LanceTube bending apparatus
US4100780 *Jan 2, 1976Jul 18, 1978Frank SassakProgram controlled tube bending machine and a binary feed mechanism for use therein
US4161110 *Apr 28, 1977Jul 17, 1979EVG Entwicklungs- und Verwertungs-Gesellschaft mbH.Automatic control device for a bending machine
US4206620 *Jan 12, 1979Jun 10, 1980Eaton-Leonard CorporationDual motor carriage drive
US4590779 *Sep 18, 1984May 27, 1986Tools For Bending, Inc.Program-controlled frame bending method and apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification72/14.8, 72/20.5
International ClassificationB21D7/06, B21D7/00, B21D7/12
Cooperative ClassificationB21D7/12, B21D7/06
European ClassificationB21D7/06, B21D7/12