Unison LTD

Faroe House
Thornburgh Road
Scarborough,  North Yorkshire  YO11 3UY

United Kingdom
44 (0) 1723 582868
http://www.unisonltd.com
  • Booth: C10452


 Press Releases

  • World-leading aircraft component manufacturer, Globe Engineering, has installed a fourth Unison all-electric CNC tube bending machine at its facility in Wichita, Kansas.

    Commissioned earlier this year, the new machine has joined Globe’s existing Unison all-electric tube benders at the Wichita site and will help to increase manufacturing capability significantly. With overlapping capacities, the Unison tube bending machines at Globe can bend tubes from 1.25” (31.75mm) to 6.00” (152.4mm) in diameter – all with the highest levels of repeatability and accuracy.

    In addition to supporting Globe’s ongoing requirements for bending high quality aircraft tubing, the new all-electric CNC tube bender from Unison will be used to bend a range of aluminium, stainless steel and titanium tubes measuring up to 1.25” (31.75mm) in diameter. Before investing in this latest machine from UK-based Unison, Globe had just one tube bending machine that was capable of bending stainless and titanium tubes from 5/8” to 1.00” diameter.

    “We aren’t just creating new capability by buying a new Unison ltd tube bending machine,” explains Bend Shop Supervisor Shaun Knuth. “We’re creating capacity and a safety net, in case we have a breakdown.”

    Describing some of the key advantages that Unison all-electric tube benders have over hydraulic tube benders, he adds: “They’re more efficient because they use less energy. In fact, they only use energy while they are in motion. By comparison, the hydraulic benders use electricity all the time they are running, with their energy usage increasing during cycle time. Electric machines are much quieter too. Our Unison all-electric tube benders also offer greater repeatability. You simply select the exact pressure you need; if you want 1,272 psi of pressure, you just type that in, and the machine creates exactly the same pressure every time.”

    Shaun Knuth also praises the fact that Unison all-electric tube benders can be operated more slowly when hot-bending titanium, all the way down to a creep – a process that removes the risk of overheating and minimises scrap. He also points out that there’s no need for titanium tubes to be lubricated with expensive, messy grease before hot bending when using all-electric machines.

    “Unison machines are built like tanks,” adds Shaun Knuth. “And if there’s a problem, we usually have a new part within a few days. The machines are so easy to use and we can install the parts ourselves. Additionally, Unison technicians can remotely check our repairs, and upgrade each machine’s software and firmware.”

    Steve Haddrell, Key Account Manager at Unison, adds that Globe Engineering’s latest order is particularly rewarding for several reasons. “Repeat orders are always great news because they carry a clear customer endorsement. Globe Engineering relies heavily on its tube bending machines and is familiar with the benefits of Unison’s all-electric technology, including fully automated machine set-up, ease of use, very high bend accuracy and excellent repeatability.

    “In this case, the company decided that these attributes, combined with the build quality and reliability of Unison machines, significantly outweighed any short term economic advantage of imported low cost tube benders. Increasingly, our customers regard Unison as a solutions partner, with our machines forming part of their long-term business strategy.”

    About Globe Engineering

    Globe Engineering has been innovating aerospace manufacturing solutions since Albert Nelson Jr. founded the company in 1946. Based in Wichita, Kansas, Globe serve the likes of GE Aerospace, Bombardier, GKN & Marshall. For over 70 years, Globe Engineering has built quality aircraft components and assemblies for the commercial, defence and general aviation industries. Globe performs many different processes under one roof, helping to improve efficiency and ensure quality. From the very beginning, Globe employees have earned an unmatched reputation for tackling tough jobs, with outstanding quality and on-time delivery. www.globeeng.com

    About Unison Ltd

    Established in 1973, Unison Ltd is the UK’s leading manufacturer of tube and pipe bending machines, with the largest range of all-electric tube benders from 5/8” (16mm) to 10” (273mm) in diameter. Unison Ltd has continued to innovate the tube and pipe bending marketplace, from manufacturing the world’s first all-electric tube bender in 1994 and the world’s first all-electric multi-stack tube bender, to building the world’s largest tube bender for Westcon Yard AS, who operate one of the most modern and successful shipyards in the industry.
    Unison’s tube bending software is recognised as the most user-friendly control system for tube bending machines. The software is written and supported by Unison, ensuring complete control of its evolution and no need for third party support.

  • 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 bending machines:
    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.” Steve Hadrell, 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.

  • Unison has installed and commissioned the world’s largest and most powerful all-electric pipe bending machine, at the Norwegian offshore and maritime services company, Westcon Yard AS. Capable of generating a colossal 660,000 Nm of continuous, servo-controlled torque, the custom-designed machine will be used for precision bending of thick-walled carbon steel pipes up to 10 inches (273 mm) in diameter.

