A client has improved the quality of swaging lengths of metal tube by installing a new automatic swaging machine, designed and built by Georg UK.
The client, operating in the self-assembly leisure sector, recognised that their existing manual swaging process could not sufficiently control key parameters resulting in tubes with varying swage lengths which ultimately caused problems in the assembly of parts.
Georg UK designed a solution that would automate swaging the ends of tubes to the required diameter by addressing five key variables:
- the tube material
- the tube reduction diameter
- the line pressure
- the feed rate
- the length/depth of swage tool travel
In-house Trials Identify Ultimate Settings
The technical team at Georg UK undertook a number of trials in-house, adjusting variables such as the hydraulic media flow rate, monitoring the line pressure, and applying proportional flow control valves which have self-contained on-board electronics that receive electrical input from the programmable logic controller (PLC). These valves react to the amount of voltage/current signal received and open to allow proportional flow of hydraulic media which controls the speed at which the swaging tool will travel. Mounted laser sensors monitor the length and depth of a tube. The trials identified the ultimate settings for producing a smooth swaging action which would create consistent tube swaged lengths throughout the machine cycles.
Once loaded with parts, the swaging machine runs by itself for up to 30 minutes. Each tube end is swaged to a 33mm diameter and swaged length of 90mm to within +/-0.5mm. An integrated automatic measuring system confirms the length. The machine also compensates automatically during the cycle to minimise producing rejected parts; any parts that are rejected are automatically ejected into a bin.
The new fully automated machine, which swages four lengths of metal tube per minute, has been designed with two swage types and, depending on which parts are loaded, the machine will automatically configure itself.
The two operatives who had manually undertaken the swaging are now able to focus on more skilled engineering work.