Tube expanding is the art of cold working the ends of tubes into intimate contact with the metal of the containing tube holes to form a leak proof mechanical seal and/or joint. In other words, it is a mechanical method of establishing a mechanical joint between a tube and a tube hole.
Boiler expanders do not include a mandrel when ordered because it is possible to obtain them with three different types of mandrels depending on the application.
Airetool product engineers have designed an economical, yet durable Firetube boiler tube expander for non-flaring (FTE) applications with 3/8" to 1" thick tube sheets. This unique design increases the expansion range for a given expander and includes a metal roll retainer that keeps the rolls in the expander’s cage when the mandrel is removed. Mandrels are sold separately with choices based on application and space limitations.
The FTF series expanders complement the FTE series boiler expanders but include tube flaring capabilities. This design incorporates a thrust collar for torque controlled tube rolling, roll retainers, and offset flare rolls.
FTC series firetube tube cutters are air cylinder operated to increase productivity. One operator can easily position the cutter in the tube with the aid of a tool balancer. A 2" x 13 gauge tube can be cut in less than ten seconds. Available for 2", 2-1/2", and 3" O.D. tubes with 10 - 14 gauge tube walls.
There are times when the space inside a boiler drum will not allow use of the longer header or drum mandrels. Short series mandrel sets solve this problem by allowing you to expand the tube in multiple steps when space is limited. If you were to take the tapered portion of a header or drum mandrel, cut it in several pieces and add a drive to each section, you would have a short series mandrel set.
Airetool refinery fitting tube expanders are self-feeding, with five expanding rolls which produce uniform tube expansion and tightness throughout the full thickness of the tube fitting. Contact your mdi sales representative for ordering details.
Airetool provides ratchet wrenches and the various accessories needed to expand boiler tubes in even the most complicated and tight configurations, including adapter sleeves, right angle and parallel gear drives, universal joints, and ratchet extensions.
Header Mandrel – This is the longest mandrel that incorporates an extension that allows you to reach through manifolds or header boxes.
Drum Mandrel – This mandrel is used when you are expanding inside the boiler drum and can get to the tube at the end.
Short Series Mandrel Sets – There are times when the space inside a boiler drum will not allow use of the longer header or drum mandrels. Short series mandrel sets solve this problem by allowing you to expand the tube in multiple steps when space is limited. If you were to take the tapered portion of a header or drum mandrel, cut it in several pieces and add a drive to each section, you would have a short series mandrel set.
Rolls – A set of tapered cylindrical parts which are driven by mandrel and contact the tube wall to be expanded. The taper on the rolls is in the reverse direction and one-half the taper of the mandrel if it is a parallel roll expander.
Flare or Bell Rolls – This type roll is added to the back of the cage on boiler or furnace expanders to flare the tube end after it has been expanded.
Cage – This is the expander body or housing since it holds the mandrel and rolls in place. The slots which contain the rolls also provide a feed angle which helps pull the mandrel in to provide expansion of the rolls.
Thrust Assembly – This assembly attaches to the cage and allows adjustment of the expanding depth. The thrust collar will remain stationary against the tube sheet or tube end while the cage, mandrel and rolls expand the tube. A thrust assembly is used on condenser/heat exchanger expanders, some furnace expanders and special boiler expanders.
This information will allow you to select the proper type boiler expander and mandrels.
B-1000 Series Boiler Expanders - The B-1000 series expanders incorporate tube expanding and tube flaring into one tool. They are used when torque control is not desired or where space is limited such as in a small diameter header. Both expanding and flaring rolls are self contained in the cage. The B-1000 series expanders are available for 1 — 4-1/2" O.D. tubes and can accommodate tube sheet thicknesses from 1/2 — 2-3/4". Short series mandrels are also available. A B-1000 series expander can be converted to a B-2000 series by simply adding the thrust mechanism.
B-2000 Series Boiler Expanders - The B-2000 series expanders are the same basic expander as the B-1000 series except that they have an exclusive drift thrust assembly that makes torque control possible. The thrust assembly is adjustable and allows accurate positioning of the expander in the tube in relation to the drum for consistent joint expansion on every tube. The B-2000 series expanders are available for 1 — 4-1/4" O.D. tubes and can accommodate tube sheet thicknesses from 1/2 — 2-3/4".
B-3000 Series Boiler Expanders - Straight roll expander for non-flare fire tube boiler applications. It can be used in conjunction with Airetool B-1000 or B-2000 flare type expanders in thicker tube sheet applications. The B-3000 expanders are available for 1-1/4 — 4-1/4" O.D. tubes and can accommodate drums up to 5-3/8" thick.
The Airetool B-2000 Series boiler tube expander, with its exclusive drift thrust assembly, represents a major advancement in boiler tube expanding. Using a ball bearing, spring loaded drift thrust collar, the B-2000 Series expanders can be accurately positioned in the boiler tube in relation to the drum for consistent joint expansion.
In operation, the initial positioning of the expander in the tube allows the self-feed rolls to draw the expander into the tube and to engage the flaring rolls at the proper point during the operation. The use of either an electric or air driven torque controlled rolling motor with the B-2000 Series expanders produces more uniform flares and very precise tube wall reduction.
The B-2000 accomplishes three unique functions in one operation:
The unique depth adjustable ball bearing drift thrust collar enables the B-2000 Series expander to be positioned into the tube at exactly the same setting every time. Once set, the mandrel is inserted in the expander causing the rolls to be forced outward into contact with the tube I.D., starting the rolling process.
As the mandrel is rotated, the initial rolling of the straight section takes place. As the mandrel rotation is continued, the drift thrust collar stops the expander at its final operating depth in the tube. During this phase the flaring rolls have also moved into their final depth position.
Continued mandrel rotation now will allow the straight rolled area to be finished. At this point the amount of torque required is greatly increased. The torque mechanism in the motor measures the torque and when the set torque is reached the motor automatically shuts off. During this phase the expander being held in place by the thrust collar allows the flare rolls to iron out the end of the tube to a smooth and precisely located flare. After shut-off, reversing the motor will back the expander out of the finished tube while at the same time resetting it for the next tube.
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