Freeform bending process from Schwarze-Robitec: Bending Large Radii Accurately

Schwarze-Robitec has developed its freeform bending concept further for all-electric tube bending machines. This technology allows the precise creation of large bending radii and variable radius paths on tubes and profiles. A high level of repeat accuracy is achieved even with new, higher-strength materials. At the same time, the system supports the combination of freeform and mandrel bending in one clamping operation and is therefore particularly suitable for users from the automotive and agricultural machinery industries as well as for stair lift and furniture manufacturers.

pipe bend freeform

The requirements for freeform bent tubes and profiles are growing: increasingly complex bending paths and the reshaping of new, higher-strength materials demand improved bending machines and software concepts. The current renaissance in hydroforming is also reinforcing this trend. In order to equip the tube and profile processing industries in the best way possible for these and future market requirements, Schwarze-Robitec GmbH has improved the freeform bending concept for its all-electric tube bending machines. The result: the manufacture of large bending radii of size 6xD is considerably more precise with this technology. “At the same time, the production process is accelerated by up to five times, or even ten times in individual cases,” Jürgen Korte, Plant Manager of Schware-Robitec, explains. “This is because the revised concept allows very high bending speeds and the setup times previously required are appreciably reduced due to the increased precision.”

Improved production processes

In the freeform process, the bending radii are created not with fixed tools but rather by means of independently mounted rollers. The desired bending radius is defined by the feed angle of a reshaping roller. As such, very large radii and complex radius paths can be created with bending radii of varying sizes. The technology is used in all of the all-electric bending machines in the CNC 40 E TB MR to CNC 160 E TB MR series. Using very robust bending heads, even high-strength materials can be manipulated into the desired shape with no problem by means of the freeform process.

Application in the automotive industry

“We have recently delivered an all-electric tube bending machine with this new technology to Mexico, to one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers,” Korte reports. The machine, which has been expanded to be fully automatic – including loading unit for machine feed, measuring system and handling robot for onward transport of the bent parts – ensures fully automated and therefore very fast and economic bending processes. Schwarze-Robitec has had many years of extensive experience in the area of freeform bending.

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