Engineering & Fabrication of a Tube Bending Fixture Machine for the Automotive Industry

Bend Tooling
Fixture Bending Tooling
IHX Tubing Bending Machine
IHX Tubing Assembly

The tube bending machine highlighted here was custom fabricated for an automotive client in Monterrey, Mexico. They needed a fast efficient system that would perform a number of precision bends. Their brazed tube assembly consisted of an IHX tube that needed 4 bends, a 5/8" diameter tube which required a single bend, and an 8mm diameter tube that required 2 bends, all to tolerances of ±1.5mm. This project was another ground up design, engineering, and fabrication effort.

With the customer specifications in hand our engineering staff created a design that would meet all of the criteria and provide a robust, easy to operate system that would deliver quality parts for years to come.

We selected an Allen Bradley PLC system and Parker Hannifin pneumatic valves, which are operated from an Allen Bradley programmable operator interface. All non-sourced components were fabricated in-house in our fully equipped machine and fab shop. This facility is equipped with advanced machining and fabrication resources which include CNC and manual milling, turning, grinding, and a wide range of coating and assembly capabilities.

The machine base was fabricated from square tubing, with a hot rolled steel base plate, which was primed and painted. The guarding was composed of 16 gage sheet metal and 16 gage expanded metal that was framed in a C-channel for added strength. The guarding was also painted a bright safety yellow and blue. The tooling was precision machined and heat treated to enhance longevity; it was composed of a combination of materials including heat treated A2 and S7 tool steel, hot rolled steel, and 1018 steel. Everything that we manufacture is subject to stringent quality measures and testing, this project received dimensional and gage inspections as well as extensive functionality testing.

We completed this project in just 11 weeks, the finished tube bending fixture machine featured a part to part cycle time of 24 second: 10 seconds for operator duties, 14 seconds for the 1st stage tooling operation, 13 seconds for the 2nd stage. The machine was programmed to operate the 1st and 2nd stage tooling sequence concurrently.

To learn more about this project, or the processes used to create it, see the table below or contact us Excel Machine & Tool, Inc. directly.

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Highlights of this Custom Fabricated Machine Project

Product NameTube Bending Fixture Machine
Product DescriptionDedicated Pneumatic Bending Machine used to bend part complete without additional operations.
Custom Fabrication Capabilities Applied/Processes
Product Development
  • CNC Milling
  • Welding
  • Grinding
Equipment Used to Manufacture Machine
CNC Mill
Manual Mills
Manual Drills
Manual Grinders
Automatic Grinders
Manual Lathe
Hand Tools
Inspection Tools
  • Gage Pins
  • Gage Blocks
  • Height Gages
  • Micrometers
  • Dial Caliper
Part DescriptionIHX Tubing assembly
IHX tube: 4 bends
5/8 diameter tube: 1 bend
8mm diameter tube: 2 bends
Bending Tolerances±1.5mm
Material Used
Machine Base
  • Square Tubing
  • Width: 3"
  • Height: 3"
  • 1/4" Wall
  • 5/8" thick Hot Rolled Steel Base Plate
  • Sheet Metal: 16 GA
  • Panels
  • 16 GA Expanded Metal framed with C-Channel
Tooling: made from a combination of material
  • Hot rolled steel
  • 1018 steel
  • A2 Tool steel
  • S7 Tool Steel
  • All tooling subject to wear is heat treated for longevity
Material FinishMachine Base: Primed and Painted
Guarding: Painted Black & Blue
Cycle TimesTooling Operation (1st Stage): 14 Seconds
Tooling Operation (2nd Stage): 13 Seconds
1st and 2nd stage cycle concurrently
Operator Duties: 10 Seconds
Part to Part: Every 24 seconds
In process testing/inspection performedDimensional Inspection, Gage Inspection, Functionality Tests
Industry for Use
Automotive Industry
Appliance Industry
Agricultural Industry
Aerospace Industry
Medical Industry
HVAC Industry
Delivery/T`urnaround Time12 weeks
Delivery LocationMonterrey, Mexico
Standards MetCustomer Specifications, CAD Drawing
Machine ControlsOperator interface: Allen Bradley Programmable Interface
PLC : Allen Bradley
Pneumatic Valves: Parker Hannifin

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