Challenge: Deformation in Stainless Steel Tube

Challenge: Deformation in Stainless Steel Tube


NineSigma, representing a global leading innovative company, is seeking solution from the global community to address the challenging issue of deformation in SS316L tube during the process of manufacture.

Iron being smelted in a steel mill furnace at 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,732 degrees Fahrenheit). Image credit:, free licence

The seeker, a multinational company, is in the business of manufacturing products catering to multi-sector industrial markets. The company uses machined high grade stainless steel tubes in their products. The client is currently experiencing distortion at the ends of the high grade stainless steel 316L tube during the last stage of machining operation. The machining operation is performed as follows:

  1. The steel is first machined from a solid bar into a tube, using a boring bar.
  2. The tube outer diameter is then finish machined on a lathe, and the inner diameter is honed to final dimension and fine surface finish. 
  3. Later, the tube ends are machined on a lathe to add detail such as threads and O-ring grooves, and in some cases wall thickness is reduced from 13 mm to around 6 mm at this time.

During external diameter machining operation, a centre end plug is in place in the bore of the tube, to align on the lathe. The Tri-lobed deformation has often become apparent upon withdrawal of the end plug after final machining.

The client is therefore seeking solution from organizations having deep domain knowledge in design, material science, metallurgy, manufacturing and failure analysis, who could analyze the problem of Tri-lobed deformation and provide a feasible solution.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by Sep 19, 2021.

Source: NIneSights


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