Tube-Bending Lubrication: Material & Tooling Compatibility

Before starting new processes or taking on new jobs—one should consider the metal materials the tube is made from and the tooling is constructed of. The lubrication demands of one metal substrate compared to another may be very different.
Zinc-coated or aluminum –coated tube substrates would require consideration be given to the comparatively soft and gummy surface nature of those tube stocks. Improper lubricant selection can result in large amounts of pick-up on tooling—contributing to excessive scoring/galling, tool wear and higher scrap rates.

Aluminum-bronze mandrels and wipers may be preferable for certain substrates whereas coated/hard-chromed steel mandrels and wipers may be recommended for other, specific substrates. Just as certain tooling materials can be preferred for tube-bending applications—different types of bending lubricants can behave more preferably on one substrate versus another.

Be sure to discuss all of your tooling and tube specifications with your lubricant supplier to help optimize your chances of success. Bending lubricant selection doesn’t just end with these considerations—it’s only the beginning.