Unison Ltd.

Faroe House Thornburgh Road, YO11 3UY Scarborough, North Yorkshire
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Telephone +44 1723 5828-68
Fax +44 1723 5823-79
sales@unisonltd.com

Hall map

Tube 2018 hall map (Hall 5): stand E10

Fairground map

Tube 2018 fairground map: Hall 5

Contact

Stuart Singleton

North American Sales Manager
Sales

Phone
001 828 808 4286

Email
stuarts@unisonltd.com

Steve Haddrell

Key account manager
Sales

Phone
0044(0) 1723 580 156

Email
steveh@unisonltd.com

Visit us

Hall 5 / E10

16.04.2018

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all-day

Brand new end facing machine for tube and pipe to be launched!

At TUBE 2018, Unison Ltd will be launching its innovative End Facing machine for tube and pipe – aptly referred to as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of end facing tools because it has multiple capabilities.

Features include:
• Medium, high and ultra-high cone & thread tube end preparation (6mm – 38mm depending on tube size and pressure rating)
• Square edge tube end preparation >50.8mm
• Plain V bevelling >22mm
• Compound bevelling 22mm – 50.8mm
• Flat land bevelling >19mm
• Flat land bevelling (19mm – 50.8mm)
• J type bevelling <50.8m
• With more capabilities coming soon!

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Our products

Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 25mm tube bending machine

The Unison Breeze 25mm tube bending machine is ideal for small, complex, accurate tubes typically found in automotive, marine or aerospace components. Available with multi-stack tooling option and automatic loading/unloading. The left & right hand version of this machine is suitable for highly complex parts which may cause collisions on a standard machine

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 30mm tube bending machine

Ideal were complex accurate tubes are required, typically fuel filler pipes, vehicle seating etc. Often used in the aerospace industry for bending complex multiple bend fuel pipes, where accuracy and repeatability are crucial.

Options Include :
Multi Stack, Multi Radius, Boosted Powered Follower (SERVO),  Full Length Carriage Push (SERVO), Roll Forming, Mandrel Retraction (SERVO) Mandrel Lubrication, CMM Interface, Split Tooling, CAD Links, 3D Machine Simulation, Tooling Barcode Reader and Robot Loading & Unloading.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 40mm tube bending machine

  • Suitable for bending tubes up to 40mm diameter including stainless steel
  • Available in multi-radius, multi-stack, single-stack and left & right hand versions
  • Direct acting clamp and pressure die for rigidity and accuracy
  • Full CNC control over all axis including clamp and pressure dies
  • Force sensing on the clamp & pressure die
  • Very environmentally friendly no hydraulic leaks, oil waste etc.
  • Noise level: 50 to 60db (voice level)
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Machine auto lubrication system as standard
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 65mm tube bending machine

  • Suitable for bending tubes up to 65mm diameter including stainless steel
  • Available in multi-radius, multi-stack, single-stack and left or right hand versions
  • Direct acting clamp and pressure die for rigidity and accuracy
  • Full CNC control over all axis including clamp and pressure dies
  • Force sensing on the clamp & pressure die
  • Very environmentally friendly no hydraulic leaks, oil waste etc.
  • Noise level: 50 to 60db (voice level)
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Machine auto lubrication system as standard
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

Although originally designed for exhaust bending the Unison 65mm tube bender is now proving its accuracy and versatility in the high demands of the aerospace industry.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 76mm tube bending machine

  • Suitable for bending tubes up to 76mm diameter including stainless steel
  • Available in multi-radius, multi-stack, single-stack and left or right hand versions
  • Direct acting clamp and pressure die for rigidity and accuracy
  • Full CNC control over all axis including clamp and pressure dies
  • Force sensing on the clamp & pressure die
  • Very environmentally friendly no hydraulic leaks, oil waste etc.
  • Noise level: 50 to 60db (voice level)
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Machine auto lubrication system as standard
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

This high capacity tube bender is ideal for high accuracy and repeatability necessary for the automotive & furniture industry

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 100mm tube bending machine

  • Suitable for bending tubes up to 100mm diameter including stainless steel
  • Available in multi-radius, multi-stack, single-stack and left or right hand versions
  • Direct acting clamp and pressure die for rigidity and accuracy
  • Full CNC control over all axis including clamp and pressure dies
  • Force sensing on the clamp & pressure die
  • Very environmentally friendly no hydraulic leaks, oil waste etc.
  • Noise level: 50 to 60db (voice level)
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Machine auto lubrication system as standard
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

This high capacity tube bender is ideal for high accuracy and repeatability necessary for the Hydro forming process

