Orbitform LLC

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Taking Shots at a Better Assembly Process


Designing and testing assembly prototypes can be challenging. When you think you've found the solution, you wind up with more issues to overcome. Quality test after quality test bring both victories and failures. Here at Orbitform, we like to call those failures “lessons learned.” We thrive on helping our customers work through those lessons and overcome challenges early in the product development process.


A manufacturer of gun components was having issues securing their assembly. The subcomponents were held together with a custom “set screw” style fastener through threaded holes. During use, the component was facing several challenges with heat, rotation, and vibration. Rapid use raised the temperature of the component which disabled the thread lockers. The fastener was a pivot joint that turned both directions during use and reset causing rotational issues after testing. After sustained use, the vibration caused the fastener to back out of the hole. The manufacturer turned to Orbitform, hoping that orbital riveting might solve these issues.

Lab testing

Orbitform's assembly experts ran sample parts in our Solution's Lab to determine if we could overcome these challenges. The manufacturer wanted to test a new fastener design with both coated and non-coated rivets. Our lab technicians tried both orbital and radial riveting. After the first few tests, the manufacturer found that the parts that used coated rivets and were formed orbitally moved more freely than those formed radially with non-coated.

Our technicians found that orbital riveting prevented the pins from buckling by putting less downward load on the shank than radial riveting. However, orbital riveting did remove more of the coating during the forming.

What if?

After reviewing several sample parts, the manufacturer posed a second possible solution. Could we form the material around the rivet instead of the rivet itself? Based on the results of using coated fasteners in the first few tests, our experts believed this might be a viable solution. The manufacturer redesigned the subcomponents with a blind hole and sent more samples to our Solutions Lab. We tested both orbital and radial riveting again, upsetting the aluminum component to retain the coated pin. While both processes resulted in a functioning pivot point, radial riveting minimized the removal of the coating on the subcomponent.

Machine Solution

After working with the manufacturer in our lab, our experts were able to determine the right process to meet their requirements and overcome their challenges. As a result of the lab testing, we provided the appropriate equipment to form viable parts - A BR-125 Bench-Top Radial Riveter.

When it comes to manufacturing, there are always going to be challenges. Part failures can happen in the first prototype or the tenth. However, each failure is a lesson learned and a chance to improve. Partnering with our assembly experts means you can benefit from the lessons we have learned before, and we can work with you to overcome your unique challenges. Contact us today to discuss your prototype development.

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Dual Opposed Orbital forming with Press

Orbitform is well known for their expertise in forming, fastening, riveting and assembly.  From orbital and radial forming to roller forming, impact riveting and hot upset forming, we offer a variety of solutions.  When partnering with our engineers for your project, we can determine the best custom fit solution for your application to achieve your functional and aesthetic requirements.

Recently, we were approached by a customer on a custom fastening solution for an articulating joint for automotive seating.  This rivet was slip-fit into the joint.  Due to design constraints, traditional forming from above was impossible and forming from below raised fixturing concerns.  Additionally, the customer required this forming station to fit into their existing palletized conveyor line.  It was a tall order, but Orbitform was up for the challenge.

Upon reviewing the application, it was found that forming the rivet to the required 15.5mm diameter from below was achievable if a back-up force was placed on the top side of the rivet.  To accomplish this, we implemented our little-known press line.  Using an Orbitform press to apply pressure to the top side of the rivet, the bottom orbital powerhead could then successfully form the rivet from below without any complications. 

Finally, to accomplish integration into the existing palletized conveyor line, Orbitform’s engineers began designing a workbench using CAD models from the customer.  Partnering with the customer, we designed to the proper height, width and depth to easily add this machine into the current line.  We then built the machine to hook up and run off the already established controls, lending to the ease of implementation.  Once installed, the new machine seamlessly provided the exact solution the customer was in search of.

A partnership with Orbitform is a high value-added asset when designing and building your assembly process.  From concept to completion, our engineers work hard to accomplish your most challenging assemblies.  We stand ready to review your unique applications and put our heads together to find the perfect assembly solution for you.  Contact us to talk to someone today!

