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Electric Tube Bender Spurs Aerospace Supplier Growth


Aerospace Manufacturing Inc. (AMI) and sister-company Aerospace Welding Minneapolis Inc. (AWI) are both just south of the Twin Cities, in Eagan, MN. Both serve the aerospace industry, with AMI focused on OEM customers and AWI supplying the aftermarket.

AMI is a leading provider of tubular engine components, mounts, and aircraft exhaust systems, float fittings, landing gear and various other welded and machined components and assemblies. AWI supplies aftermarket customers with new FAA/PMA and overhauled replacement parts, for all models of exhaust, cabin heat shrouds, engine mounts, turbo mounts and attaching hardware components and clamps. Crippa technical support manager Chris Harrison changes  tools on a Model SIXTY 13-axis, full-electric tube bender.

“A major part of our production at both companies is based on bent tubes of various sizes and materials,” said CEO Tom Heid. “Powerful, efficient, flexible, and easily configured bending tube is a top priority with us. Our most recent acquisition, a 980LE linear fully electric CNC bender from Crippa USA LLC [Geneva, IL] meets all of those requirements and adds some unexpected extras as well.”

“We have found that the Crippa bender allows us to eliminate many secondary operations and produce completed parts in one pass that used to require multiple processing steps,” Heid said. “In one recent case, we replaced a five-piece part with a single tube bent in one pass on the Crippa. That means we can produce a lot more parts in the same amount of time, and with considerably less labor. That makes us a lot more competitive and profitable at the same time, a real win-win for us and for our customers,” said Heid.

“Our customers require parts like fuel line components, air lines, mounts, and the like in production volumes and built to their rigid specifications,” said Heid. “By replacing our existing single-stack tube bender with the multistack capable Crippa 980LE, we can take full advantage of the machine’s fast setup and exceptionally low scrap rate to deliver production quantities of parts with minimal lead time.”

The Crippa 980LE CNC tube bender, which is designed to deliver high levels of accuracy and productivity, can perform multiple, fully automatic bending cycles using a small bending head that facilitates the creation of close shapes in a single cycle, even for tubes that normally require two-way bending. The bending head also allows the simultaneous use of multiple types of tooling including different radii, compound clamps, and variable radius dies. AMI provides original equipment to the aircraft industry including tubular engine components, mounts, and aircraft exhaust systems, float fittings, and landing gear and various other welded and machin

The head can be manually indexed for either clockwise or counterclockwise bending. An optional Tangent Boost device is available to axially push tubes during the bending process in the slide/wiper die zone to minimize waste by reducing required cut lengths. Crippa 963LE and 980LE machines are preconfigured to be easily integrated into working cells. High production speed, ability to integrate special devices, and capability to create bends with a radius of less than 0.8D or push with variable radius bends (optional) make these machines well suited for applications in the automotive, aerospace, urban design and shipbuilding industries.

All nine machine axes are driven by electric motors with digital full-electric technology and controlled by the Siemens 840 D sl CNC; there are no hydraulics. An intuitive interface with a 19" (482-mm) color LCD touch screen features Crippa’s User ISO Interface (UII) software with full-cycle simulation and program optimization functions. The UII software may also be used for programming offline or remotely connected to the bender, and can extract data from solid models of parts. The combination of high production speed, the ability to integrate external processes, and capability to create bends with a radius of less than 1D or push with variable radius bends make these machines a suitable choice for the kind of aerospace products AMI and AWI produce.

Aerospace supplier AMI is expanding into new markets thanks to its Crippa 980LE all-electric CNC tube bender’s accuracy and productivity.“Our customers typically require parts with complex bends for which OEM drawings no longer exist,” said Heid. “Using our extensive reverse engineering expertise, AWI technicians clone worn or damaged OEM parts using advanced CMM scanning technologies to create bending files that can be loaded directly into the 980LE control. Here again, rapid setup and multistack operation help minimize production lead time even for one-of-a-kind parts.”

The Crippa 980LE is slated to play a major role in AMI’s planned expansion outside the aerospace industry into many others, including medical, rail car, and automotive as well as manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cells, supercomputer coolers, and clean rooms.

“There’s a lot more capacity and range in the Crippa 980LE than we expected,” Heid said. “As a result, we can competitively quote more parts than we ever could before, and that’s exactly what we’re doing to support our expansion plans.”

For more information about Crippa USA LLC, go to, or phone 630-659-7720.

Published Date : 6/6/2016

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