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 150mm tube bending machine

  • Suitable for bending tubes up to 150mm diameter including stainless steel
  • Available in multi-radius, multi-stack, single-stack and left or right hand versions
  • Direct acting clamp and pressure die for rigidity and accuracy
  • Full CNC control over all axis including clamp and pressure dies
  • Force sensing on the clamp & pressure die
  • Very environmentally friendly no hydraulic leaks, oil waste etc.
  • Noise level: 50 to 60db (voice level)
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Machine auto lubrication system as standard
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

This high capacity tube bender is ideal for high accuracy and repeatability necessary for the Aerospace industry

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 220mm tube bending machine

  • Capable of bending tube up to 220mm in diameter (sch. 40 pipe)
  • Available in left or right hand versions
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

In 2014, the Unison R & D team worked closely with a customer to develop a ground-breaking all-electric machine capable of bending tubes and pipes up to 8 inches/ 220 mm in diameter. Until this development, the largest all-electric machines offered by most vendors could typically handle maximum tube/pipe sizes up to 7 inches/ 175 mm.
The novel electromechanical actuation architecture we developed during this project has future-proofed the scaling of even larger machines, which means we are able to take steps to 250-300 mm pipe sizes with ease, with bend torques up to a million Newton-metres or more.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Unison Breeze 273mm tube bending machine

  • Capable of bending tube up to 273mm in diameter
  • Available in left or right hand versions
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Pinball tube bending machine - 30mm-100mm

  • Tube bending machine available between 30mm-100mm
  • Left and right hand
  • Unibend V11 – Easy to use PC Based Control System Using Windows
  • Internet Off Site Diagnostics & Black Box Diagnostics
  • Setup time is reduced, Setup skill level required is reduced
  • Scrap is reduced and productivity increased

The Unison Pinball bending machine is an ideal solution for highly complex part shapes where collisions may occur on a standard machine. The Pinball machine also allows for the use of Wiper Dies to further support difficult bending applications. Available from 30mm-100mm, the Pinball is a popular choice in various industries including Aerospace, Marine and Oil & Gas.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Twin head tube bending machine - unison ltd

For high speed manufacture of wheel barrows or seat frames where symmetrical shapes are required. Machines can be fitted with weld seam detection units, end formers, tube marking equipment, bar code tube batch readers etc. The automatic unloading can use stacking equipment or robots for a second operation such as punching or welding.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

CNC tube coiler

This coiling machine is a two-axis servo controlled coiler with 5,000 Nm of bend torque and 10, 000 N of force in the traverse axis. The machine has the capability of manufacturing clockwise and anticlockwise helix coils with variable pitch from 50mm to 350mm inside diameter. The maximum coil height is 1200mm and it is designed to coil tubes from 5 mm OD to 26 mm OD in Mild Steel and Stainless Steel. It also has a large swing at the head section of the coiler to allow flat pancake rolls to be manufactured with a maximum diameter of 1200 mm.
This machine coils the tube from underneath the drum so all the components are clear for loading tooling from the top. This allows crane loading of heavy tool sets. A further improvement is the addition of a scissor lift to lower heavy drums onto. Final positioning of the drum can be done using this lift.
We have an easy to use HMI touch screen to control the coiler this allows storage of the bend data programs and notes allowing easy recall and setup for repeat orders.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Robot tube benders

Unison Robot Bending Machines are suited to the production of long multi-bend parts, such as power steering, air conditioning or brake tubes. They have the advantage of being self loading and unloading if required.The Unison Breeze robot tube bender is a multi-axis machine that eliminates noise and dirt by using state-of-the-art robots.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

CNC manual tube bender

The Silkmead Evbend 1000 is a CNC controlled, manually operated 3 axis CNC precision Tube bending machine  with a capacity of up to 50.80 dia.
Tube Bending
Our latest Evebend  is able to bend tubes up to 2” O/D with a power assisted bend arm developed by Unisons design specialists. All our tube benders are production robust and conform to industry standards.
Tube Coiling
The EB1000/2000 can produce coils for a wide range of industries that include Heating and Processing Industries. Vending, Commercial Vehicles, Printing, the Brewery trade.
End Forming
Our DB50 machinery caters for end forming, end closing, bending and hole punching. Complex and basic design end forms are produced on ferrous/ non-ferrous tube, ranging from 4mm to 63mm tube diameter.
Silkmead Tubular adds 30 years’ experience of tube manipulation where their brand provided both product and production knowledge to the aerospace and military and also the world of F1 racing.

