Recently, a customer was looking for assistance with some steel bar curved in a spiral. This customer had a repeat job in their shop which they had been making on their own for quite some time. However, an evaluation of their shop process showed the labor intensive method reduced their profit margin far below what was expected. This was when CMRP received the request to drop in and give an opinion on what could possibly speed up the process. The customer had built an interior drum with pegs encircling it as a template. One inch diameter round bars were being heated with a torch and curved by hand in a spiral to match up to the pegs. Once in place, the interior drum would slide into an exterior drum where the spiral curved rounds would be formed and welded to the inside face of the exterior cylinder. The interior drum would be removed, and the process would begin anew. The manpower involved in this process was eating away at the profitability of the job. They believed there must be a better way to produce this ball quench system.
CMRP suggested curving the round bar using standard cold-rolling equipment instead of applying heat and bending. The entire interior drum template, was brought to the shop to ensure cold-rolled parts would match their peg system exactly. Reviewing the prints, the operator set up to roll one inch round bar to a 24” center-line radius on an 81.125 degree pitch, right hand. After five test pieces, each fitting the drum better than the previous, the needed fit was achieved. Upon approval from the customer, fifty pieces of one-inch round bar were rolled in 20 foot lengths and shipped out.
As the customer built their industrial dryer drum, they were delighted with how well the new parts fit and the number of labor hours that were saved. Even with the added expense of seeking outside help in curving the steel bars, their job was back to being profitable and their overall turnaround time was improved. In this situation, the customer initially thought the expense to have the steel bar curved spirally by a bender/roller would make the work cost-prohibitive, compared to doing the work in their own shop with the options they had. However, with a little collaboration and teamwork, contacting an experienced metal bending company enabled them to improve not only their profitability and time usage, but also the overall quality and consistency of their product.