What is Tube Beading?

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Tube beading is the process of crimping the end of a cylindrical metal tube to form a spout shape. Beaded tube ends are commonly used to connect hoses or slide into other metal tubes. Some tube beads are made simply to strengthen and protect the shape of the laminated metal. Metallurgists use internal rolling or ram forming to bend the ends of metal tubes into the shape of the bead. Many different lengths and diameters of crimped metal tubes are used in the construction, manufacturing and automotive industries.

Manufacturers often connect the ends of beaded tubes to create rigid metal shapes. Matched tubes are sized to fit one inside the other. The connecting tubes are fitted at their crimped ends to form a comfortable joint. The raised edge pressure at the end of the tube holds the joint together. Bolts and welds are often used to secure the ends of crimped tubes for permanent assembly.

Internal lamination elevates the crimped section by applying pressure from the inside while the tube is held in place. Manual and mechanical devices are used to roll around the diameter of the pipe and create the bead in a relatively slow process. The internal profiling process is typically used for small scale beads and custom pipe beads. This tube beading method is generally considered to be more accurate. Some heavy gauge metal tubes will not fit hand held internal profiling tools.

Ram forming is a faster tube forming procedure that presses internally and externally with a set of punches. The ends of the tubes are formed in a single motion as they are pressed against the carbide punches. Large-scale tube beading is done almost exclusively using the ram forming process. The rapid compaction process flexes the pipe end, causing the metal to heat up. Beads formed by punches may be slightly uneven or cause slight structural variations at the ends of the tube.

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Any of the tube fillet styles form a nozzle at the end of a metal tube section that is ideal for connecting to a flexible hose. Hoses attached to crimped ends are often clipped in place. Adjustable screw clamps are commonly used to create an air and water tight seal between the hose and pipe. Adhesives and polymer sealants applied to the crimped ends provide increased leakage protection. If the end of the tube is damaged, it can usually be bent back into shape to prevent the hose from cracking.

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