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Rotary end forming machine

The DB50 a rotary end forming machine capable of flaring and beading tube up to 38.00 dia and deburring tube up to 50.80 dia.
Capacity
DEBURRING/SQUARING (3.18mm – 50.8mm)
FLARING (3.18mm – 50.8mm up to 1.65mm wall thickness) Dependent on material
BEADING (6.38mm – 38mm up to 1.25mm wall thickness) Dependent on material

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Product category: Forming, bending, twisting, fabricating, hydroforming

Tube bending tools

Unison can provide all tooling for your bending needs and hold a large inventory of mandrels, wiper dies, bend dies, clamps and pressure dies. We can design complex metal bending tools for the most difficult bent shapes as well as give excellent technical support and service. Unison has provided tube bender tooling for many of the most challenging projects in all sectors including Aerospace, Marine and Automotive . Using the latest CAD/CAM technologies we endeavour to provide the highest quality products at the shortest possible lead times.
Unison has pioneered many innovations in this sector including :
Quick Change Collets and Mandrels.
Bar Coded Tooling for Automated Setup and Poke-Yoke error prevention

Tube Bender Tooling:
The Collet holds the tube to allow for multiple bends
The Bend Die is used to form the tube to the desired radius.
The Clamp Die holds the tube securely to the Bend Die so that the tube does not slip during bending.
The Pressure Die reacts the force created by the bending moment and if driven forward can reduce wall thinning.
The Mandrel is used inside the tube to keep the tube from collapsing inward. Choosing the right mandrel is very important in determining the quality of the bend.
The Wiper Die is placed against the Bend Die on the inside of the bend to eliminate wrinkles. Used for premium and aerospace bending.
Unison can provide tooling to bend from 10mm to 180mm, draw bending, compression bending and roll form tooling.

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Company news

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Apr 5, 2018

leading tube and pipe fabrication specialists invest in 7th Unison tube bender

Continuing investment in versatile all-electric tube bending machinery from Unison Ltd is helping one of the Midwest US’s leading tube and pipe fabrication specialists, Sharpe Products of Wisconsin, to meet the evolving business challenges in its sector of the metalworking industry.

Sharpe made the investment to give the company an edge in meeting the everchanging demands of the tube and pipe jobbing business. Most customers no longer want to invest in stock, and batch sizes have reduced dramatically. This means that machine set-up times become a major factor in job pricing. Any scrap generated during set-up – which can often run into several pieces when using older hydraulically-actuated bending machines – also negatively impacts job costs. Unison machines are designed for quick tool changeovers and right first time bending thus reducing total cost to manufacture.

The first Unison machine Sharpe Products bought was the Breeze 3-inch tube bender, and since that moment, Sharpe Products has been a loyal Unison customer.

To date, Sharpe Products has acquired the following Unison tube benders:

·        1.5-inch single stack

·        2-inch left/right Breeze Revolution

·        Three 3-inch Multi Stack

·        4-inch Multi Stack

·        5-inch Multi Stack

Sharpe’s latest purchase is the Breeze 3” Multi Stack, CNC-controlled, 3-axis precision pipe bending machine with a capacity up to 3” or 80 mm diameter tubes.

This high capacity tube bender is ideal for the high accuracy and repeatability necessary for the aerospace, automotive & furniture industries.

Sharpe specified the latest Unison Breeze 3” machine for flexibility, to help the workshop serve any customer requirement. It’s a multi-stack bender with an ability to hold several tools on the machine for multi-radius parts or to reduce tool changeover times and is also fitted with high torque servomotors to accommodate the most challenging materials. It features a swing-away wiper die servo axis to enable short final straight part designs to be manufactured without post bend trimming operations.

Options Include (all servo-electric):

Multi stack, multi radius, boosted powered follower, full length carriage push, roll forming, mandrel retraction & anticipation automatic mandrel & wiper die lubrication, CMM interface, cad links, 3D machine simulation, tooling barcode reader and robot loading & unloading.

Why buy a tube bender from Unison Ltd?

“Unison’s pipe benders are extremely reliable machines with innovative control technology & robust hardwearing, rigid mechanical designs that have helped us to continually meet the demands of our customers. On top of the great machines, they have great people providing great service and support. Unison offers the complete package.” – Paul Krickeberg, President, Sharpe Products.

“Repeat orders are always good news because they carry a clear customer endorsement. We have a great relationship with Paul Krickeberg, and he has supported Unison with projects requiring product demonstrations and research and development work many times over the years. Paul has advocated the Unison technology for its benefits and advantages to his business for many years and has invested his money in new machines, replacing older hydraulic machines to bring those improvements into his business.” Jim Saynor, Sales Manager – Unison Ltd.

