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Roller Forming an O-Ring Groove

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. 

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Industry Spotlight: Kitchenware

Rivets can be found in many different products. From components in your vehicle to fire sprinklers in your workplace, permanent assembly processes produce strong joints critical to part success. Orbitform has been supporting manufacturers across multiple industries for more than 30 years. Our assembly experts have seen many unique applications.

One of the unique industries Orbitform has worked with is the food industry. Our impact and orbital riveting equipment allow manufacturers to assemble kitchen products safely and efficiently. The food industry uses a wide range of materials, dependent on the application. With our diverse product line, Orbitform can help identify the right process to meet the application requirements.

Handles for cookware such as pots and pans may be attached with rivets. Solid rivets are often used to form a strong joint that will withstand heat during cooking. Orbitform’s heavy duty impact riveters can form up to 7/16” diameter solid rivets, providing a secure connection to attach the handles to pots, pans, and lids.

A more unique assembly application Orbitform’s experts have supported in our Solutions Lab is blender blades. The priority was to determine if we could create a sealed joint that would not trap food particles. With our orbital riveting process, we kneaded the material over to fill the hole and create a sealed connection. We also partnered with the manufacturer to determine the appropriate rivet specifications. By forming sample parts in our lab, we were able to define the appropriate rivet length. We also discovered that using a shouldered rivet would eliminate a step in their assembly process – the need to press fit the rivet into the hole - thus increasing their throughput.

Kitchen utensil such as ladles, tongs, spatulas, and spoons may use rivets to attach the handles. Depending on the material and application requirements, there are multiple choices for the correct assembly solution. Impact Riveting provides a quick cycle time and can be used when joining plastic handles to metal utensils. If the finished form appearance is critical, orbital or radial forming can result in an aesthetically pleasing joint. Heavy duty steel utensils may require orbital riveting to move the material due to hardness.

With 30+ years of experience in partnering with manufacturers, Orbitform has seen a wide variety of applications. Our assembly experts partner with you to understand your application requirements and determine the best assembly process. We look forward to supporting you with our food industry knowledge, along with finding new and innovative ways to solve your unique assembly challenges. Partner with us today to find the correct forming process for your unique kitchenware application.

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In-Process Torque Check

Manufacturing requires consistency and repeatability.  When your assembly process is inconsistent and you experience quality issues, where do you turn?

Orbitform is the leading expert in forming fastening and assembly solutions.  We partner with manufacturers to find the best possible assembly process.  Recently, we were approached by a manufacturer on an articulating joint with a very specific, low torque specification.

Upon review of the manufacturer’s current joint forming method, it was found there was a high scrap rate due to inconsistent torque.  The forming method they were using for the rivet, which held together two handles, simply did not provide enough control to ensure the proper torque specs while holding all components robustly. 

Orbitform partnered with the manufacturer to test the assembly in our Solutions Lab.  Many assemblies were formed to different forces.  After testing the assemblies, a precise forming force was found to provide the required joint functions. 

Orbitform experts worked to develop a new, accurate, repeatable process for the manufacturer.  The system combined a servo-driven orbital powerhead with process monitoring, a servo-driven wedge to raise and lower the assembly for forming, and a rotary servo for in process torque check. 

Upon initiation, the orbital head advances to locate the bottom of the rivet head in the assembly.  The overall length of the rivet is detected, and the stick-up is verified within its specification limits. Based on the specific information received, the rivet is then formed to a specific overall length from the rivet head.  Once formed, the tool retracts, and the assembly exercised a set number of times to release pressure in the joint.  Then, using the rotary servo, the torque of the joint is measured.  If the torque spec is met, the powerhead fully retracts and part unload.  However, if the spec is not met, the forming cycle repeats.  Upon development of this new system, the manufacturer received a repeatable, robust process that produces consistent assemblies every time. 

