Brian McConnell, President
September 2014

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"Typically, these are the costs that determine the success of a capital purchase."
Our unique perspective on Total Cost of Ownership

A manufacturer's decision to purchase new production equipment requires the careful consideration of both the more apparent and the less obvious costs associated with the purchase. Complete analysis of all these cost factors is crucial to determining the true Total Cost of Ownership of a machine. The simplest costs to quantify are the machine's initial purchase price and maintenance costs; more difficult to gauge are the costs and savings associated with productivity, ease of use, environmental issues, machine footprint, quality, and ability to process typically challenging tubing such as small-diameter and aluminum. Typically, these are the costs that determine the success of a capital purchase. OAK's position as both a purchaser and vendor of capital equipment has allowed us to form a unique perspective on the variety of factors involved throughout the entire machine life cycle including acquisition, operation, and eventual recycling.
With its fast production rates, greater ease of use, environmentally-friendly advantages, lower investment costs, reduced machine footprint, improved hairpin quality, and outstanding aluminum and small-diameter tubing processing capabilities, the OAK Triumph Hairpin Bender delivers unprecedented value to heat exchanger component manufacturers. The qualities that distinguish the Triumph from its competition in terms of superior production capacity and lower overall financial and facility investment result in an exceptionally promising Total Cost of Ownership.

OAK Triumph

Productivity Improvements

While the previous OAK Hydraulic Vertical Bend Hairpin Bender has been the industry benchmark for productivity for many years and has demonstrated productivity that is equivalent to or better than any other hairpin bender in the industry, the Triumph exceeds the capabilities of the hydraulic machine in every way. Considering these points, a comparison to the old-style hydraulic machine will also represent an appropriate comparison with competitor benders.

The Triumph's cycle time is consistently faster than that of OAK's previous hydraulic machine - an average of 70% faster for all lengths. (figure 1) Most notably, the Triumph's 4-meter cycle time boasts a 100% increase over the hydraulic machine. Accordingly, the Triumph will continuously process more tubes per cycle than the previous hydraulic machine; these faster cycle times result in more hairpins produced per shift. Smaller-diameter tubing is especially well-suited to the Triumph, which consistently processes eight tubes per cycle for 5-10mm tubes; an increase of 33% compared to the standard six tubes per cycle produced by the hydraulic machine. Simply said, the Triumph's rapid cycle times and greater number of processed tubes per cycle directly boost hairpin production capacity. Evaluation of the Triumph's 70% faster average cycle time together with its 33% increase in tubes per cycle reveals that one Triumph can produce the same number of tubes as two hydraulic machines in the same amount of time. This 2:1 hydraulic VBHB-to-Triumph ratio has a far-reaching impact on many other production variables and operating costs.

Triumph figure1figure 1: The Triumph's cycle time is up to two times faster than OAK's previous hydraulic machine.

figure 2: Quicker hairpin length change

Triumph figure2OAK engineers designed the Triumph with quick hairpin length change and tooling changeover as some of their primary objectives. Consequently, the Triumph's 30-second maximum length change is considerably faster than the previous OAK machine's 20-minutes, which also included time devoted to making necessary trial-and-error adjustments. (figure 2) Visit for a video demonstrating a Triumph length change that spans just 13 seconds. Additionally, the Triumph's length change does not require any adjustments, unlike competitors' benders which sometimes claim a shorter change time that does not include time needed to make quality adjustments. Length change may often be performed several times per day, resulting in a corresponding number of production interruptions during which no hairpins are produced. Assuming a hairpin bender requires length changes three times per shift, the Triumph will gain the manufacturer up to one hour of production time per day compared to the hydraulic machine. A facility that runs one eight-hour shift per day will realize significant gains in production; additional length changes and shifts will generate even greater production gains.

Tooling changeover is another aspect in which the Triumph outperforms previous hairpin benders. Because the Triumph employs less tooling and utilizes a quicker insert-style design, a full tooling changeover on a Triumph has been trimmed to less than one hour, compared to three hours on the hydraulic machine. (figure 3) A facility that changes tooling on a Triumph one time per week will gain two additional hours of production each week when compared to the hydraulic machine.Triumph figure3

figure 3: Full tooling changeover in less than an hour

Furthermore, manufacturers sometimes elect to dedicate a hairpin bender to producing hairpins of one specific diameter due to the amount of time it takes to change tooling. Because of this, the dedicated machine may be fulfilling only a small portion of its available capacity. The Triumph's fast tooling changeover times may render machine dedication unnecessary, saving valuable factory floor space, and allowing flexibility for the bender to produce what is needed at the time.
The Triumph's fast cycle times and higher capacity are augmented by the improved changeover processes that decrease machine downtime. Not only does the Triumph produce more hairpins at a greater rate, but a machine with decreased downtime will experience a corresponding increase in operation time that will result in even more hairpin production.



figure 4: Stretch Straightening reduces perishable tooling consumption

Triumph figure4The Triumph exhibits many features that contribute to a greater ease of use and operation, encouraging a more productive and satisfied operator. The Triumph's implementation of stretch-straightening has eliminated straightening rollers; straightening rollers typically required continual adjustment when changing tubing suppliers, coils, or tube outside diameter (OD), causing more machine downtime. (figure 4) The Triumph's stretch-straightening system requires less adjustment and results in less machine downtime and reduced variation in straightening. Also eliminated by the Triumph are stripper tubes and end-of-feed mechanisms, further reducing the number of machine parts and simplifying tooling changeover. Additionally, the Triumph has eliminated feed belts and replaced them with a clamped hitch-feed system, which has eliminated tube slippage. By removing of these high-wear and high-maintenance items, the Triumph delivers a significant reduction in perishable tooling and wear-item consumption, further reducing ongoing operating costs and resulting in less machine downtime and more production.

Another important feature of the Triumph is its tube break-away system. (figure 5) This allows tubing to break away if feeding resistance is encountered, preventing tubing from being forced forward and getting caught in tooling, as was possible with the hydraulic machine. The Triumph's break-away system utilizes open-topped plastic tube guides that allow the tube to move upward and out of the guide if it meets resistance. After shifting the tube upward, the machine is stopped. This design protects tooling from being damaged and prevents tubing from becoming entangled inside the machine, making clearing out the defective tubing easier and allowing production to begin sooner. Moreover, the tube break-away feature allows the machine operator more flexibility to perform other tasks during hairpin production since the machine will simply stop if a resistance problem is detected.

Triumph figure5

figure 5: New tube break-away significantly reduces the need to remove tubing from the tooling and makes re-lacing much quicker

The Triumph's elimination of several previously problematic processes that were standard on the hydraulic machines and the addition of the break-away system has resulted in a machine that is operated in a better production environment with fewer headaches and less downtime and allows the operator to be more efficient and productive.



The Triumph's superior energy efficiency results in a lower utility cost per machine, as evidenced by its 6 kW power usage, compared to the hydraulic machine's 7.8 kW. These savings are even further augmented by the Triumph's ability to produce twice the number of hairpins as one hydraulic machines, making it possible to run just one machine instead of two. The Triumph's lower power consumption is due to the reduction of hydraulic component usage and the implementation of electric components that are more efficient. This also contributes to a cleaner-running machine since previous hydraulic machines employed oil pans that would collect leaking hydraulic fluid. The reduction in hydraulic components leads to less Oil-Dri usage, lower housekeeping costs, and fewer safety risks. Again, these factors all contribute to a better work environment and a more satisfied machine operator who is better equipped to focus on being productive.



figure 6: 30% less floor space than previous hydraulic machine.

Triumph figure6

Factory floor space is another valuable resource that deserves consideration when purchasing a new machine. Efficient management of machine footprints may one day determine whether a facility has the space to expand production or if it must invest in additional structures to create more floor space. Sometimes, a company may not even have the option to expand due to existing property constraints. The Short-Feed Triumph for 1-meter hairpins occupies 30% less floor space than the equivalent hydraulic machine; the Long-Feed Triumph for 4-meter hairpins also offers a comparable reduction. (figure 6) Moreover, the Triumph also boasts a narrower width than other hairpin benders, resulting in even greater floor space savings. Similar to the reduced costs brought about by ease of use and lower power consumption, floor space savings also compounds the production rate advantages already achieved by the Triumph. Because the Triumph produces the same number of hairpins as two hydraulic machines, total floor space savings is closer to 65%.



A significant quality improvement was achieved by the Triumph's redesigned process for producing a hairpin, which differs from that of the old hydraulic machine since the tubes produced on a Triumph are bent before cutting to length. On the hydraulic machine, the tubes are bent after they are cut to length. This creates a variation from tube to tube, causing "peg leg", or hairpin leg length discrepancy. As the tube is bent on a Triumph, the leg inside the boom is clamped and prevented from moving. The other leg is free to move during the bend, then is cut to accurate length after the bend is completed. This process has almost eliminated "peg-leg" accuracy issues, resulting in reduced variation, decreased scrap, and improvement in downstream expansion and brazing processes.
Tube stretch-straightening is another advantageous feature of the Triumph. This revolutionary technique replaced the earlier method of using straightening rollers to straighten tubes. In addition to producing straighter, more uniform, and more accurate hairpins, stretch-straightened tubes are not as work-hardened as conventionally roller-straightened tubes, reducing downstream expansion difficulties. Additionally, stretch-straightened tubes are easier to lace into fins, further improving success of downstream processes.


"Manufacturers working with aluminum tubing will especially benefit from the Triumph."



Manufacturers working with aluminum tubing will especially benefit from the Triumph. Aluminum tubing is characterized by thick walls that use higher clamping and hydraulic pressures, thus allowing faster clamping and mandrel movement. Additionally, the elimination of feed belts on the Triumph eliminates slipping and belt friction due to its clamped hitch-feed system employed during feeding and straightening. This also prevents issues associated with abrasive aluminum oxide buildup on tooling, which means there is less downtime due to cleaning and maintenance. Preventing slipping and thus eliminating aluminum oxide residue results in fewer production issues, less downtime, and reduced maintenance costs.
In our experience, conventional hydraulic machines are only ever able to process four aluminum tubes at one time; however, because of its frictionless clamped hitch-feed system, the Triumph can process up to eight.
So, taking into account the Triumph's superior aluminum processing capability and its faster production speed and other improvements, the Triumph's output surges to three times greater than that of hydraulic machines, making it the most ideal option for accurate and high-quality aluminum hairpin production.


Small-diameter (5mm to 7mm) hairpin production is exceptionally compatible with the Triumph, which delivers the accuracy and precision that is crucial to small-diameter coil production. A common issue with processing small-diameter tubing on a hydraulic machine is that in order to have enough traction for the feed belts to feed the tubing quickly, the pressure pads must be adjusted to a point where they would crush the fragile tubing. Compensating for this issue leads to slippage in the feed system for small diameter tubing. However, the Triumph's smooth-bore clamped hitch-feed system eliminates these feed belts and therefore abolishes traction problems. Furthermore, previous hydraulic machines offered very little structural support for the extremely small mandrel rods. Because the mandrel rods are so small for 5mm tubing, they can kink or break easily if there is any feed resistance. The Triumph's mandrel rods are less likely to break because they are supported throughout their entire length via tubed enclosure, reducing both tooling replacement costs and downtime. Small-diameter tubing's thin-walled structure makes it much more susceptible to small kinks that can more easily cause feed resistance that will trigger tube blockage. As with larger-diameter tubing, the Triumph's break-away system is again an important feature, even more so with small-diameter tubing due to the ease with which slightly kinked tubing can become jammed. Additionally, the consistent leg-lengths and accurately stretch-straightened hairpins produced by the Triumph are especially vital to small-diameter coil production.



Although all manufacturers operate with varying production requirements and strategies, a generalized analysis on machine payback, measured by cost per hairpin produced, can be illustrated using basic ongoing production cost assumptions. These assumptions include direct costs such as utilities, maintenance, spare parts, lubrication, operator, re-work and recycling costs. Indirect costs must also be assumed and include those associated with length and tooling changeover time, floor space savings, and overall downtime. When combined with the Triumph's fast cycle rates and superior quality, these ongoing costs lead to an overall cost per hairpin that is significantly less than that of hairpins produced on competing machines, further resulting in a shorter machine payback time period and exceptional return on investment.
The productivity improvements accomplished by the Triumph result in higher production capacity and less machine downtime. Fewer production issues and lower maintenance costs have arisen from the Triumph's elimination of previously problematic feeding and straightening methods and operators are now able to devote more attention to other tasks thanks to the new break-away system. Additionally, the Triumph's innovative stretch-straightening and bend process has contributed to significant quality gains. Environmentally-friendly improvements focused on lower energy and hydraulic fluid consumption have fostered a safer and cleaner work environment, further improving operator satisfaction. The Triumph's updated modular design has led to shorter lead times while occupying a significantly smaller footprint than competing machines. Furthermore, many of the Triumph's improvements also contribute to higher-quality aluminum and small-diameter hairpin production. Assessment of these advantages reveals that the Triumph provides outstanding value to hairpin producers.

The Triumph's advantages have had broad positive effects and will benefit many different roles in a manufacturing environment. For instance, machine operators will appreciate its ease of use, downstream assemblers will welcome its consistently high-quality hairpins, engineers will appreciate the high production capacity, and purchasing directors and CFOs will value its smaller footprint and lower cost per hairpin.

Close examination of a manufacturer's specific production variables will show the true Total Cost of Ownership of a hairpin bender over time, allowing for an in-depth look at the whole picture of production based on the life of the machine. Scrutiny of these cost factors may yield surprising results, even if comparing the Triumph to a competitor's machine that boasts a lower up-front price. It is important to understand that a hairpin bender with a low purchase price may ultimately become very expensive because of hidden costs associated with the previously discussed points. OAK Sales Engineers can work with any customer to perform a detailed analysis of their production needs to provide a calculated, objective model of Total Cost of Ownership.


 *Ongoing costs include: Direct costs (Utility costs, maintenance costs, spare parts/lubrication cost, operator costs, scrap & rework costs)
Indirect costs (Length change time, tooling changeover time, floor space, and overall down-time)

Evaluate your Annual Costs

All too often, buyers forget to include the opportunity costs of machine downtime, training, or other productivity losses.

Have you considered all of the costs involved with purchasing a hairpin bender?


Triumph Cost Calculator

This calculator is designed to allow you to determine your cost per hairpin produced based on some important production inputs. By entering details about your production environment, schedule, and workload, you can compare the cost per hairpin produced by Burr Oak Tool's Triumph hairpin bender to that of two competing hairpin benders.