About Sharpe Products

Sharpe Products was established in 1990 and is based in New Berlin, Wisconsin, USA. Sharpe Products offers custom pipe & tube bending/rolling, tube laser cutting and fabrication services to many industries and OEMs. Prototypes to high volume production jobs are welcome.

Equipped with the latest tube bending machinery and inspection technology to bend pipe & tube up to 6'' O.D., Sharpe has experience with steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminium & more. Further information is available at www.sharpeproducts.com.

About Unison

As the Inventors of All-Electric Tube Bending, we have over 20 years’ experience in producing over 30 different machine types from ½” to 10” in all varieties from simple single stack to complex 3.5” multi stack Left and Right to 10” Shipyard machines.

We push technical boundaries, whether this is in the manufacture of the world’s largest all-electric pipe bending machine, an automated manufacturing cell or an integrated software solution.  Our reward is a global reputation as the supplier that solves the most challenging customer problems. Unison has progressively led the tube bending machinery industry by increasing the tubing diameters that can be formed using all-electric motion and is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tube bending machines and associated software. In 2014, Unison took another quantum leap in tube bending machine power by developing a servomotor-powered machine architecture that is capable of bending thick-walled piping with diameters of 225 mm and more. The company is headquartered in Scarborough, UK, and has a second design office in Manchester, UK, plus a direct sales and service centre located in North America. Our first US manufacturing facility will be opening in Danville, Virginia in the coming months. Further information is available at unisonltd.com.

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Jan 22, 2018

Software solves the biggest bending problems for tube fabricators

  • Programs and apps analyze bend information, spot problematic specifications, highlight missing dimensions
  • CAD software allows engineers to work up perfect designs, and this is problematic for tube fabricators. If the engineer lacks experience with tube, they tend to develop parts that can't be made, or can't be made economically. Unison has introduced software to deal with this situation.
A few decades ago, manufacturers did most of their own tube bending, relying on in-house expertise. As bending knowledge spread and entrepreneurial sorts struck out on their own, jobs shops specializing in tube fabrication started to spring up more and more. The shift from OEMs to fabrication shops continues to this day.

This arrangement frees OEMs to do what they do best—designing and assembling their products—and allows fabricators to concentrate on refining and expanding the knowledge of their specialty. The downside is that, as time goes on, tube and pipe bending knowledge gets further concentrated among specialty job shops and becomes increasingly rare among OEMs. The result is a tendency for design engineers at OEMs to develop components and assemblies that cannot be manufactured, at least not economically.

Desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and the Internet, all of which assist in the spreading of information, haven’t helped to spread bending knowledge. In fact, one technology has actually made this problem much worse: Software. Specifically, computer-aided design (CAD) software. For all the good this software has done, it has been the unwitting culprit in making many fabricators’ lives difficult.

CAD allows engineers to work up perfect designs. Common but unreasonable specifications include too-precise bend angles, end point locations with extraordinarily tight tolerances, and zero ovality in the bend zone. Most newly minted engineers would be surprised to learn that straight tube often has a bit of bow to it, round tube has a bit of ovality, and the wall thickness varies. As the saying goes, “Round tube isn’t round, and the hole isn’t in the middle.” Imperfect inputs lead to imperfect outputs, and this is what fabricators deal with every day.

Unaware that tube normally has dimensional shortcomings, designers and engineers press on, designing perfect parts. If perfectly fabricated tubular components were to occupy a geographic location, you’d find them in one of two places: The Land of Impossibilities or The Realm of Economically Unfeasible Projects. Nobody wants to design a component, assembly, or product that ends up in one of these places.

Fabricators who accept contracts without doing a proper application review might find themselves involved in a costly and time-consuming situation, trying to make something perfect from something imperfect. Skilled tube bending applications engineers are both expensive and rare, so using the right tools to extract the data and provide detailed analysis and reports is one way of cutting the risks involved with dodgy specifications.

Where We Are Now
A scarcity of practical metal fabrication knowledge is accompanied by an abundance of poor part designs. Often the part shape has no consideration for the equipment or tools that tube fabricators actually have at their disposal. Six problems come up repeatedly:
Bend radii are unnecessarily small, making the bending setup and runoff more complicated than they need to be.
The specified material—alloy and wall thickness—is too strong. The workpiece has a minimum yield strength that exceeds the bender’s maximum torque.
Bend radii fluctuate throughout the part. A closely related problem concerns bend radii that have no bearing on the tools that the fabricator has on the shelf.
Straight lengths are impractical or simply nonsensical.
Parts collide with the machine that is supposed to make the part.
Part drawings are dimensioned in such a way that they provide no meaningful information to the fabricator. Head-scratching ensues, followed by substantial time spent on calculations, chewing up large quantities of the only irreplaceable resource (time) before manual programming begins.