Partnering with the experts at Orbitform on your assembly process provides many positive results.  The many fastening, forming and assembly processes offered provide the right solution for your functional requirements every time.  Orbitform is the only orbital riveting company able to provide in-process torque check, and eagerly awaits partnering with you on your next assembly process.  Contact us today to have our experts review your application and begin developing your unique solution.

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A Dual Opposed Solution

Vehicle Safety

When backing out of your driveway and speeding down the road on your way to work, you probably don’t give much thought to the effort it takes to run your vehicle.  We have come to expect the highest quality out of our vehicles to provide transportation, while keeping us safe.  Vehicle manufacturers perform stringent tests to ensure the highest quality, giving you a smooth, worry-free ride.

Self-Contained System

Orbitform upholds the same quality standards with fastening, forming, riveting and assembly, so it is no surprise that we were approached to find a self-contained solution to form carrier pins in a transmission planetary carrier gear.  In a completed assembly, components were held in place by either four or six carrier pins.  A machine solution was required to form both sizes of gears and to form the carrier pins equally on each side to meet the high-quality standards.

Tolerancing Challenge

Upon review of the assembly, the largest challenge was with the tolerancing of the carrier pins. Prior to forming, the pins were slip fit, held in place by grease.  While forming the first pin, the other pins could fall out due to the slip fit.  Orbitform partnered with the manufacturer to design a fixture that would allow for robotic loading and unloading and hold all pins in place during the forming process.  The fixture could also shuttle to hit the next pin, thus creating a self-contained solution. 

Orbital Forming

The next challenge addressed was the forming of the pins.  During testing in Orbitform’s Solutions Lab, our lab technicians found that orbitally forming the pins .070” on each side created the desired form to withstand the pushout forces the carrier would be seeing.  However, the pins required a back-up upon forming. 

A Dual Opposed Solution

To combat these challenges and meet the required cycle time, Orbitform introduced the idea of a dual-opposed system that was programmable to run either the four pin or six pin carrier.  An orbital powerhead would act as a hard stop on one side of the carrier pin while the other side was being orbitally formed.  Next the two powerheads would switch jobs and form the opposite side.  After this cycle was complete, the fixture would then shuttle to the next pin and begin again. 

High Quality

In developing this dual opposed, self-contained system, Orbitform was able to provide a solution that exceeded expectations and achieved the required cycle time.  In addition, through partnering with our customer on this project, Orbitform was able to ensure the carrier pins overperformed in safety tests to provide the highest quality vehicle components possible. 

Overperformance

Orbitform is committed to providing high quality, robust and unique solutions to overperform in meeting the functional requirements in a joint.  Afterall, on your drive home from work tonight, your thoughts should be on your family, not questioning the safety of your vehicle. 

Orbitform stands ready to partner with you on your next fastening, forming, riveting or assembly project.  Contact us today to find your unique solution.

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Keeping Your Cool: Solutions for HVAC Manufacturers

orbitform-hvac-impact-radial

Orbitform has been working with manufacturers in the HVAC industry for many years. Whether it's assembling fan blades, vents, louvers, ceiling dampers, or pipe fittings, we understand the needs of HVAC manufacturers. Over the years, we have provided a number of process solutions for HVAC manufacturers.

Custom Throat Depth

When it comes to heating and cooling, fans are essential. Assembling large fan blades to the central hub can be a challenge. Orbitform has worked with several manufacturers to provide assembly equipment with custom throat depths to rivet these hard to reach locations.

For one manufacturer, we designed a custom column for a heavy-duty hydra-pneumatic impact riveting machine. This custom column increased the throat depth to 38" to accommodate their largest fan blades. For another manufacturer, we provided a custom horn for a heavy-duty electro-mechanical impact riveter, to provide a 36" throat depth. With these deeper throats, the manufacturers could utilize one machine to assemble multiple fan blade lengths using the same rivet size.

Multi-Hit

Orbitform offers multiple solutions for installing more than one rivet at a time. Our Fixed Center impact riveters can install 2 rivets simultaneously. We also offer heavy-duty triple and quad hit riveters to install 3 or 4 rivets at once.

