Metal tubing is uniquely suited for mobile and portable displays and equipment due to its high strength and lightweight construction. Steel and stainless steel metal tubes are frequently used in industrial and manufacturing facilities, where highly durable, corrosion resistant, and temperature resistant components are required for railings, process piping, exhaust and drainage. Unlike more common plastic tubing, metal tubing can last for extended periods of time without the need for frequent repair and replacement.
Northern Metal Products is a premier provider of OEM replacement parts and point-of-purchase (POP) and sale displays for a variety of businesses and industrial facilities. Our OEM capabilities include quality metal fabrication for turnkey projects and prototyping services, and our metal tube forming and fabrication services make up a significant portion of our OEM manufacturing for POP and sales displays and industrial equipment.
Preferred Metals for Tube Forming
Metal tube forming can be performed using an array of different metals, both ferrous or non-ferrous. Ferrous metals consist primarily of iron and include steel, stainless steel, and other steel alloys. They are stronger than many other metals and are magnetic. Although many steel blends are susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially in moist environments, stainless steel naturally has an oxidized surface layer of chromium that can protect from moisture and rust. For this reason, stainless steel tube fabrication is used to create low-maintenance, high-durability components for a variety of industrial applications.
Non-ferrous metals common in tube forming applications include copper, bronze, brass, and aluminum. Each material has unique properties that make it useful for particular applications. Aluminum, for example, is inexpensive and has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it ideal for aerospace and industrial applications, as well as mobile retail displays. Brass, on the other hand, is highly resistant to saltwater corrosion and is softer, which makes it perfect for underwater pipes and fittings for marine applications that require a tight seal.
Tube Forming & Fabrication Machining Techniques
Tube forming and fabrication techniques vary depending on the intended product. In fact, the manufacture of metal tubes often requires multiple fabrication techniques, including:
- Cutting: Uses a metal tool or laser to remove material to create the desired shape and size. Machines used for cutting processes are typically operated using computer numerical control (CNC), which uses pre-programmed software to direct the cutting tools. Cutting tools may include saws, lathes, mills, grinders, lasers, and water jet cutters.
- Bending: Tubes are often bent into shape using specialized equipment with a die, press, or mandrel. Heat and pressure are applied to the tube, depending on the bending method, metal type, tube diameter, and material thickness.
- Notching: Tube notching is used to cut or shape the end of a tube into a particular shape or configuration to make it easier to weld or affix to another component.
- Swaging: Swaging is a cold-working process that deforms the tube using a compressive die to expand or reduce the diameter of the tube.
Project Applications for Metal Tubes
Metal tubes are strong, lightweight, and can be manufactured from many different materials. This makes them an inexpensive and versatile option for a range of applications. Some of the most common applications that benefit from metal tubes include:
- Electrical Conduits
- Handrails and Fire Escapes
- Automobile Roll Cages and Chassis
- Decorative Ironwork
- Engine and Generator Components
- Bicycle and Motorcycle Handlebars
- Landscaping Equipment and Tractor Components
- Refrigeration and HVAC Parts
- Playground and Exercise Equipment
- Pressure Washers
Northern Metal Products’ Tube Fabrication
At Northern Metal Products, we are committed to providing superior tube forming and fabrication services to our customers in a range of industries. Whether you need stainless steel tubing for food processing applications or aluminum framework for your POP retail display, we have the knowledge, experience, and technology available to ensure that you get the perfect tubing material and design for your needs.
We offer custom tube designs in a variety of materials including mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Our state-of-the-art facility is capable of cutting, piercing, mandrel and BLM bending, laser cutting, CNC machining and bending, and swaging different tube materials and diameters.