These problems lead to high scrap rates, paperwork madness (reissuing work orders, issuing change notices, and ordering different material), delayed release of work packages, rework of components that don’t pass inspection, and recalls of components that have shipped by mistake.

Where We Should Be
Just as software contributed to this problem by making it easier than ever for an engineer to design the impossible, or at least the very difficult and very costly, software is coming full circle. Programs and apps are available these days that can alleviate these problems. Modern programs are available that extract the data, perform a detailed analysis, and generate reports that allow pipe shop fabricators to respond to the clients before they even consider bending the first tube.

Apps and software packages are available that allow users to easily extract, interpret, and manipulate tube data in CAD formats. Also, many bending machine manufacturers now offer office versions of their control software, meaning programming and simulation are available without disrupting production.

Modern tube bending software uses the workpiece’s diameter, wall thickness, and yield strength (left) to determine the amount of bending force (center), tooling characteristics, and bending difficulty (right).

Apps such as “Tube Bending Tooling Calculator Pro” (available for free from the Apple app store) need a couple of inputs, such as material and bend radius, to generate information about the required torque, tool setup, and bending difficulty (see Figure 1). The app also estimates the bend difficulty and provides other handy information to help determine if the equipment can handle the task. This allows the fabricator to respond to a bid within minutes.

Software packages such as VTube-STEP and TubeWorks (an add-in for SolidWorks) can be mastered in as little as 10 minutes and allow fabricators to:
Extract tube specifications from imported tube models (round, square, rectangle, flat-sided oval, and standard oval) to find the outside diameter, wall thickness, and bend radii automatically.
Build accurate XYZ/YBC/LRA data in just a few clicks.
Check bend radii against the tooling database.
Change bend radii to use existing tooling without altering overall part shape.
Create technical drawings and reports to assist the production and quality departments.
Flatten part shapes to understand cut lengths and other features within a part.

Create CNC bend data outputs in industry—standard formats that can be read by most bending machine software.
These Windows®-based applications are easy to use, reduce development time, and help fabricators respond to enquiries faster than ever before.

When a project reaches this stage, the next step is to send the bend data to a simulator, such as Unison's bespoke simulation software Opt2Sim, to check for collisions between the part and the machine (see Figure 2). Many simulators either are derived from CAD or are reverse-engineered representations of the machine, leaving little doubt about the simulation’s accuracy.

If the simulation is successful, the fabricator can accept the contract with confidence. However, if the simulation isn’t successful, or if the software flags other concerns, the documentation generated by the software puts the fabricator in a strong, well-informed position to discuss the issues with the OEM and helps to suggest part revisions.

Where We Are Going
In the digital age, customers are demanding more for less. As a result, tube and pipe shops must streamline their working practices and eliminate rework to remain competitive while maintaining reasonable profit margins. The day when a fabricator can go from CAD to production more or less immediately isn’t far off. The process will require human input, but little more than a machine operator dropping the tools into the machine, loading a cut length, and hitting the start button.

This scenario is based on software that allows design engineers to cross-reference tooling databases and run simulations to determine which machine in the fleet is most suited to make the part as they design it, not after they design it. Such software isn’t yet available but soon will become a reality, and it will provide the designers much more control over manufacturing processes than ever before. They will be able to enhance and refine the processes by experimenting with just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks rather than using valuable shop time.

After developing a bending sequence, the designer will be able to try various tweaks to compress the cycle time, perhaps reducing a 90-second process to 60 seconds. Furthermore, a warning about the bend difficulty will allow the design engineer an opportunity to make the operators’ lives easier. Trying various combinations of material, wall thickness, and centerline bending radius based on a tool set that is easy to install, will allow the designer to reduce the likelihood of wrinkles and splits while keeping setup time to a minimum.

As bending simulators become even more sophisticated, the simulated cycle times will be accurate enough to use in the shop’s production schedule and in customer quotations. In turn, these capabilities mean that the fabrication shop’s production manager can release the work package to the production team knowing that the shop has the machines, tooling, and time to get the job done right, the first time, on time.

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Jan 22, 2018

Supplying the Royal Air Force for over 13 years

Unison has been working closely with the Royal Air Force (RAF) since the installation of their first all-electric tube bending machine in 2004. Selected Military of Defence (MOD) suppliers must demonstrate technical services and advice that is consistent, reliable and economically-rational, proving that Unison is a knowledgeable and trusted vendor.

