AddisonMckee Develops New 'RidgeLock' Solution for USA Leader in HVAC


28 May 2008

World-leading tube bending and end-forming technology specialists, AddisonMckee, have designed, built and supplied two highly innovative RidgeLock machines for one of America's largest manufacturers of heating, venting and air conditioning products (HVAC).

In a typical domestic or commercial heating system, a heat exchanger is used to transfer heat generated by burning oil or gas to the air for distribution. The heat transfer tubes contained within the system require precise sealing to the heat exchanger panel in order to prevent the escape of gases, and this is normally done by means of a 'RidgeLock'.

In the AddisonMckee RidgeLock process, expandable segmented tooling is inserted into the heat exchanger tubes (bent at 180 degrees into a sheet metal panel) in order to create a rim that acts as a secure lock between the tubes and panel.

For the customer in question, one AddisonMckee RidgeLock machine has been designed to perform locking operations for small inner tubes (1.75"OD x 0.40" wall aluminized mild steel or stainless) and the other machine performs the locking operation on larger outer tubes of 2.25" OD x .040" wall aluminized mild steel or stainless.

Both machines have been designed to hold two sets of tools - one each for the end of the tubes. A roller table located between the two machines assists in conveying the component assemblies.

AddisonMckee RidgeLock machines are designed to perform locking operations by use of a manual set up feature of a micrometer stop nut on the cylinder to control the machine. Tubes are expanded by use of segmented fingers and a tapered mandrel inside the tube to lock the tube to the heat exchanger plate. The heat exchanger assembly being ridge-locked is then progressed manually along the conveyor table between machine cycles.
In the ridge-locking process, the heat exchanger plate is held down by electric magnetics. The operator then positions the tube in an alignment guide that holds the tubes vertically during the forming process. Air cylinders are then activated at the end of the forming cycle to lift the plate assembly off the tools and assist the movement between cycles.

Comments AddisonMckee Director of Global Marketing, Christian Rogiers, "It was especially pleasing to be awarded this significant project by an organization that is, without doubt, a leader in its sector."

"Although people tend to associate our name primarily with leading technologies for tube bending and end-forming across the global automotive sector," he continued, "we are also renowned for providing tube manipulation solutions and consumables for a wide range of sectors. In creating the RidgeLock machines, we have again demonstrated our ability to create proprietary technologies for particularly challenging manufacturing tasks."

About AddisonMckee

2008 winners of Managing Automation magazine's Progressive Manufacturing 50 Awards - a prestigious award based on an organization's ability to use information and automation technologies to transform its business and create a sustainable competitive advantage - AddisonMckee is globally renowned for the design, manufacture and supply of some of the world's finest tube bending and end forming technologies - for increasingly complex automotive, aviation, truck and shipbuilding requirements.

In addition, AddisonMckee also offers highly innovative muffler and catalytic converter assembly solutions, hydraulic press machinery, tube inspection systems, plant automation and complete workcell integration.

In addition to these capabilities, a whole range of tooling and accessory options are also provided, as are comprehensive maintenance and service contracts, training and education programs and financial services. Where applicable, AddisonMckee is also able to offer customers the opportunity of machine rebuilds, refurbishment, upgrades and trade-ins.

From its state-of-the-art manufacturing centers in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada and China, AddisonMckee is committed to providing rapid solutions to market and also regularly assists clients in product prototyping, parts development, small production runs and pre-production sample development.

AddisonMckee is principally owned by WHI Capital Partners (WHICP), a Chicago-based private equity group that invests in middle market, industry-leading companies with solid financial fundamentals and proven management teams. WHICP is an affiliate of William Harris Investors, Inc., a family-based asset management firm founded by Irving B. Harris in 1987.

For further information please contact:
Rachel Thomas - BHL Marketing
E-mail: rachel@bhlmarketing.com
Tel: +44 (0) 1244 851850
Fax: +44 (0) 1244 851888

Christian Rogiers - AddisonMckee
E-mail: crogiers@addisonmckee.com
Tel: +1 513 228 7076
Fax: +1 513 228 7226

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