A shorter than standard pitch for a given tube diameter, pitch being the distance between the crowns of each ball (note: not the gap between the faces of the balls). When the tubing material requires more than normal support after the point of bend because it is thin-wall, soft, or some combination of factors, a close-pitch mandrel assembly is usually the solution. This is because there are a larger number of ball crowns supporting the tube bend over a given length of the arc than with a regular-pitch mandrel assembly.