    This is the second all-electric pipe bender that Unison has supplied to Westcon’s pipe production facilities in Ølensvåg, Norway. The first, a 90 mm single-stack model from Unison’s Breeze tube bending machine range, was installed at the beginning of 2015 and enabled the company to bring fabrication of all pipe sizes up to 60.3 mm in diameter in-house. It has also helped Westcon to simplify and accelerate its production process dramatically, by allowing parts to be fabricated from single-piece piping stock, instead of from multiple cut-to-length straight sections and pre-formed bend parts bought-in from external suppliers.

    Westcon has similarly high expectations for its new 10-inch machine. The company now intends producing virtually all the pipe sizes that it needs for its outfitting, service and repair operations entirely in-house, without having to use pre-fabricated bend sections.
    This application of all-electric bending technology to pipes up to 10 inches in diameter is without precedent. Although Unison’s bending machines are used by a number of the world’s leading ship and submarine builders to produce large pipe and tube assemblies, this is by far the most powerful that the company has ever designed and built. It highlights the inherent scalability of Unison’s machine architecture and underlying motion control technology – the company’s range of all-electric bending machines now extends all the way from 16 mm (5/8 inch) to 273 mm (10 inches).

    The order for both pipe bending machines, which also called for Unison to supply CAD support software, was placed through P Meidell AS, the specialist machine tool company that acts as Unison’s representative in Norway.

    Westcon specialises in building and repairing ships for the offshore and fishing sectors, and in servicing, maintaining and repairing semi-submersible and jack-up rigs used by the offshore oil and gas industries. It operates four shipyards in Norway, with its headquarters and pipe production operations forming part of a modern and well-equipped yard near Ølensvåg. This enjoys a unique sheltered position on the Ølensfjord with deepwater access to the North Sea. The yard’s facilities include two floating docks, deepwater quays for three drilling rigs and a number of high payload cranes.
    In recent years, Westcon has invested heavily in its pipe fabrication operations for ship and rig outfitting, with the intention of becoming a world leader in this industry. The Ølensvåg site now has a large 3,650 square metre purpose-built engineering workshop, with more than 1,500 square metres allocated to pipe production. The new facilities include a fully automated materials handling system – based on 9-metre high pipe storage racks and robotic feeders – together with an automatic pipe cutting machine and the two Unison CNC-controlled all-electric tube benders.

    Most of the pipes that Westcon produces are one-off items for new systems, rerouting and maintenance purposes. They are typically manufactured from carbon steel, with each pipe spool normally being up to 6 metres in length. The pipes usually form part of fresh or sea water systems, hydraulic systems, diesel fuel distribution networks or other special systems. They often involve very tight radius bends, to as little as 1.5 times outside diameter, and need to be constructed to millimetre accuracy.

    Until about six months ago, Westcon fabricated all pipes in sectional form, using multiple cut-to-length straight sections and bought-in preformed bend parts. The individual sections, bends and end connection flanges were then welded together to create the final assembly – with each weld requiring cleaning, inspection and non-destructive X-ray testing. This was an expensive and time-consuming process that was also heavily reliant on outside suppliers meeting tight delivery schedules. Rapid turnaround time is critical for repair organisations like Westcon, where the out-of-service costs of ships and rigs can be astronomical.

    Following delivery of its first Unison bending machine, Westcon has produced all pipes up to 60.3 mm in diameter in-house, from straight piping stock. This has eliminated the need to buy-in preformed bend parts for these pipe sizes, and reduced the number of cutting, welding and testing operations needed for each assembly substantially. The pipes are currently cut slightly over-length before bending, to allow for any changes introduced by the process. After bending, they are re-measured, cut to final length and welded to the necessary flanges. The company intends further improving the process by cutting the pipes to length prior to bending, as its expertise develops.

    As Tommy Nilsen, Head of Prefabrication at Westcon’s Ølensvåg facility, explains, “We have only been using our first Unison machine extensively for a few months and are still on a learning curve. Despite this, we are already achieving superb bend accuracy and repeatability with good throughput – and we are confident of increasing this even further when we change the process sequence. In fact, based on our experience so far, now that the larger bending machine is in place, we expect to substantially reduce production times for all pipe sizes. It’s like going from 1930 to 2016 in one stride! We are now effectively a year ahead of the rest of the world in terms of our pipe fabrication capabilities.”