As the air component of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces, the RAF employ the use of Unison tube bending machines, software and precision tooling to produce tubular aerospace and defence parts.

“Our long-term relationship with the RAF is a critical step in improving performance across our products and enables both parties to grow and develop,” says Unison’s Head of Sales and Support, Stuart Calvert. “The MOD’s procurement commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has helped businesses such as Unison to gain a greater share in the defence business and we take great pride in being one of their chosen suppliers.”

In addition to their Unison Breeze all-electric tube bending machine, the RAF also operate numerous EB1000 machines, which are manually operated, precision controlled, 3-axis tube bending machines. They offer accurate, multi-plane bending at a lower cost than most CNC benders. It’s CNC control includes a PC based 15” touch screen and is capable of processing up to 100 bends per component, storing infinite parts and connecting to both CAD and most tube measuring systems.

About the RAF

The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology.

About Unison Ltd

Unison Ltd is the leading tube bending machine specialist offering the most extensive range of all-electric tube bending machines in the market. Custom products tailored to specific customer requirements account for a significant proportion of our business, for diverse market sectors including aerospace, automotive, marine, oil and gas, energy and bespoke products.

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Jan 22, 2018

Unison helps build new £3bn warship - HMS Queen Elizabeth

We provided all-electric tube bending machines which were used to bend more than four miles of pipe work for the Queen Elizabeth warship.

Our machines carried out the work to the warship at the BAE Scotstoun Shipyard in Glasgow. Alan Pickering, from Unison, said it was a very proud day for Unison and "long may it continue".

Speaking at the event, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “We welcome our mighty new warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to her home for the very first time. “She is Britain’s statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role. “The thousands of people across the UK who have played a part in building her and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, should be immensely proud as our future flagship enters Portsmouth.”

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Jan 22, 2018

Unison to open advanced manufacturing facility in USA

This will be the company’s second manufacturing facility, firmly establishing Unison’s committed production capabilities in the USA.

The new factory in Danville, Virginia, is intended to support the activities of the plant in North Yorkshire, which has witnessed a considerable manufacturing growth that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Unison Ltd will invest $5.2 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the Cane Creek Centre Industrial Park, jointly owned by the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County.
“We are incredibly excited about the benefits this facility will give our existing and future customers,” says Joint Managing Director, Julian Kidger. “Our plan includes the creation of 35 new jobs in the next 3 years and it will be fantastic to be able to label our machines as “Made in America”.

“Our plan includes the creation of 35 new jobs in the next three years. It will be fantastic to genuinely be able to label our machines as ‘Made in America.’ Supporting our customers’ needs is hugely important to us. Many of our initial hires for the U.S. will be dedicated to service and support ensuring a rapid and professional response for all customers.

"Unison invented the all-electric tube bending machine and then enhanced that technology with unique complimentary products and after-market services. “With this U.S. venture, we intend to lead tube bending solutions’ innovation,” added Kidger. “None of this would have been possible without the fantastic support from the state of Virginia, the City of Danville, and Pittsylvania County. The Governor and his team have been instrumental in what is a major step forward for us and we are thrilled to be working with them. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to all the Virginians who have helped bring us to this day."

“We are thrilled to be announcing this expansion with a community that understands our vision of education and industry working in partnership,” noted Alan Pickering, another joint managing director. “A huge part of our decision was: where are we going to recruit the highly technical people we need for our current automation requirements, prepare for Industry 4.0 and have a clear succession plan for the business? We were blown away by the vision of individuals, the wider community and the fact it wasn’t just talk. The investment in the Danville Technical Education community is a true inspiration and will pay huge dividends to the community in the years to come. With such solid foundations, we feel secure in our own future and look forward to the next phase of our evolution."

“We have challenges ahead to ensure we can recruit the right people for the right roles and across the whole range of positions,” says Dale Coates, Vice President of Unison Tube LLC. “We need salespeople, service & support technicians, designers…the list is extensive but for the right people this is a great opportunity to work with a world class team and rapidly growing business.”
"Over the last three years, Unison has been investing heavily in research and development in robotics, lasers and software, and during 2018 they plan to bring several new products to the U.S. market, which they believe will add tremendous value to their customer base. “By combining our new strategic location within easy reach of our current customers, our increased focus on service and support and our UK technical center expertise creates the perfect moment to introduce our high tech solutions to the U.S. market,” explained Pickering. “Add to that our new U.S.-based Tube Bending Training School and the sky is the limit for our customers to advance their capabilities.”

