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6 Reasons to Upsize your Powerhead

When it comes to assembling components, purchasing the right equipment is vital to producing successful parts. This process starts with identifying the right assembly method that aligns with the requirements of the application. From there, it is crucial to find the right sized equipment to properly assemble your parts. The wrong sized equipment can result in rejected parts and decreased throughput, negatively affecting the bottom line.

Orbital forming is a permanent assembly process that offers many advantages, such as minimal shank swell and aesthetically pleasing finished forms. When purchasing orbital forming equipment, it’s important to start with the right size powerhead. Orbitform's powerheads are rated for a specific range of rivet size and have a maximum head forming capacity. The size of the rivet being formed provides a good starting point for choosing the correct powerhead size. In some situations, however, it is beneficial to purchase a powerhead that is the next size up. Below are 6 reasons to upsize your powerhead:

  1. Different Materials – The maximum head forming diameter capacity for Orbitform’s Powerhead are based on forming mild steel rivets and material. When using a harder material, such as stainless steel, it will take more thrust from the equipment to form the same size rivet.
  2. Air Pressure – The thrust output for a powerhead is dependent on the air pressure coming into the equipment. The maximum thrust of each powerhead is based on the machine running at 100 psi, but it is more common that these powerheads are ran at 80 psi. Some manufacturers may require that equipment run at a lower psi, such as 60 psi, or their plant may have inconsistent air pressure. In either case, if the required forming force is near the thrust capacity of a specific powerhead, a larger powerhead size may be required.
  3. Finished Form Diameter and Geometry – The desired finished form diameter and geometry can impact the thrust output required by the powerhead. If a larger diameter is required, more stickup volume is necessary to achieve the desired result. This larger volume of material will require more force to move. Furthermore, if there is a specific finished form geometry or shape, such as a captured form or dome shape, more force is required to hold the material to that shape. 
  4. Clamping/Pressure Pads – If clamping of the part is required prior to forming, and it cannot be done in the fixturing, a pressure pad can be added to the end of the powerhead around the orbital head and tooling. This will apply a clamp load to the part prior to forming. This does use up some of the thrust capacity of the powerhead. Depending on the force needed to form the material, a larger powerhead may be required to accommodate both clamping and forming.
  5. Flexibility for Future Applications – In some instances, manufacturers may want to add in flexibility to assemble additional parts in the future using the same machine. This greatly depends on the range of parts, materials, and rivet diameters. If the range of sizes isn’t too large, this can be done, but may require a larger powerhead to allow for forming larger parts in the future.
  6. Wear on Bearings and Tooling – When powerheads are operating at the higher end of their capacity, there may be a heightened level of wear and tear on the internal bearings and tooling, depending on cycle time and volume. While some wear and tear is to be expected, in these instances it can be excessive and cost-prohibitive. Moving up to the next size powerhead can help reduce the wear and tear on the machine to a more manageable and expected level.

These are just a few instances when Orbitform may recommend upsizing to a larger powerhead. The most effective way to determine the appropriate size powerhead is to test parts in our Solutions Lab. Our lab technicians will take the above factors into consideration when forming sample parts in the lab to determine the appropriate size equipment. Contact us today to discuss your next project and let our assembly experts help determine what size powerhead best fits your requirements.



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