Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:36

30 million tube bends - and still working day and night!

A tube bending cell based on a Unison all-electric machine has just fabricated its five millionth part at Olicana Products Ltd. As each part has six bends, the Unison machine has made over 30 million bends since installation in 2004! The cell makes one tubular frame complete with fixing holes every 11 seconds.

30 mill

This tube bending cell based on a Unison all-electric machine has just made its 30 millionth bend at Olicana Products - the Yorkshire based tubular parts manufacturer.

Based near Leeds, Olicana Products specialises in tubular parts for mid to high volume applications, and works for clients predominantly in the furniture and bathroom sectors, as well as the high volume automotive sector through its new manufacturing arm Autotubetech LLP.

The Unison tube bending machine and cell has needed only routine maintenance since its installation. It has operated for nine years - producing parts typically on a two-shift schedule - during the day, and overnight on an unmanned 'lights-out' shift. All that's required for production to continue overnight is for the input hopper to be filled before staff leave. In the morning, up to 2000 finished parts are stacked and ready for shipping.

"We try to develop long-term supply relationships with clients, and are happy to invest in automation to ensure that we deliver a superior service," says Rupert Pearson, Managing Director of Olicana Products Ltd. "In this case the cell allows us to make large quantities economically, but also to respond flexibly and quickly to changes in demand, and to re- program easily to put new parts into production rapidly."

"Durability and reliability are central elements of Unison's design philosophy, and the incredible volumes that this cell has produced really demonstrate these attributes," adds Unison's MD Alan Pickering. "The application also highlights the solutions-oriented aspect of Unison's service. This completely custom cell allowed Olicana to make a step-change increase in its productivity, which is something we strive to achieve with every new application."

The cell consists of an input hopper and loader arm, Unison's 5 axis bender, a custom all- electric punch/press developed by Unison, and a robot arm. The articulated arm manages movements within the cell. The hopper loads a tube into the bender. After bending the robot transfers it to the press/punch, and then takes the completed part away, while the next one is operated on. The finished part is then hung on a rail, ready for shipping.

Olicana's cell makes several different products for the same application. To ensure that a bad batch cannot be manufactured - due to an inadvertent human error of loading the wrong program or the wrong tube length - Unison's design team employed the Japanese principle of 'poka yoke' to guard against errors. Photocell sensors detect tube length. If the length is incompatible with the bending program, an alarm is raised and production stopped.

Olicana runs several Unison all-electric tube bending machines. It has a second production cell designed by Unison which has been operating since 2009, and which has also fabricated a very large number of multi-bend parts.

Unison has numerous customers that fabricate parts in very high volumes. Another UK client's machine recently produced its 10 millionth part, fabricating components that typically have two bends - reaching a total of some 20 million bends!

Additional Info

About Olicana Products. Founded in 1947, Olicana Products Ltd is a specialist provider of tubular metal products. It can manufacture parts from tubing sizes up to 50 mm from a variety of materials. It offers a very wide range of associated processes to provide clients with complete solutions. Services include swaging, piercing, notching, punching, presswork, laser cutting, welding and riveting. Olicana also has its own powder coating facilities onsite, as well as offering many other processes and services including trivalent/hexavalent chrome plating, bright zinc plating and plastic injection moulding.

For more information please contact:

Olicana Products Ltd, 59-61 East Parade, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8JP, UK. t: +44 (0)1943 600321;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; www.olicana.com

For more information please contact Alan Pickering at:

Unison Ltd, Faroe House, Thornburgh Road, Scarborough, YO11 3UY, UK Tel: +44 (0)1723 582868;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; http://www.unisonltd.com

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