Due to high demand and worldwide supply chain disruptions, we suggest discussing your 2022 needs now.
We have a large Inventory of new and used tube mills and line equipment in stock for immediate start-up by our team, or with optional new controls, drive system, reconditioning and more. Contact us to discuss your current or future machinery needs.
New ERWTech/UCG high-frequency tube mills are one of the most reliable and economical options on the market. Sales, shipping, replacement parts, start-up and support services are all provided by our team out of NW Ohio. Complete lines are available with new entry system, rolling mill, high-frequency welder, high-speed flying saw and packing system.
Original Author: Karen Knapstein of Garage, Shed & Carport Builder Magazine.
Carport components seem like simple things, right? Perhaps you may believe your components should cost less. But there’s more to the manufacturing process than you may realize. It’s important to remember you’re not just buying some steel from your component supplier. They’ve invested a lot of money in their equipment, and they continue to invest in the equipment’s maintenance. Here, with the help of Ralph Girkins of Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, we will look at the process of making tube from coiled steel.
Girkins, who has “made this business his business for 40 years,” founded Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment of Perrysburg, Ohio, in 1984. In 2005, he, along with Ken Metzger and Laura Smirin, formed Universal Controls Group (UCG) to offer their customers more options when buying metal-forming machinery. Today the company offers one of the largest in-stock metal-working machine inventories, machine reconditioning, on-site field services, new controls, drive systems, and buying and selling options for surplus machinery.
Girkins said, “We have 15 tube mills in stock and about 45 roll-forming machines, including used and rebuilt equipment. A lot of new guys want used equipment to get started. Once they start making money with it, then they want a new machine because they want to go faster. We can supply all the machines and equipment you need for a tube mill.” He said the typical cost for a new tube mill is about $600,000-$800,000, depending on the machines and tooling included in the lineup. A used machine is about half the investment.
A new UCG/ERWTech Carport Tube Mill will come with all the necessary components and was created specifically for the carport industry. This machine is capable of forming whatever size carport framing is needed. For more information contact Ken Metzger at 419-872-2364, [email protected].
How It’s Made – Coil to Cut
Carport framing members, supports, panels, and trims are made by roll forming coils of galvanized steel. Hat channel, commonly rolled from 26 and 29-gauge steel, is used to support roof and wall panels. U channel, used for braces and supports, help reinforce the structure. Panels and trims are rolled quickly and easily from 24-gauge to 28-gauge coil steel. Companies like ASC Machine Tool, Metal Rollforming Systems, and The Bradbury Company manufacture machines that roll form several profiles, eliminating the need for multiple trim machines.
Roll forming tube steel is a bit more complicated than roll forming panels and trims. The gauges used for carport framing are heavier — primarily 12 and 14-gauge steel. Tubing usually measures from 2” to 2 ½”. “The gauge you use depends on the size of the structure you’re building. The bigger the structure, the heavier the gauge of framing you need to use,” explained Girkins.
There are more steps to the process and more equipment is involved in making steel tube. The high-speed equipment runs at a rate of 150-250 ft. per minute, although Girkins said they manufacture some mills that run at up to 1,000 ft. per minute.
Roll Forming Steel Tube
There are several steps involved in turning a flat coil of steel into a round or square tube. If the tube will need holes or slots, they are punched into the steel before it’s formed into tube. Universal Controls Group manufactures machines that measures the flat coil steel and punches holes and slots in it. “It’s a lot easier to punch holes in the material while it’s still flat,” said Girkins.
The steel coils are butt welded to make a long, continuous strip and loaded onto an accumulator. Welding the butt ends together eliminates the need to rethread the machine, it reduces waste, and reduces changeover time between coils. It also reduces the risk of damaging the dies because of mis-threaded steel.
From the accumulator, the coil is fed into the mill into a pinch roll. “The mill never stops,” he explained. “The theory is you never shut the tube mill down. You use the accumulated material to keep it going until you’re done for the day.”
