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Roller Forming an O-Ring Groove

Achieving a Robust Groove with an Efficient Process

Posted on 06/26/2019 | by The Orbitform Blog Team


Manufacturing is a fast-paced industry.  The ability to react to customer demand immediately greatly elevates positioning within the industry and opens the door to great growth.  Recently, a stamping house was approached by their customer to become a full component supplier.  Responding to the challenge required immediate action to develop an assembly solution.    


Initially for the assemblies the stamping house used a lathe with a single point of contact to create the groove.  The process was lethargic, but it worked for the time being.  It wasn’t as accurate as one had hoped, but it would do, or would it?


Not too long after undertaking the production of the entire assembly, annual volume greatly increased.  The stamping house simply could not produce all assemblies using the lethargic lathe process.  When faced with this new challenge, this company reached out to Orbitform to find a solution. 


As the leading experts in Articulating Roller Forming, Orbitform partnered with the stamping house to develop a solution to achieve a robust O-ring groove while meeting the required cycle time and annual production volumes.  Articulating Roller Forming uses three rollers applying points of contact as it is spun around a cylindrical part.  It can be used to form grooves into parts or go around features on a part that is difficult to reach with traditional tooling.  This process is more accurate in creating the desired ring width, depth and corner radius for a complete O-ring seal.  Sharp edges that could cause tears in the O-ring were eliminated with the addition of the rollers.


For this application, supporting the tube was critical in obtaining the correct groove and geometry.  To achieve this requirement, Orbitform developed tooling for an air actuated collet.  Once a part is loaded, the collet tooling expands to support and grasp the tube internally.  A thru-spindle cylinder then lowers the upper tooling into the tube to clamp the component, eliminate movement during forming, and provide a surface to form the groove against.


To accomplish the required cycle time, Orbitform developed an operator load/unload system that cycled in the following manner:

  1. Operator loads parts on the right side of the machine.
  2. Operator cycles machine.
  3. Fixture shuttles left and powerhead forms the new part.
  4. While the part is being formed, the operator moves to the left of the machine to unload a formed assembly and reload a new assembly.
  5. Once part is formed and a new assembly has been loaded, operator cycles machine.
  6. Fixture shuttles right and the powerhead forms the new part.
  7. While part is being formed, the operator moves to the right of the machine to unload a completed assembly and reload a new assembly.


This system delivered an 8 second cycle time, which greatly increased the annual volume capabilities. 

In addition to increased cycle time, the company also required the option to form 8 different parts.  To maintain this fast cycle time, quick tooling changeover was necessary.  To support this, Orbitform developed a custom quick-change system which enabled changeover to happen in under 15 minutes for each part. 


In the fast-paced industry of manufacturing, creating an assembly and responding to customers’ needs greatly influences a company’s success and growth.  Orbitform partners with manufacturers to develop the best solution to their assembly needs.  From simple assemblies to full, lights out solutions, we have the experience and expertise to help you win in the workplace.  Contact us today to find your unique solution. 


Articulating Roller Forming