Unique in the world: All-in-one machines for efficient manufacturing of tubes of complex shapes
At TUBE 2018, Aachener Maschinenbau GmbH (AMBA) is going to present its new all-in-one machines for the production of cold-formed tubes. These machines are the first in the world to produce tubes with varying cross-sections in just one continuous cycle. The first tube manufacturer to use one of these machines has been able to increase the production rate by a factor of ten, while significantly reducing the costs of production.
Tubes with varying cross-sections along their length are traditionally produced by hot working and subsequent machining. This is a rather lengthy process, last but not least due to the great handling effort involved in the frequent re-clamping of the work pieces.
Now AMBA has taken the all-in-one principle known from the manufacture of long bolts to a new production plant for shafts used in car seats. The entire seven-stage cold-forming process, finish rolling and marking are performed fully automatically by one single machine. The tubes leave the machine ready to be installed, requiring no additional machining. Manfred Houben, one of the two Managing Directors of AMBA, is committed to keeping the costs of production down for his customers: “With our machines, our customers can boost the productivity of their operations. All process steps, from the automatic feeding of the input stock out of a high-capacity storage system down to the finished tube ready to be installed, are automated. This not only dramatically reduces human resource requirements. Compared to machining, cold-forming processes also entail much lower tooling costs and eliminate metal chip scrap.”
Apart from these advantages, cold-formed tubes feature better tensile strength properties than hot-formed ones, and the finished tube has a consistent wall thickness over its entire length, even at the transitions between different cross-sections.
Albeit their thinner walls, cold-formed tubes made on the all-in-one machine are generally having the same mechanical properties as a thicker-walled hot-formed tubes. This means lower material costs and lower component weight.
AMBA”s all-in-one machines can make tubes with diameters of up to 50 mm.
Baptism of Fire: Shafts for car seats
In its very first application, the all-in-one machine for tubes makes shafts for car seats. Over their length, these shafts feature six sections of three different diameters. In the past, these shafts were made by a hydraulic forming process followed by machining. With the new all-in-one machine, the manufacturer has been producing at a rate of some 35 pieces per minute, which is more than ten times the throughput achieved before. The machine has definitely passed its field test: In 2017, it produced more than one million tubes for the automotive industry, with manufacturing tolerances of +/- 0.05 mm.
AMBA at TUBE/WIRE 2018:
Düsseldorf, Germany, 16 – 20 April 2018
Hall 15 / C36
Aachener Maschinenbau GmbH – generally referred to as “AMBA” – was founded in 1908, at a time when Aachen was worldwide famous for its high-quality needle production. The company has evolved into an internationally renowned builder of machines used to make cold-formed metal components.
Today AMBA specializes in machines for the production of long parts with varying cross-sections, for example, bolts between 60 and 2,500 mm long, tubes and spokes.
With its all-in-one design, AMBA is worldwide the only manufacturer of machines capable of producing such long and complex parts within one single machine. All process steps, from the input stock – wire or tube blanks – all the way down to the finished, packaged product, are handled by one machine, which is unique in the industry.
At its current headquarters in Alsdorf near Aachen, AMBA employs 49 people in its development and design departments, in the workshops and in after-sales service.