Demand for complex tube geometries is growing in many industries, and producing tubes with multiple bends poses a major challenge in the bending process. Collision detection software systems enable users to map out the individual steps in the planned bending process. This helps predict collisions between tube and the floor or machine, for instance – and thus prevents them from happening at all. But what if a pillar suddenly gets in the way of a tube being moved into the next bending position? Or if a tube with a complex geometry collides with a part of the bending ma- chine while being repositioned for the next bending step? Developed in house, our new collision detection software for fully electric tube bending machines featuring NxG control system prevents such problems from materialising. That’s because we have developed the new soft- ware that takes into ac- count all elements of the tube bending process. It not only predicts whether the tube has sufficient space in the individual positions in the bending process – it also takes into account the tube’s movement in the machine from start to finish. The software analyses the tube’s position after each individual bending step – such as when the unprocessed tube is fed into the machine, or when the bent tube has arrived at the second bending plane. But that’s not all, it also examines all transitional movement between the various steps. To do so, the software determines the position of all the tube bending machine’s CNC axes at each point in time during the entire tube bending process and then accurately predicts potential problems. The probability of an incorrect prediction is close to zero, helping to reduce downtime and the risk of material being wasted, while process security increases significantly. As an added bonus, the software also calculates the exact duration of the process. This enables the system to accurately predict units per hour, making production processes easier to plan.
3D animation provides big picture for interactive planning of tube and pipe bending processes
The simulation software uses the same motion algorithm that determines the machine’s actual bending process. This algorithm not only takes into account the tube’s position after the first and second bends, but also the en- tire path it takes between these two positions – a path that may contain obstacles. The software analyses three sets of data: from the 3D model of the Schwarze-Robitec tube bending ma- chine, the model of the tool used, and the dimensions of the production hall. The data processed comes from both Schwarze-Robitec tools and products made by other manufacturers. The accuracy of the data provided by other companies’ products plays a role in how successful the simulation pre- diction is. If the software predicts a collision for a planned bending process, the operator can react immediately and adjust the movement of the machine, with the simulation providing a 3D animation visualizing the entire process. As such, operators can usually see how to avoid a collision further down the line by simply looking at the display. This introduces an interactive element into bending process planning. Our simulation software is available for all of our fully electric High Performance tube bending machines featuring NxG control systems. It runs on the control PCs installed on modern machines, but can also be provided in a special off- line version, for example in work preparation, including an industrial computer.