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Addison McKee : 31 October, 2003  (Company News)
In Buisard’s existing manufacturing process, their complex small trench excavator cab frame shapes were manufactured in two halves. This time consuming process involved the use of both a draw bender and a ring roller to form one half of a cab configuration, then necessitated complete re-tooling for the production of the opposite side of the cab frame, prior to final welding.

With a growing order book, and a desire to significantly streamline their production
systems, Buisard required a solution that would enable cab frames to be made in one operation from a single length of tubular steel, would increase productivity and would require only minimal re-tooling to permit both right-hand and left-hand bends to be achieved on the same machine.

Considerable expertise

As acknowledged leaders in the production of tube bending machinery for use across the global automotive industry - and with significant experience in the manufacture of tubular frames for agricultural cabs and big truck exhaust systems - AddisonMckee had already developed much of the specialist technology that the Buisard application would require.

Indeed the company had only recently supplied its ‘all-electric’, environmentally-friendly, Databend CNC tube bending technology to John Deere in the USA and Airflow of Northampton, UK.

Machine software sequences, allowing the machine to be “taught” specific Totally
new solution AddisonMckee is well used to providing complete solutions for its clients. To meet the Buisard requirement, however, a totally new tube bending machine was required. With Buisard wishing to bend a range of product-unique, bespoke steel sections that would inevitably differ from cab type to cab type, AddisonMckee set about creating a machine that not only embraced its “clean” electrically powered Databend technology, but also offered multi-radius, multi-stack tooling for bending right and left-hand components and incorporated the company’s proven “push boost” expertise.

Precision-built model

Harnessing the many proven attributes of their existing DB100 CNC machine, a heavyduty model specially designed for a whole range of rigorous applications, AddisonMckee developed a brand new model for Buisard. Designated as the DB100ESRBp (E - electric; S - multi-stack; R - multi-radius; Bp – Boost with “push”) the new model is of extremely robust design and incorporates, as standard, special multi-stack features to minimise the laborious task of tool setting.

Push-bend technology

With considerable experience in push bending technology during the bending process (By pushing tubular material through the bending rollers mounted in conjunction with the draw bending technology reduced.), AddisonMckee incorporated a large 3.5-metre boost stroke system into a design capable of accommodating a maximum 8-metre tube – a length necessary to facilitate the required one-piece cab construction.

Synchro-Boost controllability

To ensure precise, totally repeatable control of the draw bending process employed in the cab construction - and to provide consistent wall thickness at the point of bend - the new Buisard machine was also equipped with Addison’s proven “Synchro-Boost” Technology.

“By precisely controlling the amount of tubular material drawn into any given bend, metals are able to be successfully manipulated into configurations that were previously considered impossible,” commented AddisonMckee Sales and Marketing Director, Peter Chapman. “Indeed, where clients were reluctant to even consider 1-D bending across the centre-line radius due to the likelihood of wall thinning, Synchro-Boost makes this a standard production process, with even 0.8D bending being a feasible proposition for some applications.”

Multi-stack capability

With four complimentary stack positions – two for draw bending and two for push bending – the AddisonMckee Buisard machine provides the flexibility to complete both right-hand and left-hand components in the same sequence, allowing, for example, for a door aperture to be created on one side of the tubular frame and a window aperture on the other.

Split-tool facility

As the square section tubular material used by Buisard would lock into the tooling during the draw bend process, the draw-bend tooling was also fitted with a unique “post bend” split facility whereby the tooling effectively opens by 5mm in order to free the bent component, prior to re-tightening ready to complete the next bend sequence.

“Revolutionary manufacturing process”

“In meeting Buisard’s requirement for a new, more efficient manufacturing process, we have effectively revolutionised the production of tractor cab frames,” added Peter Chapman. “We have developed an efficient, highly flexible bending tool that enables one piece tubular frames to be produced, significantly reduces tooling changes, offers complete repeatability and incorporates all the advantages of our proven, environmentallyfriendly all-electric CNC bending technology.
“Through AddisonMckee technology,” he continued, “Buisard have gained the ability to produce cab frames that offer all the inherent benefits of a single piece construction. Additionally, with no welds to dress up or paint over, the finished structure is far more aesthetically pleasing than was previously achievable.”

Significant advantages

Developed especially for the Buisard application, the Addison-McKee DB100ESRBp
machine will bend tube of a nominal diameter of 100mm, maximum wall thickness of 2.5mm and maximum center line radius of 250mm.

Electrically powered, it also offers significant advantages over its conventional hydraulic counterparts. With a fully programmable 9-axis and CNC control of all movements, traditional tube manipulation problems are removed. The elimination of manual machine setting, following tooling changes, provides guaranteed repeatability, flexible programming and fast changeover times, whilst greater controllability ensures better bends and vastly reduced wastage.

At the same time, the absence of hydraulics also ensures that there are no leaks and, more importantly, greatly reduced temperature variations. Whilst both reduced running costs and low-level maintenance procedures are also achieved.

Enhanced “DB” control and versatility

Integral to every AddisonMckee CNC tube bender, “Databend” is an intelligent, flexible computer controlled system that has the capacity to provide complete control, immediate reaction to commands and display total machine operating status. An enhanced touch screen interface also enables all machine and axis moves and boost sequences to be selected simply by the operator. Whilst a unique “teach mode” also eliminates the need for bespoke configurations for the creation of specific shapes and improved repeatability.

World-class design

AddisonMckee’s skilled workforce is capable of manufacturing CNC tube bending and tooling to suit virtually any application large or small. The company’s UK site is equipped with a large variety of modern CNC machine tools, supported by Computer Aided Manufacturing and up to 30 design engineers working within integrated management TQM procedures.

AddisonMckee systems are also used for tube bending and end forming applications in the shipbuilding, aerospace, furniture, sports and hospital equipment industries. At its UK plant, AddisonMckee produces a range of over 50 basic hydraulic and electric CNC machines that can bend from 4mm pipes used in the automotive and aerospace industries to 273mm tubes used in shipbuilding. The company manufactures about 150 end-forming machines a year from its plant in the USA.

AddisonMckee machines are supported by a fast response round-the-clock spare parts and on-site assistance service manned by a team of skilled service engineers. With over 3,000 of its machines installed worldwide, AddisonMckee enjoys a global reputation for meeting and servicing its customers’ needs.
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