    Unison all-electric pipe bending machines feature servomotor-driven motion axes and fully automated software-controlled setup. Simplicity of operation and the fact that Unison was prepared to develop custom pipe bending solutions were two of the key reasons behind Westcon’s original order. Both the 90 mm and the 273 mm machines are fitted with Unison’s innovative laser springback system, which automatically measures and adjusts bend angles to compensate for the tendency of tubular parts to spring back slightly after being bent. The machines also both feature quick-change tooling, which is a major advantage for applications that involve bespoke, one-off manufacturing.
    The Unison machines’ unique mechanical design, combined with the precision axis control capabilities of Unison’s Unibend software – especially with respect to carriage and pressure die boost – makes it easier to achieve very accurate and repeatable results, with minimal changes to the wall thickness or ovality of the pipe that is being bent. These attributes are ideal for manufacturers of marine, offshore and subsea equipment, who invariably need to work to tight tolerances and strict process guidelines.
    The material storage/retrieval system, pipe cutting and bending machines at the Ølensvåg facility are fully networked. The engineering department creates the necessary machine control programs from customer-supplied drawings or CAD files, or from data derived directly from a physical pipe using a laser-based coordinate measuring machine (CMM). To help simplify the process, Unison has also supplied Westcon with Advanced Tubular Technologies’ powerful VTube software. This generates production-ready programs for tube and pipe benders direct from CAD data, and also translates CMM data for reverse engineering purposes.

    Alan Pickering of Unison underlines the significance of the Westcon application, “Our all-electric tube and pipe bending technology is starting to make major inroads into territory that was once regarded as the sole preserve of hydraulic benders. This has huge implications – and not just for marine vessel and offshore rig outfitting and repair organisations, though these are currently driving the take-up of our larger bending machines. Industries such as nuclear and fossil-fuel power generation, oil and gas refining, and chemical processing also make extensive use of large diameter precision-bent pipes. Accurate and repeatable bending – especially if it involves expensive corrosion resistant alloys – are as important to these industries as any other. Last year, the largest machine that we produced was capable of bending 9-inch diameter tubes and pipes. This year it’s 10 inches. We are now entering the domain of process pipe-work, which is an entirely new market.”

    Bjørn Garvik, Sales Manager at the Bergen office of P. Meidell AS, Unison’s sales support partner in Norway, adds that the machine tool market in Nordic countries offers significant growth potential. “Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark all have major shipbuilding interests, which nowadays have to compete with lower labour cost manufacturers in Asia. Automation like Unison’s all-electric tube and pipe bending machines can help companies to meet the challenge of these competitive trading conditions, by significantly improving the efficiency of their production operations.”


 Products

  • All-electric end fachine machine for tube & pipe
    Introducing our innovative all-electric End Facing machine for tube and pipe – aptly referred to as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of end facing tools because it has multiple capabilities....
     

  • Introducing our new innovative all-electric End Facing machine for tube and pipe from Unison Ltd – aptly referred to as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of end facing tools because it has multiple capabilities.

    Machine Specification

    • All-electric, servo-controlled giving true automatic set-up.
    • Easy to use touch screen. Storage of the data, programs and notes allowing easy recall and setup for repeat orders or one-off parts.
    • Capable of small or large batch sizes for many different part designs with quick tool change over, in less than a minute.
    • Reduction in end facing blade replacement by using optimally designed programs based on the material types with pre-configured feeds & speeds.
    • Set times per machining operation to maximise production.
    • Safety System and foot operated start/stop function.
    • Minimum straights designed to meet or exceed current industry standards for coning and threading. (¼” to ¾” only require a straight length of 76mm, rather than the standard 110mm).

    Optional extras

    Capabilities for end preparation;

    • Medium, High and Ultra High, Cone & Thread tube end preparation from 6mm – 38mm
    • Square edge 0° tube end preparation >50.8mm OD
    • Plain V bevel >22mm OD
    • Compound bevel 22mm - 50.8mm OD
    • Flat land bevel >19mm OD
    • Flat land bevel 19mm - 50.8mm OD
    • J type bevel <50.8mm OD
    • Counter bore 10° <50.8mm OD
    • End flaring operations<50.8mm OD
    • Beading operations<50.8mm OD

    • Tooling with RFID technology to remove the risk of wrong tooling, wrong tube, wrong prep!
    • Offline tooling jig, setup and configure your next part offline to reduce down time on machine.
    • Can be configured with customer PN data to match recipe of end preparation.
    • Special proprietary tool holders designed to use off the shelf milling blades.
    • Traceability and operator data can be stored in an SQL database along with standard vs actual data to track operator performance through a web portal.
    • As new tooling is designed, and functionality is added, there is an optional annual software upgrade and calibration package available, to keep you ahead of the curve on technology and quality.

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