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Four Common Pipe Bending Methods

16th April 2024

Four Common Pipe Bending Methods

Four Common Pipe Bending Methods

Pipe bending, or tube bending, is crucial in various industries, including automotive, commercial vehicles, racing cars, shipbuilding, architectural, industrial, aviation and airspace and other small, medium and large enterprises, from happy-in-the-shed hobbyists to gigantic nuclear power stations.

It involves modifying pipes to achieve specific angles or directions, making them suitable for their intended use. Understanding the different pipe bending methods is essential for selecting the most appropriate technique and machine required for a particular application.

This blog will explore four common pipe bending methods: compression bending, rotary draw bending, roll bending, and mandrel tube bending.

Compression Bending

Compression bending, also known as press bending, is a straightforward method that relies on pushing force to deform the pipe material. It is commonly used to manufacture electrical conduit pipes and other applications requiring simple bending formations. The process involves shaping the pipe using bend dies, clamp dies, pressure dies, wiper dies, and sometimes a mandrel.

While compression bending offers simplicity and precision, it may not be suitable for complex bends. This type of bending is limited because it can't make tight (small radius) bends because the pipe will buckle or break, and it can have extended lead times.

Rotary Draw Bending

Rotary draw bending is employed when precise and consistent bends are required, especially for pipes subjected to fluid pressure. Unlike compression bending, rotary draw bending machines use formers that rotate the pipe around itself into the desired shape with the same radius as the former itself.

A Rotary Draw Bending system consists of three different tools: the Clamping Former, the Pressure Former, and the Radius Former. These tools hold and form the tube throughout the bending process. The tube is clamped to the bend former and is 'drawn' around the former by the machine using hydraulic or electric methods.

This method allows for sharp bends while maintaining accuracy and consistency. It is commonly used for tubing parts in machines and structural frameworks.


Roll Bending

Roll bending utilises rollers that continuously move through the bending process. This method is not limited to pipes and can also be used for sheet metals or sectional extruded sheets. The primary machine used for roll bending is called an angle roll, which can be modified for sheet bending.

The metal fabrication creates curved shapes from metal tubes, bars, and sheets. The result is a cylindrical or cone shape that can be used in various industries.

They use a set of rollers that apply pressure to the metal while rolling to shape the material into a uniform curve. Different roll bending types are commonly divided by the number of rolls.

For example, a 3-roll bending machine has three rolls in a triangular shape, while a 4-roll bending machine uses an additional roller to improve control and precision.


However, roll-bending machines have limitations, such as their inability to process thicker-walled pipes and their compatibility with specific materials like stainless steel and aluminium.

Typical applications include bike and vehicle rims and other rounded metal parts.

Mandrel Tube Bending

Mandrel tube bending involves inserting a mandrel or rod into the tube during the bending process.

The mandrel supports the tube and follows the contour shape, allowing the bending machine to achieve directional bends without damaging the pipe.

It is designed to tackle many bending issues, including errors and damages caused during the tube fabricating process.

Exerting high pressure to bend a tube can cause flattening, wrinkling, kinking, and collapsing. This can reduce the quality of bends and the functionality of the equipment in which such damaged pipes would be used. It can also cause metal, steel, and even plastic pipes fatigue.

That’s why a mandrel bender must be used to prevent bending issues and errors. It allows you to maintain an accurate and exceptionally functional performance of tube bending machines.

While mandrel tube bending may incur higher costs, it offers shorter lead times and maintains process quality even with repeated use.

In conclusion, understanding the different pipe bending methods is essential for selecting the most suitable technique for a particular application.

Each method has advantages and limitations, affecting precision, lead time, complexity, and practical applications.

By considering these factors, manufacturers and end-users can ensure the bent pipes' quality, functionality, and durability for their intended purposes.

For more information on what machine will best suit your requirements, contact our friendly team for advice.


Posted by:TUBELA Engineering Co. Ltd.