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Impact Riveting Heads Decrease Cycle Time and Footprint


Product design can be one of the most challenging tasks for an engineer. From multiple concepts through building prototypes, engineers take many steps to ensure their design meets functional and safety requirements. Once they’ve finalized their design with management’s approval, they now have to determine exactly how they’re going to assemble it.

There are many points to consider when determining the right assembly equipment:

• How many rivets or fasteners are required?
• How much floor space is available?
• How many parts do you need to make each year?
• How fast do you need to assemble each part?
• Do you need to support your part during assembly?

All these questions and more play a part in designing the right assembly equipment. With 30+ years of assembly experience, Orbitform's experts partner with manufacturers every day to meet these production requirements.

When cycle time and footprint are critical, custom assembly systems are often necessary. Orbitform's Milford impact riveting line includes modular riveting heads - the Milford Model 56, 57, and 58 - that are ideal for integrating into an assembly system. They have a space-saving wedge design that lends them perfectly for mounting in groups. These heads can be positioned as close as 1" together allowing multiple rivets to be formed simultaneously.

Many electronic manufacturers have turned to Orbitform for multi-riveting solutions. For one manufacturer, we have provided several systems to assemble circuit breaker housings. To meet their cycle time requirements, we designed a system with four riveting heads mounted onto a common base with a fixture slide. With this system, the operator will load the part onto the slide before activating the machine. The slide will then advance to the forming position and all four rivets will be installed simultaneously. This increased the number of parts produced per hour, while keeping the machine within a 60” x 40” footprint.

Orbitform has also provided multi-hit riveting machines to assemble longer items, such as shovels and garage rails. For these manufacturers, we mounted multiple riveting heads on a longer base to support the part during forming. Our engineering department reviewed the part models to design each system, ensuring the riveting heads were mounted in the proper place to form all rivets at the same time.

When your parts require multiple rivets, there is a lot to take into consideration. Footprint, cycle time, part support, and annual volumes all factor into designing your equipment. Partnering with Orbitform's assembly experts ensures you get the right solution. Contact us today to start your next assembly project.

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Three Ways to Save Money with Permanent Assembly

Save money with permanent assembly

How do you assemble your part? There are seemingly infinite ways to assemble, fasten, and adhere your part together. How do you decide? It starts with whether or not you need to take your part apart, as some processes result in permanent bonds.

At Orbitform, we specialize in permanent part assembly. When your part doesn’t need to be taken apart, permanent part assembly provides an effective solution, both in cost and results.

Reasons to choose Permanent Assembly

There are many reasons why a part doesn’t need to be taken apart.

- It could be a matter of personal or operational safety. Disassembly may be unsafe for the operator or a liability if it occurs during operation.

- If there are extreme forces during operations, such as vibrational, shock, or push/pull forces, permanent assembly results in a stronger joint that can withstand such forces.

- Regulatory laws or industry standards may also require that parts be permanently assembled.

- Components in larger assemblies may also require a more permanent bond.

- In some cases, you don’t want anyone taking it apart. \

Cost Savings

Permanent assembly does more than meet meeting application requirements - it also provides a cost-effective solution. If your part doesn’t require disassembly, permanent part assembly processes could decrease your manufacturing costs and increase your profits:

1. Fastening hardware – Using permanent part assembly processes can reduce or eliminate the need for additional fastening hardware. The fastener and the part are securely and permanently joined together with permanent assembly processes. Hardware such as retaining rings, washers, nuts, bolts, cotter pins, or threaded fasteners may no longer be required, resulting in cost savings.

2. Machining Operations – Permanent assembly can reduce the cost of some machining operations. The need to machine grooves or threads can be eliminated when switching from a threaded fastener to a solid rivet. Tapping or drilling holes can also be reduced if self-piercing riveting operations are employed. These are just a few examples of machining operations that can be reduced or eliminated, saving both time and money.

