Tube Material Handling
Criterion offers a number of standard Tube Material Handling components and assemblies.
In order to automate the tube fabrication process, several of the following Tube Handling and Tube Feeder Assemblies are often required:
Tube Bundle Unscramblers
Tubes are most often loaded into an automated machine in cut-to-length bundles. We provide 2 different types of Tube Bundle Unscramblers:
a. Tube Bundle Ramp with Tube Unscrambling Elevator. This device is very effective for round tubing applications. Tubes automatically unscramble, elevate, and are aligned for escapement into the machine. This unit can be reloaded while it is still partially full, thus saving downtime. This assembly is available in many sizes.
b. Belt Type Unscrambler. This unscrambler is utilized wherever square or rectangular tubes in bundles must be unscrambled.
We offer several styles of Tube Escapements.
a. Criterion Flexible Tube Escapement Assemblies are adjustable for tube length and tube diameter. This style is utilized for round tubes only.
b. Combination Tube Feeder Arm/Escapement Assemblies are utilized to feed 2 tubes per cycle, or square or rectangular tubing. An example of this is shown in the video at the bottom of this page [See video showing Unscrambling Elevator and Combination Tube Feeder Arm/Escapement].
Weld Seam Detection & End Alignment
After tube bundle unscrambling and escapement, the next step in Tube Material Handling usually requires Weld Seam Detection and Tube End Alignment.
Placing the weld seam in a consistent radial location is usually required for:
a. Bending operations requiring repeatable bends. Weld seam location can affect the rate of material spring-back by as much as 0.5 degrees per bend.
b. Tubes that require insertion of an ID mandrel during tube punching, notching or other forming operations.
Typically, the tube is rotated until the seam location is sensed. An example of this is shown in the video at the bottom of this page [See video showing Tube Handling System for a 3-Station Transfer Machine]. The type of weld seam sensing equipment utilized varies with:
a. Type of Tube Material
c. Surface Coating
After Weld Seam Orientation, tubes are then automatically loaded into a machine, and/or conveyed through a multiple station Tube Fabrication Machine by one of the following:
a. Pick & Place Transfers are used when "plane orientation" of the part is required. Criterion Pick & Place Transfers consist of one or more 2-axis Carriages mounted on a linear rail, and driven by a common servo drive. Typically, 2 Pneumatic Parallel Grippers per Carriage engage the tube during transfer operations.
b. Walking Beam Transfers are simpler, less costly, and quicker alternatives to Pick & Place Transfers. Walking Beams, however, are only utilized when "plane orientation" of the tube is not a process requirement. One exception to this is the conveyance of square or rectangular tubing, which can be "plane oriented" by the Walking Beam tooling.
Each of the following application videos shows several standard Criterion Material Handling Assemblies in operation: