Pilot Tube Bending & Manufacturing

This project is an example of high volume production of a very large part family. In this case over 100 individual designs. These pilot tubes are intended for use in commercial stoves and ranges, and are composed of galvanized steel tubing, bent to spec with a pilot tip on one end. One of the biggest problems was managing the production of the large number of different parts, though the volume for each is relatively low, the sheer number of designs made finding a cost effective solution a challenge.

We have close working relationships with a number of machine manufacturers; in this case one of them redesigned a 6-axis tube bender to meet our requirements. The modifications allowed us to run right off a roll of tube stock. It also gave us the ability to program different part designs, in essence providing on-demand capabilities, and deliver small lots of parts with short lead times with no setup costs.

The pilot tube tip assembly was another area that required an innovative process redesign. In the marketplace there were only three options to assembly pilot fittings: manual assembly of the compression fitting, brazed or weld, hit the fitting with a hammer to deform it on the pilot tube. None were practical to process for high volume production.

To solve this process issue we redesigned the tip so that it could be locked onto the tube mechanically, we then patented the design. To complete this process we also developed a dedicated system to automate the process. The mechanical locking design tripled the holding strength of the assembly, eliminated all quality issues, and significantly improved production capacity.

For more information about this project, or to talk about your next project, contact us at G & J Steel & Tubing directly.



Pilot Tube Bending & Manufacturing Specificaitons

Project Name & Description

Pilot tip fitting and tube assemblies

Capabilities Applied/Processes

New pilot tip design
Design and build new assembly machine

Develop pre-galvanized material sourcing
Develop new bending equipment design

Equipment Used to Manufacture Part

Pilot tip assembly machine
6 axis CNC tube bender

Material Used

Galvanized carbon steel tubing

Material Finish

Galvanized coated

Industry for Use

Commercial stoves and ranges

In Process Testing/Inspection Performed

Pilot tip pull testing
Galvanized coating testing


500,000 parts