3. Assembly Operations & Cycle Time – By reducing the pieces of hardware required or machining operations needed, you can also reduce cycle time. Instead of driving a screw or nut, permanent assembly can quickly form a rivet or tenon to securely fasten a part together. Impact riveting can install a rivet in 1 second, providing a quicker cycle time than other processes. When cycle time and assembly operations are reduced, you receive higher throughput and more parts being assembled.

Permanent part assembly has many advantages. Whether the joint needs to withstand high operational forces, remain assembled for safety reasons, or for any other reason, permanent assembly process are effective, both in reliability and cost-effectiveness. Contact Orbitform’s assembly experts today and let us guide you to the correct permanent assembly process for your application.

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Automation Solutions for Reshored Manufacturers

Rising off-shore tariffs are changing the American Economy.  Many companies who have previously sent their manufacturing overseas are now pulling these processes back into the states.  Finding viable labor resources to complete these processes continues to be harder and harder.  As companies are challenged with the reshoring of their manufacturing and labor shortage, the demand for automation is reaching an all time high. 

Orbitform’s goal is to supply manufacturers the precise level of automation required for their assemblies without over-complicating their system.  Our team has provided thousands of automation solutions to customers who have been challenged with reshoring and labor shortages.  Finding the right automation process for your assembly is key in continuing production. 

When considering whether automation is right for your production, please consider the following:

  • production volume
  • availability of labor resources
  • the increasing need for quality control
  • safety
  • ergonomics
  • budget

Orbitform has been helping manufacturers find assembly solutions for 34 years.  With a wide range of offerings and a high level of expertise, you are guaranteed the right solution to your assembly needs.  Typical automation options include:

  • Indexing dial machines
  • Robotic Integration
  • Work cells and lean manufacturing work cells
  • Servo Positioning Slides
  • Pick and place units and general part handling/transfer
  • Precision Link Integration
  • Build-to-print options
  • Total Customization

From concept to completion, Orbitform works with manufacturers to find the right assembly solution.  It all starts with your part.  Orbitform Applications Engineers review your part, annual production volume requirement, and your reason for automation to determine the best fit for your application and budget.  The Orbitform team’s world class Project Managers will then work with you from concept to completion to provide high quality machinery that fulfills your production needs.  Finally, our spare parts, tooling, service and maintenance teams stand ready to prevent downtime and keep your machines in good standing order.

Contact us today for your Automation Solution.

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World Class Project Management

Value Added

When building large machinery and equipment, organization and hard work are key to ensure a value-added end product. In manufacturing, one of the best ways to stay organized and move projects forward is to invest in a great project management program.

Top-Down Support

Orbitform has invested copious amounts of time and resources to build its team of world-class project managers to ensure quality, on time delivery, and customer satisfaction. The top-down support from upper management provides the team with the necessary tools to respond to customer needs as they arrive. Our well-trained team prides themselves in having a higher sense of urgency than what is expected from customers. They find peace in knowing their assigned project manager works with them every step of the way to ensure they are always informed and receive a product far beyond their expectations.

Continued Education

From the team’s first conception, Orbitform spared no expense for continuing education. Our project managers work hard to continue to educate themselves through college classes, software training and even Project Management Professional (or PMP) certification. Working hard to learn the necessary tools, each one of our project managers has become an expert on seeing a project from concept to completion as a team.

Top Performance

Utilizing critical chain software, our project managers ensure top performance and response on each stage of a project. They can easily review each project, communicate progress, and even make last minute changes to a project. This software ensures quick response to any potential setbacks and great understanding of the precise stage each component is at in the manufacturing process.


Since the implementation of the project management team, Orbitform is proud to share that we have seen tremendous improvements in organization, on time delivery and customer satisfaction. We constantly strive for perfection and continue to invest, train and build our project management team. At Orbitform, we strive to deliver solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations.

Your Solution

Our project managers stand ready to work with you on your next assembly solution and look forward to walking through each step of manufacturing with you. Contact our team today at 517-787-4997 to find your assembly solution and work with our world class project management team.

