Criterion Machinery, Inc.

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Material Handling

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 two different types of Tube-Bundle Unscramblers:

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.

Belt-Type Unscrambler
This unscrambler is used wherever square or rectangular tubes in bundles must be unscrambled.

Tube Bundle Ramp

Two Flexible Tube Escapements

Tube Escapements

We offer several styles of Tube Escapements.

Flexible Tube-Escapement Assemblies
These assemblies are adjustable for tube length and tube diameter. This style is used for round tubes only.

Combination Tube-Feeder Arm/Escapement Assemblies
Combination assemblies are utilized to feed two tubes per cycle or square or rectangular tubing.

Weld-Seam Detection & End Alignment

After tube-bundle unscrambling and escapement, the next step in Tube-Material Handling usually requires placing the weld seam in a consistent radial location. This is usually required for the following:

  • 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.
  • 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. The type of weld-seam sensing equipment used varies with the following:

  • Type Of Tube Material
  • Thickness
  • Surface Coating
Two Different Size Tube Bundle Unscrambling Elevator Assemblies

2-Axis CNC Tube Pick & Place Assembly
Walking Beam Transferring 2 Tubes per Cycle

Tube Transfers

After Weld-Seam Orientation, tubes are then automatically loaded into a machine, and conveyed through a multiple-station Tube-Fabrication Machine by one of the following.

Pick & Place Transfers
These transfers are used when plane orientation of the part is required. Criterion Pick and Place Transfers consist of one or more 2-axis Carriages mounted on a linear rail, and driven by a common servo drive. Typically, two Pneumatic Parallel Grippers per Carriage engage the tube during transfer operations.

Walking Beam Transfers
These are simpler, less costly, and quicker alternatives to Pick and Place Transfers. Walking Beams, however, are only used 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.

01: Tube Handling System for a 3-Station Transfer Machine

02: Unscrambling Elevator and Combination Feed Arm/Escapement

03: Belt Type Tube Bundle Unscrambler

04: Tube Walking Beam Transfers