As the flat coil runs through the machine, it’s formed up and around until it makes a tube. It is like pulling the strip thru a funnel. Before it’s cut, the tube goes through a high-frequency welder. “A high frequency weld isn’t welded with a torch,” Girkins clarified. “The welder heats up the edges and the edges are squeezed together. It’s more forged than welded.”
The edges are heated up to approximately 1800 degrees, which is so hot the pre-galvanized protective zinc coating burns off the heated area and it creates an upset. A lathe tool is used to scarf off the upset material, making the area smooth again. A torch and automatic spray welder are used to reapply the protective zinc layer on the top of the seam.
After the zinc coating is reapplied, the round tube, runs through a 20’ cooling trough where it’s sprayed with coolant (water). The standard way to create the square tube used in framing carports is to make a round tube and then squeeze it into its square shape.
It usually takes three passes through the sizing mill to get the square shape. After it goes through the turkshead unit, where it’s straightened and squared (if desired), it runs through an encoder where it’s measured. Then it’ll go through either a flying saw or a cutoff. “Many carport people use flying cold saws now; it’s a nice, clean, easy way to cut,” he said. “There’s no deformation in tubing when the blade goes through and there’s no burr.” Neither the material nor the machine stop to make the cuts. A die travels along the tube at the same speed as the tube and makes the cut when it receives the signal from the encoder.
It’s at this point that the lengths are run through a swager, as a secondary operation, if needed. If the tube is going to be used for slip-fit construction, the lengths are put through a swager to squeeze one end of the tube enough that it will slip inside the end of another tube. At this point, the framing components are finished and waiting for you.
Now that you’ve learned a bit about the process, you can appreciate the effort — and understand the cost — that goes into making the components. Tube mills are a major investment. But if you’re ready to invest in a mill of your own, either new or used, Universal Tube & Rollform can help guide you. For more information contact Ken Metzger at 1-419-872-2364, [email protected].
Visit Booth D46361 to view new tube and pipe machinery manufactured by ERWTech and UCG. On display will be a new tube mill stand assembly and 300 KW high-frequency solid-state welder.
Download the free pass and be sure to pre-register for fast entry. We look forward to seeing you at the show!
Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment
Universal Controls Group
26202 Glenwood Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551
Perrysburg, Ohio – Universal Tube & Rollform / Universal Controls Group i.e., Universal, a metalworking machinery dealer and controls manufacturer, has formed a technical partnership with ERWTech of Turkey to offer American manufacturers quality-built, affordable, new tube and pipe machinery that is fully supported out of Northwest Ohio, USA.
Universal’s contribution to the engineering and design process ensures the machinery is compatible and compliant with American mechanical and electrical standards. Custom engineered functions and additional features can be added to meet each customer’s production requirements. Recently, ERWTech and Universal completed a very unique material handling project; a roll formed part required nesting to reduce the footprint size. Universal worked hand-in-hand with ERWTech to create a servo-driven system that allowed for many stacking options for the customer to meet their specific packaging needs.
Machinery is tested by Universal at their Perrysburg, Ohio facility before shipping to the customer to ensure a quick and easy start-up. Universal recommends using their experienced team for installation management and electrical start-up. They can also provide operation and maintenance training. Common replacement parts and after-sale services are also available out of their Ohio warehouse to minimize downtime and keep future costs low.
Universal stocks new machinery at their warehouse, currently available is a new 250 KW high-frequency welder. Universal can easily convert the welder to 300 KW if needed. The welder comes complete with the main power supply cabinet, heat exchanger and powered X+Z axis for the head. Also, a new 89mm max OD high-speed flying cold saw recently arrived. The cold saw has already been tested and is ready to ship as soon as needed. Contact Universal for a quote on the new machinery they have for sale at 1-419-872-2364.
Arriving later this year will be a new 89mm max OD tube mill line with double uncoiler, shear & end welder, accumulator, high-frequency welder and a high-speed flying cold saw. This line is not expected to last long on the market, Universal recommends inquiries to be requested now. Contact Universal to discuss your requirements or schedule a visit to their warehouse to view machinery in-stock.