A Variety of Tube Mills and Their Uses
In the traditional sense, a tube mill is simply a type of welded roller form machine; but not every welded roller form machine is a tube mill, anymore. Many new welded roller form machines are built using a variety of different technologies and methods, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The most popular welding technologies for these types of machinery are metal spinning, laser pulsation, and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Many of the older welded roller form machines were welded using a variety of these same technologies. Tube milling machines come in two forms: direct tube and indirect tube. The difference between the two is that direct tube machines generally require direct line of sight to the work area, whereas indirect tube machines can be placed in any location relative to the work area but are not as efficient if the work environment is out of direct line of sight.
Most indirect tube mill machines use three or more individual tubes. The smaller ones are called spindles. Each spindle is usually fed into a common induction unit that feeds the tubes. Induction units are designed specifically to work with the kinds of metals and alloys that are often used for welding. These induction units use high frequency electricity to magnetize the conductors in the tubes so that they are made strong and conductive to heat as they cool. Because the tubes are so tightly magnetized, they remain hot even as the work area and heat source are moved from outside to inside the building.
Forming tools are used in tube mill operations for shaping metal into a variety of shapes and sizes. There are two basic kinds of forming operations: grinding and turning. Grinding operations use mandrels to hold a piece of metal stationary while it is being formed. Turning operations use a rotating tool to cut a piece of metal into the desired shape. This process of forming metal into the form needed is known as machining.
One of the most popular applications of this equipment is in the area of welding and fabrication of rounded products. Tube mill machines can be adapted to perform both direct and indirect welds. This ability to weld two or more pieces of metals together is sometimes referred to as tube welding. The welded rolls of fabric are typically produced in a round form and then placed into a die, making it easier to create a round product.
Cylinder tube mills can also handle other specialized tasks such as forming cold work pieces, metal sheets, tubing and a variety of other shapes. Some tube mill designs even have the ability to work with fabric cutting tools. The CNC machine can cut custom sized sheet materials that are as thin as 3 microns. This ability to handle intricate, detailed cuts ensures that tube mills can quickly and accurately shape these intricate materials.
There are several types of tube mills including those that are fully automatic or fully manual. Manual types of tube mills typically operate by manually raising or lowering the work piece while a fully automatic mill operates by automatically manipulating the work piece in an effort to obtain the most accurate diameter range. Manual operations generally take longer to reach their desired diameters, but are often faster than automated operations.