—Sponsored article by FEIN Canadian Power Tool
Considering all the work and skill required to machine pipes, the last thing fabricators want is to be let down by the finish. Surface quality is even more important when the product is to be used as a design element, or as a handrail. But how do fabricators get that sought-after consistent, professional finish?
Sometimes, the job can be done manually, with a strip of sand paper or fleece hand pad. Inexpensive attachments—used on power tools—are another option, says Randy McDonald, national product manager with Fein Canadian Power Tool Company in Mississauga, Ont., adding these approaches are only suitable for shops with light polishing needs.
“If somebody is doing very little pipe but they want to produce a good finish, we have a belt roller attachment you mount onto a spindle and a range of sanding and fleece belts. If you’re only doing a few pieces or just trying to clean up a single part, these attachments work well and provide a good finish when used in conjunction with an infinitely variable speed polisher.”
If polishing is required often though, manual applications or attachable accessories won’t allow employees to keep pace with higher volumes. In these cases, McDonald recommends dedicated pipe polishing tools.
“When they’re doing pipe on a daily basis or finishing and processing handrails, for example, dedicated pipe polishing tools provide an efficient way to get a superior finish, even on difficult curves, bends or closed tube systems being welded together.”
Manual polishing not only takes a lot of time, but the results can be inconsistent. Dedicated polishers, on the other hand, provide a smooth finish throughout the length of the pipe, even around bends, he adds. “You always want the finish to look consistent all the way through.”
Part of that consistency is provided by Fein’s Pipe Polishing Tools, which are designed with constant speed, constant torque and an RPM range ideally suited to the pipe finishing abrasives. “You get no bluing of the material, and no overheating of the material,” McDonald explains.
The RS 10-70 E from Fein, for example, is a pipe polisher for all standard pipes and handrails. It’s ideal for finishing pipes and pipe bends, and efficiently removes oxidation, tarnishing, sands fine welded seams and provides satin and mirror finishes when needed for design.
The sander is small, lightweight and comfortable to use, even in tight spaces, due to the belt arm being able to wrap around the pipe 180 degrees. The RS 10-70 E has ideal belt speeds for efficient use of different grinding, fleece and polishing belts.
Another great option for dedicated pipe polishing is the RS 12-70 E, which has a much larger pipe capacity. It easily maneuvers around tight curves and enables operators to rework ready-fitted handrails.
With infinitely variable speed, the RS 12-70 E is ideal for sanding, satin-finishing and high-gloss polishing. Its flexible sanding belts adapt optimally to even the tightest pipe bends.
For volume-production polishing, Fein’s GRIT GIC and GXC Centreless grinding modules are the best option, says McDonald.
“It’s designed for fabricators that are producing stainless steel tubing or steel tubing every day,” he explains. “They offer large diameter and long length capabilities for higher volume production environments.”
The modules are used in conjunction with the Grit belt grinding machines GI 75 (2H) and GI 150 (2H). Their quick mounting system provides simple retooling without the need of tools. The process speeds of the centreless units are as impressive as the quality of the finish.
With customer satisfaction and the ever-growing focus on quality as a competitive edge, dedicated polishers are a must-have in any fabricating shop where pipes are a core product offering.
FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for 150 years. FEIN Canadian Power Tool Company, located in Mississauga, Ont., provides a range of high-quality power tools and accessories. Visit www.fein.ca for more information. To view other articles on industrial power tool selection, safety and care, see the Technology Showcase.