For the most unique applications, we design custom systems. This can include mounting multiple riveting heads on a common base.  For one manufacturer, we designed a dual headed system with two pneumatic impact riveting heads and an adjustable slide package. This allowed them to run parts with different center distances between rivets on the same machine.

Decrease Process Variability

With our Solutions Lab, we can test multiple processes and assemble sample parts for your evaluation. One HVAC manufacturer was using a press to assemble an air compressor sub-component and experiencing process variability. We tested sample parts in our lab to find that our radial riveting process provided a strong form and repeatable process.

With each application, Orbitform takes the time to understand and meet your needs. We also have a fully staffed Spare Parts & Tooling department and Service Team to help reduce your machine downtime. Contact us today to discuss how we can overcome your unique challenges.

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Conveyor Solutions for High-Volume Production

Heightened Volume Requirements

Moving parts from one process to another becomes challenging as the assembly grows.  Palletized conveyors are a great solution for heightened volume requirements. Orbitform is a leading expert in palletized conveyors and has created many options for material handling. 

Too Large for Operator Handling

Automotive component production requirements often are too large for operator handling without added machinery.  Orbitform was challenged with finding a conveyance solution for a 100mm-140mm diameter component system with a high production volume. Upon review of the required cycle time, process and component tracking, we were able to design a unique, one-of-a-kind system to fit all the client’s needs.

Ideal Way to Move Parts

Due to the size and shape of the part, a palletized conveyor was ideal to move the parts.  A palettized conveyor is a conveyance system in which a part is placed directly on a part specific fixture, called a pallet, which stays directly on the conveyor system.  This pallet then moves the part via the conveyor system, holding it securely. 

A Self-Contained System

In addition to designing a completely self-contained system, Orbitform was able to include smart traffic control, gauging station and part tracking.  The new system was designed with a raw part sorting system and robotic load and unload. 

Move and Track Parts Effortlessly

Upon integrating the system into this new line, the client received a completely self-contained solution to meet their every need.  This new system moves and tracks parts effortlessly through the entire manufacturing process. 

Experts in Conveyors

In addition to being experts in forming, fastening and riveting, Orbitform is also the expert in conveyors and assembly process.  Palletized conveyors are an excellent solution to manufacturing your assembly when experiencing the following challenges:

  • High Volumes
  • Safety concerns
  • Part Ergonomics
  • Large and/or heavy assemblies
  • Limited workforce resources

Orbitform stands ready to work together to design your next conveyor project.  Contact us today to find your unique assembly solution.

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Industry Spotlight: Automotive Parts

Automotive Parts

Orbitform has worked with many industries, including medical, aerospace, recreational, and more. As a proud Michigan manufacturer, we have been partnering with automotive manufacturers for 30+ years. We have provided assembly solutions for a large variety of automotive applications, including seating components, strikers, and more. Here are a few examples of some of the components found in your vehicle that we have provided equipment to assemble. 

Seating Components

Orbitform has provided numerous assembly solutions for seating applications in vehicles. Recliner mechanisms require smooth articulating joints for seamless movement. Orbital riveting uses less force then pressing which minimizes the shank swell of the rivet and allows for articulation. We have also provided orbital riveting equipment to assemble the folding seat assembly found in many cars. A more unique seating component that Orbitform has provided equipment for is the seat belt spool retractor. Our articulating roller forming process forms from the side.  We used this to access the forming location under a preexisting lip on the seat belt spool retractor. 

Striker Wires

Striker wires are used in multiple locations inside a vehicle, including trunks, doors, and seats. Depending on the hardness of the wire, either the hot upset process or orbital riveting process can be used. For the seat back striker, we provided orbital riveting because it required less force and more control for the final form diameter. For harder materials and higher strength requirements, we have used our hot upset forming process. This applies heat and force simultaneously to form a strong joint. Orbitform has even automated this process to meet production volume requirements of striker wires for automotive applications.