For more information, watch this short interview with Julian Kidger, Joint Managing Director, Unison.

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Jan 22, 2018

From Apprentice to Service & Support Engineer: Arron's Story

Arron Leeman shares his journey from apprentice to service and support engineer.

I have been working at Unison for five years. The workforce was quite young which was really appealing. It can be daunting starting a new job as a 16 year old, so knowing from the offset that there were people at Unison I could have good working relationships with really made a difference.

My greatest achievement at Unison has been progressing into the Service & Support Team. I spend most of my time working away from the factory at customer facilities all over the world, from Mexico and America to Russia, Norway and all over the UK.
I could be installing a machine, training staff or carrying out repairs. If I’m back at Unison, I help the rest of the team support customers remotely and handle spares enquiries. The thing I enjoy most about my role is that I’m always doing something different every day. I really enjoy knowing that my day may change at the drop of a hat, for example in order to respond to a customer breakdown.

Unison is a great company to work for, with a real team environment – I am constantly learning and hope to progress further in the company. I have some brilliant working relationships with both colleagues and customers and would highly recommend apprenticeships as a way of starting a 'hands-on’ career.

I studied History, Sports Studies, Electronics & Art at School. I chose to do an Apprenticeship because I wanted a career that involved a lot of practical work, where I was also able to earn while I qualified. As a child, I really enjoyed playing with Meccano & Lego. I also used to love going to work with my Dad as a car breaker. My parents are supportive of me doing an apprenticeship within the engineering/manufacturing industry. I only received limited careers advice when I was at school, and did most of the research myself.

The advice I wish I had been given when I was at school that would have helped with my career choice is that hard work really does pay off! I’d advise young people to give an apprenticeship a go if they want to get into the engineering/manufacturing industry.

In terms of inspiring the next generation of engineers, I attended Scarborough Engineering Week last year and it was great to meet young people who were interested in the industry and talk to them about what I do.
“Arron Leeman approached Unison in 2013 looking for an apprenticeship placement. He had been recommended to us by York Potash.

As an MTA member, I was aware of the £2,000 apprenticeship grants available to help businesses meet the cost of taking on an apprentice. For an SME they are a fantastic way to ease the pain of employing an apprentice in that unproductive first year and we have used a number of the MTA’s grants and loans over the years to great effect. We employ around 70 people, of which approximately 15% have come through our apprenticeship programme and we are immensely proud of them all!
Arron joined Unison in October 2013 and is now a Service Engineer. His enthusiasm for the company and our product has a very positive impact and is highly valuable when back at base and working at customer facilities.

We now take on 3-6 apprentices per year and having some financial assistance from the MTA really helped to get the programme up and running, especially for those that were uncertain about taking on an apprentice.” Alan Pickering, Managing Director, Unison Ltd.

For more information about MTA please visit their website.

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Jan 22, 2018

Delivering Fully Automated Manufacturing for a Leading Automotive Component Manufacturer

Client:
Automotive Component Manufacture for a major OEM supplier to the automotive industry.

The Challenge:
Our client is a leading manufacturer and supplier of large stamped metal and welded components, assemblies, and plastic parts for the automotive industry. They are responsible for manufacturing boot hinge assemblies for several major automotive manufacturers.

The main component in this assembly is a bent rectangular steel tube component which was previously fabricated and supplied by a subcontractor. Our client decided to invest in an automated manufacturing cell to produce these Boot Lid Hinge components completely in-house.

Details:
Two all-electric tube bending machines – Unison Ltd
Automatic hopper loaders, weld seam detection, two robots – Ingenium Integration

Solution:
The proposed solution incorporated two all-electric, servomotor-controlled 50mm Breeze tube bending machines with multi-stack tooling heads. The bending machines are fed by two automatic hopper loaders which perform weld seam detection and datum the tube prior to bending.
A robot alternatively unloads the bent parts from each machine and presents the parts to a bespoke inspection system, to measure the parts and calculate corrections. This closes the loop with the bending machines motion control, to ensure accuracy and repeatability. The components are then transferred by a further two robots into two CNC machine centres, where 13 holes of various sizes are automatically drilled. Once complete, the components are robotically deburred and hung on a transfer rack in pairs ready for the assembly station.

Results:
In a high demand industry, working to ‘Just-in-time’ philosophies, our client now has the ability to produce the hinge component in-house allowing them complete control of all aspects of the boot lid assemblies.

