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shipmaking


and repeatability with good throughput—and we are con- fi dent of increasing this even further when we change the process sequence. In fact, based on our experience so far, now that the larger bending machine is in place, we expect to substantially reduce production times for all pipe sizes. We are now effectively a year ahead of the rest of the world in terms of our pipe fabrication capabilities.” Unison all-electric pipe bending machines feature servo-


motor-driven motion axes and fully automated software-con- trolled setup. Simplicity of operation and the fact that Unison was prepared to develop custom pipe bending solutions were two of the key reasons behind Westcon’s original order. Both the 90 mm and the 273-mm machines are fi tted with Unison’s laser springback system, which automatically measures and adjusts bend angles to compensate for the tendency of tubular parts to spring back slightly after be- ing bent. The machines also feature quick-change tooling, which is a major advantage for one-off manufacturing. The machines’ unique mechanical design, combined with the precision axis control capabilities of Unison’s Unibend software—especially with respect to carriage and pressure die boost—makes it easier to achieve accurate and repeatable results, with minimal changes to the wall thickness or ovalness of the pipe that is being bent. These attributes are ideal for manufacturers of marine, offshore and subsea equipment, who invariably need to work to tight tolerances and strict process guidelines.


A Networked System The material storage/retrieval system, pipe cutting and bending machines at the Ølensvåg facility are fully net- worked. The engineering department creates the necessary machine control programs from customer-supplied drawings or CAD fi les, or from data derived directly from a physical pipe using a laser-based CMM. To help simplify the process,


Unison has also supplied Advanced Tubular Technologies’ VTube software. This generates production-ready programs for tube and pipe benders direct from CAD data, and also translates CMM data for reverse engineering purposes. Unison’s Alan Pickering underlined the signifi cance of


Steffen Feder of Westcon Yard shows the type of pipes that can be bent on the new Unison machine.


the Westcon application, “Our all-electric tube and pipe bending technology is starting to make major inroads into territory that was once regarded as the sole preserve of hydraulic benders. This has huge implications—and not just for marine vessel and offshore rig outfi tting and repair or- ganizations, though these are currently driving the take-up of our larger bending machines. “Industries such as nuclear and fossil-fuel power gen- eration, oil and gas refi ning, and chemical processing also make extensive use of large-diameter precision-bent pipes. Accurate and repeat- able bending—especially if it involves expensive corrosion- resistant alloys—are as impor- tant to these industries as any other. Last year, the largest machine that we produced was capable of bending 9" [229 mm] diameter tubes and pipes. This year it’s 10" [254


mm]. We are now entering the domain of process pipe- work, which is an entirely new market.” Bjørn Garvik, sales manager at the Bergen offi ce of P. Meidell AS, Unison’s sales support partner, added that the machine tool market in Nordic countries offers signifi cant growth potential. “Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark all have major shipbuilding interests, which nowadays have to compete with lower labor cost manufacturers in Asia. Automation like Unison’s all-electric tube and pipe bending machines can help companies meet the challenge of these competitive conditions, by signifi cantly improving the effi cien- cy of their production operations.


Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information supplied by Unison Ltd.


72 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2016


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