Other Automotive Applications

Window regulator rail assemblies use a small pulley system to roll your car windows up and down. Orbitform has provided orbital riveting systems to form the pin holding those pulleys in place, allowing them to freely rotate. Orbital riveting equipment can also be used for non-articulating joints, such as securing baffle plates inside a front engine cover. Our roller forming equipment has been used to roll over the edge of an oil gauge to retain the inner components. 

With 30+ years of experience, Orbitform has worked with many manufacturers across multiple industries. Our assembly experts have assisted on a wide variety of assembly applications, including the few mentioned above. Contact us today to discuss your applications and learn how we can help improve your process. 

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Creating Stability in a Bushing Flare

Forming a flare

Orbitally forming a flare is a unique process. As a forming force is applied, material flows to the path of least resistance, lead by the geometry of the peen tool. Finished form is dependent on the design of the surrounding assembly area, as well as the tooling needed for the process.

Dimensional Requirements

Recently, we were approached by a customer to flare their bushing assembly. Design engineers were working toward orbitally forming a flare for retention, dimensional requirements, and increasing the surface area of the formed tenon. Upon testing in our Solutions Lab, forming was very successful. The material flowed smoothly outward, creating the dimension requirements the customer required.

This is where our story begins.

Troublesome Finished Form

Orbitform was able to produce prototype parts in our lab for the customer to take into testing. These parts met all the specifications the engineers believed they required. However, upon testing, it was discovered that the finished form was troublesome.

Friction Required

The peen used in testing created a very smooth, shiny and visually appealing finished form, but the surface lacked the necessary friction to provide the necessary stability for the customer’s assembly. Unbeknownst to Orbitform’s engineers, assembling the bushing into its full component required a surface that provided friction or grip that simply was not there. This detail concerned the engineers. Could the current forming process provide the necessary finished form?

Tooling Design

The engineers once again turned to Orbitform’s Lab Technicians to find an answer. Upon review of the new functional requirement, our technicians worked to redesign the peen tooling to form rings into the tenon as it was being formed. In order to design the tooling, our engineers took the desired finished form and reverse engineered the design into the tooling.

Finished Form Requirement

Testing occurred once again within the lab to ensure the newly designed tooling was able to create the rings within the flare. This forming process determined that the height of the rings was extremely important: too low and stability was lost was lost in the assembly, too high and the rings cracked. Through several rounds of design and lab testing, Orbitform was able to determine the precise height of the rings for the finished form requirement. Through collaboration and testing, the desired functionality was achieved.

Machine Requirements

Once the design was successfully achieved, this orbital flaring process needed to be recreated for manufacturing. Orbitform worked directly with the bushing manufacturer to design and build a machine that fit their company specifications, volume, and required functionality.

Your Flaring Application

Forming a flare orbitally is a unique process that can achieve many functional requirements. Leveraging the cold forming process of moving the material to the path of least resistance allows Orbitform to control the finished form, no matter how unique it may be. We stand ready to work with you for development on your unique finished form for your flaring application.

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Orbital Vs Radial

What’s the difference?

We hear it all the time – what is the difference between orbital and radial riveting. It’s an important subject to discuss when designing a new assembly and looking for the right fastening or forming process. To help you better understand each process and find the right solution, we have put together a few comparisons to consider.

Forming a tenon

The most obvious difference in orbital and radial riveting is the tool path of the peen. With orbital riveting, the peen is held at a fixed angle, typically 6°, and rotates over the fastener in a circular motion. As it rotates along the tenon, it gently forms the material. The 6° angle uses up to 80% less force than a press and creates approximately a 10% sideload. Radial riveting is quite different. The radial peen tool begins in the center and forms outward in a fleurette design. This process creates less side load but requires more force as it travels directly over the tenon.