The benefits gained include:

- Fully automated right-first-time manufacturing
- Improved control of quality with a repeatable process with tight control of Tolerances
- With minimal change over tooling the cell can be reprogrammed to produce different variants

For more information about our capabilities in the automotive industry or to speak to a member of the Unison Ltd sales team please call us on 01723 582 868, email Jim Saynor: jims@unisonltd.com or Dave Ashworth at Ingenium Integration: davea@ingeniumintegration.com

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Jan 22, 2018

Advanced tube benders speed construction of subsea wellhead trees

Case Study: FMC Technologies

Challenge

FMC Technologies, the leading supplier of subsea tree hydraulic control systems for wellheads used to plan the routes for the hydraulic tubing runs that interconnect the valves and other component parts of the subsea trees, and then fabricate the custom tubular part shapes, as the trees were being built. This process slowed down the build cycle, and limited the total number of trees that could be assembled in the company’s sophisticated system building cells.
FMC Technologies decided to investigate the use of 3D modelling of tubing, which would allow the tubing system required for subsea tree orders to be designed and bent in advance of system building and then delivered to the manufacturing cells ready for immediate assembly.

Solution 

The Unison machine’s advanced all-electric architecture was preferred over the more traditional hydraulically-powered bending approach because of the greater precision and inherent repeatability that it supports, which allows tubular part shapes to be bent right-first-time – avoiding scrap. This is ideal for the subsea tree production environment which demands lots of tubing parts with unique shapes – which FMC Technologies fabricates as a single batch for each tree project. The tube materials being bent are often very expensive alloys as well such as Super-Duplex and Inconel 625, so avoidance of scrap is a major saving.
FMC Technologies selected Unison as its tube bending machine partner, after talking to numerous tube bender manufacturers, primarily because of the company’s willingness to engineer a bending process to meet the company’s precise needs. Unison worked closely with FMC Technologies on developing and streamlining the tubular part manufacturing process including automating the transfer of data from its CAD system and simplifying the subsequent part shape programming process. Unison also supplies tube and pipe benders complete with application-specific tube washing machines, which ensure that tubular parts are provided to FMC Technologies’ assembly bays clean and ready to weld – to minimise any welding failures.
As part of this process re-engineering initiative, FMC Technologies also purchased a Unison tube bending machine with servomotor-based actuation, to provide a complete CADCAM solution. 

FMC Technologies has now rolled this production methodology out to other FMC sites around the world, and produces tubing for subsea trees using Unison machines at production locations in Angola, Brazil, Norway, Scotland, Singapore and the USA.

Results

All-electric tube bending machines from Unison are helping FMC Technologies to substantially reduce build times and multiply its manufacturing capacity.

Using the new process, the time required for tubing assembly in FMC Technologies’ cells has fallen by around two thirds, with the additional advantage of introducing a standardized process with a consistent quality that negates possible human error or fatigue. 

“The new tube bending process is a win-win solution for our business, as it provides us with a highly consistent and repeatable manufacturing process, and is considerably faster than before – boosting FMC Technologies’ productivity and shortening our delivery times to customers,” Richie Barker, Operations manager and Manufacturing Specialist (Global Manufacturing) at FMC Technologies. 

For more information on FMC technologies please visit https://www.technipfmc.com  
For more information about our tube bending software (opt2sim) or tube benders please email: jims@unisonltd.com or call +44(0)1723 582 868

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About us

Company details

Unison Ltd is a leading tube bending machine specialist offering the most extensive range of all-electric tube bending machines in the market. Its sister company, Ingenium Integration, provides automation solutions.

Tube bending custom products, tailored to specific customer requirements, account for a significant proportion of the Unison business, for diverse market sectors including aerospace, automotive, marine, oil and gas, energy and bespoke products.

 Our standard range of all-electric bending machines accommodates tube diameters from 16 mm to 180 mm, and most recently we have developed a custom machine capable of bending 10‿ Schedule Pipe with an OD of 273 mm.

Our portfolio of advanced software tools provides an end-to-end tube bending service. Featuring advanced 3D simulation, Opt2Sim, allows users to analyse, optimise and validate programs – without needing access to the physical machine.

Our tube bending CAD/CAM software package enables users to automatically extract key manufacturing information such as bend angles and rotations from a native SolidWorks model or a common CAD file format - reducing the time that it takes to develop programs for CNC tube bending dramatically, typically from hours to just minutes.

Complementing the tube machine business is sister company, Ingenium Integration Ltd. Providing a design consultancy service from robotic cells to integrated production lines, turnkey automated systems are designed to save customers time, improve productivity whilst increasing their profitability.

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Company data

Number of employees

50-99

Foundation

1973

Area of business
  • Tube industry
  • Automotive supply industry
  • Iron, steel and non-ferrous metal industry