Tube bending machine manufacturer Unison introduces a new version of the TubeWorks tube bending CAD/CAM software, equipping tubular metal fabricators with powerful pre-production tools for laser cutting as well as tube bending applications.
Developed by the UK-based software consultancy 3DCompound, TubeWorks is a specialist add-in module for the popular SolidWorks mechanical CAD package. TubeWorks combines powerful visualisation capabilities with automatic code extraction and file generation to enable metal fabricators to substantially increase the productivity of their tube handling operations through optimal use of manufacturing data. The tube bending software significantly reduces the time taken to develop programs for CNC tube bending and laser tube cutting machines from hours to just minutes.
For tube bending, the software automatically extracts key manufacturing information such as bend angles and rotations from a native SolidWorks model or a common CAD file such as STEP, IGES or ParaSolid, and creates the bend table for immediate use on a CNC bending machine, as well as the XYZ coordinates and a 2D drawing of the modelled tube.
Version 2.6 of TubeWorks extends this functionality significantly, by enabling users to ‘unbend’ the CAD models of bent tubes into flat (or straight) configurations containing full details of all holes and cut-outs, to provide the input data for laser tube cutting machines. Compared to the time-consuming manual task of flattening the CAD model of a bent tube part, which also requires specialist skills and is potentially error-prone, using TubeWorks for the same task merely involves a few mouse clicks and takes about 30 seconds.
In addition to automating the extraction of manufacturing data, TubeWorks offers numerous functions to further help users minimise the pre-production design time of machine-based tube cutting and bending. These include automated centreline creation through tubular geometry and automated conversion of imported tube models into native SolidWorks models for CLR (centreline radius) modification.
TubeWorks’ latest release also offers an automated Deduct Length function that enables users to shrink flattened tube configurations simply by specifying the required length change and the point at which it should be applied, to compensate for the elongation shown by their coordinate measuring machine (CMM). They can then immediately create a new YBC file for the bending machine and a new ParaSolid file for the laser tube cutting machine.
Unison Managing Director Alan Pickering observes that TubeWorks has proved very popular with tube manipulation companies for speeding their quotation and production procedures. The addition of laser tube cutting functionality means that the software will now appeal to an even wider customer base, especially if they are seeking to reduce design-to-manufacturing times by handling all tube bending and cutting operations in-house.
TubeWorks is a fully integrated add-in for the SolidWorks CAD package and is available exclusively from Unison.