Common uses and considerations

Due to the forming force required, radial riveting is most often used with small and delicate parts, such as endoscopic medical tools or inside watch components. As the size of the rivet increases, so too does the forming force, making it harder for radial riveting to be completed on larger diameter rivets due to the tooling path. As the tooling path travels directly over the top of the rivet and approaches 0 °, shank swell is increased due to the increased forming force, which can limit the joint’s ability to articulate. With orbital riveting less forming force is required due to the angle of the peen and tool path. The indirect force applied to the tenon creates less shank swell and can allow for articulating joints. The range of assemblies benefiting from this type of riveting include pinion gears, industrial sprinklers, striker wires, etc. etc.

Maintenance

The largest consideration manufacturers should consider is the long-term cost of maintenance and tooling to be used for each type of forming. The tooling path of radial riveting is quite larger than that of orbital riveting. It takes 13 rotations of fleurettes to complete one full 360 ° pass with radial riveting, whereas an orbital path only takes one. For this reason, the internal components between the two types of powerheads differ greatly. Orbital heads include three industrial standard bearings held in place by a snap ring. Maintenance includes removing the snap ring, cleaning, greasing and replacing the bearings. This process, on average, takes around a half hour and should be completed every 40 hours of part contact. The bearings are a standard bearing that can be found at any tool supply shop, meaning you are able to replace bearings quickly in an emergency. The total cost to replace all internal components for an orbital head is minimal. Conversely, radial riveting requires more internal components to create the tool path. The range of movement creates friction and heat, causing internal components to break down quicker. It is critical to grease the internal bearing, pre-load spring and thrust cup every 40 machine hours (not contact hours as in orbital riveting) to limit heat. Also, the rubbing of the pre-load spring and thrust cup to create the florets and rotation creates galling and increased wear. As these components break down, required maintenance and machine downtime due to maintenance increases. Due to the complexity of the components, the cost of replacing internal components of a radial head is three to four times that of orbital riveting.

Making the choice

When choosing between orbital and radial riveting, total cost of ownership, joint function, size, forming force required, and future machine maintenance costs must be taken into consideration. The financial obligations and time required for maintenance are not to be taken lightly, as it can greatly affect your throughput. As you approach the initial design phase of a new project, call the experts at Orbitform to discuss your assembly requirements to determine the appropriate riveting process. Our Applications Engineers and Lab Technicians stand ready to work with you to find the best solution for your assembly.

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Finding Solutions for Limited Resources

High Workload, Limited Workforce

Limited resources… It’s a problem many manufacturers are currently facing – plenty of work, purchase orders, and customers to work with, but not enough qualified employees to complete the workload. When the workload continues to grow, but the workforce is sparse, how do you manufacture assemblies that impress your customers?

Multiple Solution Options

Orbitform recognizes that an assembly solution is not always in the form of a simple machine. We have been working with many customers recently to solve this exact issue. Manufacturers have purchase orders to fulfill, but far too few qualified workers to take on the workload. Often times, solutions may also include eliminating production steps, decreasing cycle times, and reducing machine operators.

Increased Production with Limited Resources

Recently, we were contacted by a customer who was facing this exact issue – three separate production steps and cells to produce their shock mount assembly. As production volume increased, how could they continue to manufacture their product with limited resources?

A Unique Solution

Orbitform worked directly with design engineers to produce a simple, yet unique solution for this customer – a 12-station dial machine to combine three processes into one. This dial assembled a casting, loaded the rubber isolator, placed the steel washer, formed over the washer, and provided a quality check to complete the assembly in only seven seconds.

Integration of Automation

Previously, the assembly would have taken three operators through three separate manufacturing processes with high cycle times. Through the integration of automation, the customer received their desired outcome; a cost-cutting assembly machine that required fewer resources. The complete solution dial included two smaller dials for an operator to pre-load parts to be fed into the larger dial. In addition to that, the large dial included stations for component assembly, part presence check, top cap/steel washer placement, roller-forming and auto unload.

Our Pride is in Your Solution

At Orbitform, we pride ourselves on the ability to provide solutions. This project provided exactly that; a solution to limited resources and a large work-flow. We are pleased to deliver the right solution to impress our customers and stand ready to help find a solution for you, however big or small. Contact us today to find how we can support your assembly manufacturing process.

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