Universal in the News

Universal in the News

Universal Tube

We are pleased to share links to recent publications featuring new tube mills manufactured by UCG and ERWTech.

A new 89 mm high-frequency tube mill line was recently featured on the cover of Tube & Pipe Technology magazine. The line included all-new entry equipment, tube mill, high-frequency welder and flying cold saw. We expect to have another 89 mm tube mill line on our floor for inspection very soon.

Our latest development of a new carport tube mill was mentioned in The Garage, Shed & Carport Builder magazine article How Carport Framing Is Made. Our very own Ralph Girkins contributes his knowledge about the process and necessary equipment involved.

New UCG/ERWTech tube mills are used across many industries including metal building products, carports, automotive, agricultural, aerospace, office furniture, shelving and much more. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or RFQs at 1-419-872-2364 or [email protected].

Sell Your Surplus Machinery

If you have been thinking of selling, here are some recommendations to get the most value out of your machinery.

When to Sell
It is common for metalworking machinery to go from being used heavily every day for many years to sitting idle in storage when your production needs change. When do you sell? Machinery should be sold as soon as it has served its purpose to get the most value out of it. Storing unused machinery for long periods will decrease the value and take up space. When you discover that your equipment is taking more than it is giving out, it makes sense to sell.

Our mailing list is updated daily maintaining thousands of tube & pipe producers, rollforming manufacturers, steel processors and used equipment dealers world-wide. We have the resources available to sell your surplus equipment as quickly as possible for a fair price. Read on as we outline your options to derive the most value out of your surplus equipment.

Immediate Cash Buy
Send us pictures and information about your tube mill, rollformer or other machinery to [email protected]. We will provide an offer for your machinery and, if accepted, you will receive payment before removal.

Auction Sale
If you are closing a production plant with tube, pipe and rollform machinery all you need to do is contact us. Who better to help liquidate than a global company with the customer database you require to advertise and sell your machinery fast and at a fair price. We will work with you to determine the best way to get the top dollar you need and will bring in specialists to help get the job done. We can handle the entire process or just as much as you need us to.

Our team will work to help you get the best price for your equipment. You have the option to keep the machinery at your facility or ship it to our warehouse where we can clean, paint and show it to potential customers on your behalf.

You can trade-in your unused machinery for equipment you can use today. Contact us to explore possibilities.

We build retrofit repower packages that can upgrade your surplus machinery to put it back in operation. We can quote you a complete or partial upgrade according to your application and budget.

Upgrade your Machinery to the Latest Technology with Minimal Downtime

Upgrade your Machinery to the Latest Technology with Minimal Downtime

Removing machinery from production to have it worked on is out of the question for most manufacturers. Our retrofit packages are a quick and cost-effective solution to updating machinery with little downtime.

Tube mill and Rollformer repower kit

Updating to the newest technology can increase production speeds, improve safety, expand capabilities, reduce downtime for maintenance and even save you the cost of replacing machinery.

Our packages include an assembled 480V AC variable speed drive system, push-button console, remote jog pendant, E-STOP station, complete AutoCAD drawing package and optional AC inverter duty motor.

We design, build, assist with the retrofit, start-up, train your staff and support what we sell. Contact us for more information about updating your tube mill, rollformer or in-line machinery.

Improve your cut-offs efficiency, accuracy and performance

Improve your cut-offs efficiency, accuracy and performance

Designed for maximum efficiency, accuracy and excellent performance under all operating conditions. The U-Trak Length Control System is versatile, rugged and economical for old and new machinery.

This closed-loop system uses a controller to automatically synchronize the speed of the die set with the part. Multiple batch control and cutting parameters can be set to minimize the need for operator intervention.

Quick and easy to install and interface with existing machinery and is fully supported by our team out of our NW Ohio.

Length Control for Cutoff Machines

✓ Increased Line Speeds
✓ Greater Accuracy with Reduced Scrap
✓ Longer Blade Life
✓ Batch Control with on the Fly Changes
✓ Blade Width Compensation
✓ Touch Screen Operator Interface
✓ Fully Supported

U-TRAK 1 – 175 FPM
U-TRAK 2 – 250 FPM
U-TRAK B – 600 FPM

Our new tube mill lines are in high demand, order now for 2022 delivery.

Our new tube mill lines are in high demand, order now for 2022 delivery.

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 High Frequency Tube Mill

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.

New Tube Mill Line Equipment

How Carport Framing Is Made

How Carport Framing Is Made

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.

Carport Tube Mill Machine

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].