Unison Ltd., Scarborough, UK, a supplier of all electric tube bending machines, has appointed Tube Equipment Corp. (ITEC), Montreal, QC, as its new sales and service partner in Canada.
After more than a decade of operations in North America, Unison views ITEC, with its focus on tube fabrication and its long experience in providing solutions for tubular parts manufacturing, as the ideal partner to support its existing customer base and help take its business forward. ITEC has support offices in Montreal, Chicago and Austin.
“ITEC was founded to serve the tube bending market, to represent a European manufacturer of hydraulic machines,” says Brian Julien of ITEC. “We have expanded the business to offer a comprehensive range of tube fabrication machinery, and now the addition of the Unison product range gives us the absolute best in all-electric servomotor-actuated tube bending technology.”
He adds that “no other tube bending machine manufacturer has the length of experience that Unison has in all-electric bending technology, and no other manufacturer has done as much as Unison has to bring this technology to larger-diameter tube and pipe manipulation applications. With the current resurgence of US based manufacturing, we believe ITEC now offers the most appropriate and efficient solutions for any manufacturing requirement.”
Unison claims it is a unique player in the all-electric tube bending market. It says it produced the world’s first all-electric benders in the early 1990s, following a long history of developing control and operator interfaces for other tube bending equipment manufacturers. The company has consistently developed all-electric bending technology for larger tube and pipe sizes, and now offers a uniquely-broad machine range which caters for tube and pipe manipulation for diameters from less than an inch up to nine inches in diameter. Its most recent innovation – an all-electric machine capable of bending outside diameters up to nine inches, was developed at the request of a US shipyard client. The company has been active in the US market since 1999.
“From the very start of our involvement in making machines, Unison has always had a slightly different philosophy to a lot of other machine makers. We do not try to build standard machines aimed at the highest volume markets. Instead, we choose to produce optimized manufacturing solutions for individual clients,” says Alan Pickering, CEO of Unison. “This ethos is shared by ITEC, who have built a very substantial customer base around an analytical business model that delivers tube manufacturing solutions. In ITEC we have found the support partner that will enhance our US service and support and help to take our business to the next level.”
“We do not try to fit a standard machine into any sales opportunity,” adds Brian Julien. “Virtually every tube bending machine we have ever sold has been customized in some way, to optimize it for the client’s needs. We help users to get the best out of any new machine investment, via our in-depth knowledge of the application, and our ability to modify aspects by means such as special tooling, more axes of control, optimizing working heights for a particular process or to avoid collision, etc.”
ITEC sees a great deal of opportunity in the current North American market for Unison all-electric tube benders. A large portion of North American manufacturers are predicting strong growth. A lot of reshoring is taking place. However, one of the major challenges for US manufacturers in metalworking sectors is the shortage of skilled labour. Automating processes and reducing labour content are critical to the future success of many North American factories. Unison’s all-electric machines offer the best possible support in this area. The need for skilled labour is reduced considerably as machines are set up for different batches by recalling the part-specific program and settings from the operating software. Unison also has one of the broadest suites of software tools on the tube bending market today – which further means that a host of traditional skilled and time-intensive tasks from design and manufacture through to final inspection can now be performed automatically.
“The shortage of skilled tube bending machine operators is probably the most common challenge we encounter,” adds Julien. “All-electric tube bending machines are without doubt the answer to this situation. Add to this the customization potential and application support available from the combined Unison and ITEC organizations, and we believe that we can offer North American users the fastest and highest possible payback on any machine investment.”