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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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Orbitally Forming for Safety in Aerospace Landing Gear

orbital forming sequence

Landing Gear Safety

In the Aerospace industry, safety is key in ensuring landing gear functions properly. Orbitform has worked with landing gear experts to permanently form, fasten or rivet components to ensure safety while maintaining proper function of the assembly.

Service and Support

Recently, an Aerospace customer contacted us with a need for flexibility in their machine due to their high mix of parts, and low volume of production. They were using radial forming for their brake disc assembly and not receiving the support they required. They were looking for an expert in the field that would also provide support and service for the life of the machine.

Radial Versus Orbital

Upon being approached, we offered the experience and expertise of testing the correct fastening solution in our Solutions Lab. Initially, the customer was using radial forming, but were experiencing early tooling wear, and longer-than expected cycle times. However, upon testing, it was found that orbitally forming the rivets decreased cycle time while giving better functional results and a longer tooling life. We then provided custom-built machinery based on our findings.

Your Solution

At Orbitform, we are constantly working with customers to develop the best solution for their assembly. We offer the same opportunity to you. Contact us today to allow us to review your assembly and use our expertise and unbiased approach with our six core processes at 517-787-9447 or sales2@orbitform.com. We look forward to working with you!

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Product Highlight: The M-306 and M-506 Powerheads

extended stroke powerhead

The concept of the long stroke powerhead was born out of a necessity to solve a customer’s assembly challenge for an automotive side mirror. The interior tube sat so deep within the part that the stroke capacity of our existing powerheads was insufficient. As Orbitform engineers examined the application to find a solution, we envisioned a powerhead with a long enough stroke to reach the forming location and make the load and unload operations easier. This was the beginning of two new powerheads with adjustable stroke lengths up to 6.00’" – the M-306 and M-506.

The Orbitform Model M-306 Powerhead is similar to our M-310 Powerhead, with a forming capacity of up to 0.312" diameter mild steel. The difference is that, while the M-310 has a maximum stroke of 2.00", the M-306 has an adjustable stroke between 3.12" to 6.00". When mounted on our standard height adjustable column, the M-306 has a throat depth of 5.25" and a vertical height adjustment of 6.50".

The Orbitform Model 506 Powerhead is similar to our M-500 Powerhead, with a forming capacity of up to 0.500" diameter mild steel. The difference again is that, while the M-500 has a maximum stroke of 2.50", the M-506 has an adjustable stroke between 3.38" to 6.00". The M-506 has a throat depth of 8.00" and a vertical powerhead height adjustment of 10.00" when mounted on our standard height adjustable column.

Orbitform’s industry exclusive M-306 and M-506 powerheads are great for rivet locations that are deep within a part and require a longer reach. These powerheads can also eliminate the need for a 2-position slide for some applications. The powerheads provide enough clearance to load the part directly under the tooling, thus saving time and money for the customer.

Similar to our standard powerheads, the M-306 and M-506 can be provided as a component to be incorporated into a larger automated system, or as a standard Orbitform Bench Machine. Send us your part models today and we can determine if our long reach powerheads are right for your application.

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Assembling Products in India – Orbitform and ATS India form Partnership

ATS India Logo

Orbitform is proud to announce a new sales partnership with ATS India. Orbitform and ATS India will now be able to support product manufacturing and product assembly companies operating among the vast, growing, and technologically dynamic manufacturing community within India.

ATS India offers Orbitform in country sales representation and direct customer support via the team of competent engineering, manufacturing, technical, and business experts working together at ATS India.

Orbitform is excited to begin working with the established and expanding manufacturing and assembly sectors within India and is grateful to have ATS India as a partner.


About ATS India:

Automated Tooling Systems India Private Limited (ATS India) is based in Hyderabad, India. ATS India offers a complete range of engineering and manufacturing services for the automotive, defense, aerospace and general industries. Through a dedicated sales and design team located inside India, ATS India bridges product design and manufacturing technologies. Additionally, ATS India, in partnership with its design arm, T&AS Designtech Services, provides a single umbrella solution to customer needs by integrating engineering, design, manufacturing and assembly under one roof.

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