Gloucester-based Safran Landing Systems OE (Original Equipment), part of the global Safran group, has taken delivery of two new all-electric Breeze CNC tube bending machines from Unison Ltd. The Unison Breeze machines (16 and 30 mm maximum tube diameter models) will be used to bend thin-wall section titanium tube for the manufacture of 3/8-inch (9.53 mm) to 3/4-inch (19 mm) diameter hydraulic brake and actuator pipes for commercial aircraft undercarriage systems, including those used on Airbus A320, A330 and A340 models. They replace two hydraulically operated tube bending machines that have been in use at Safran for a number of years.
“Realising it was time to renew our tube bending capabilities, as part of our ongoing risk analysis activities – and necessitated by significantly increased manufacturing requirements – we approached a number of tube bending machinery manufacturers to discuss the various options available to us,” says Safran assembly flow line manager Jonathan Crewe.
To enable the Safran team to experience first-hand the capabilities of its all-electric range of Breeze tube bending machines, Unison arranged for the company to visit an existing customer’s facility in Farnborough and observe titanium tube being bent. On the strength of the visit and the testimony provided by that customer, trial parts were produced at Unison’s UK-based manufacturing centre. The order was subsequently placed, and master pipe samples were supplied to Unison in readiness for machine set-up and sign-off.
“We benefited from excellent support and advice at every stage of the process,” adds Jonathan Crewe. “We were particularly impressed by the effort Unison put into training, ensuring that our operators were fully familiar with the Unibend operating system and could confidently bend thin-wall titanium components, all with precisely controlled levels of spring-back to compensate for the material’s high yield strength.”
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