Monthly archive for October 2013

Tube Hydroforming White Paper

Tube Hydroforming White Paper

 

Tube hydroforming is at the heart of the process that enables modern-day life to proceed more efficiently. From the water piping systems of local utilities to the cars we drive and bikes we ride, tube hydroforming is the process that allows the efficient creation of complex shapes with minimal waste in modern life. So what exactly is tube hydroforming?

Hydroforming Explained

As technology advances, businesses, government agencies, and utility providers around the world seek out the most cost-effective way to obtain the materials needed for piping, rail systems, and car parts (to name a few industries) while ensuring the products received still meet stringent requirements for strength and structural integrity. This is where hydroforming comes into play.

Hydroforming is a process that takes ductile metals, such as aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and other low alloy steels, and transforms them into the shapes needed by various industries. The process is conducted by fitting these metals into preformed dies or molds and reshaping them with the help of high pressure hydraulics.

For instance, when a piece of copper piping needs to be molded to a particular shape and still maintain a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, hydroforming is used. The copper piping would be placed inside a forming die with the desired mold shape for the end product. The copper tube is then inflated with high pressure hydraulic fluids from the open ends that force it to conform to the new shape of the mold.

The hydraulic fluid forces the expansion or alteration of the tube until it fits into the desired mold. Hydroforming is done with all metals that can be reshaped at room temperature, and is capable of achieving complex yet strong molded shapes in a much more cost-effective manner than other stamping or welding processes.

Evolution of Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming was born out of the deficiencies of older metal forming processes. The first patent for a modern version of hydroforming was filed with the U.S. Patent Office in July 1952 (and later issued in 1955) by Fred Leuthesser Jr. and John Fox of the Schaible Company in Cincinnati, Ohio.

To read the full article, down load our Tube Hydroforming White Paper here:

http://vptag.wufoo.com/forms/m7x4z5/

Tubular Hydroforming is the Way Forward

Tubular Hydroforming is the Way Forward

Tube hydro-forming is a concept in the metal fabrication industry that has been well-known for more than three decades. However, in the past years this method has only been effective in the production of a limited amount of products. Today, tubular hydroforming allows for mass production and a wide range of shapes.

The automotive industry is one of those that have taken advantage of this technological advancement to replace the ancient stamping method. The internal hydraulic pressure that this technology utilizes makes it possible for metals to bend slightly or be straightened effortlessly. Components such as space frames, engine cradles and other parts can be produced in plenty.

One of the features that give tubular hydroforming a competitive edge in the automotive market is the ability for light-weight equipment to be produced. The recent hydro-formed components utilize steel and aluminum, which are featured as the lightest and durable metals. With this advancement, manufactures can also be able to customize wall thickness of the outputs.

According to The Fabricator, “Tube hydroforming allows engineers to optimize their designs through cross sectional reshaping and perimeter expansion.” This means that scrap metal is reduced because one can set the system to cut the exact size of pieces they need. In turn, it reduces the cost of production for firms.

The components produced using these methods are of high quality. There is a tolerance for tight dimensions and spring backs. These characteristics are achieved through the extensive elongation of the metal beyond its yield point. Prevention of spring backs and tight tolerance translate to mean that pieces are strongly joined, and this leads to increased structural strength and stiffness of the products. To the consumer, this is vital as it guarantees a longer life of the vehicles they purchase.

To address matters of friction within the hydro-forming equipment, one needs to select the right lubricant. The parameters that one should contemplate about include the distance involved in the part to be produced, the internal pressure and the sliding velocity of the machine. Commonly applied lubricants are oils, waxes and any other lubricant that is free of polluting elements such as debris.

The application of the tubular hydro-forming technology is evident in the BMW5, which has a hyrdo-formed aluminum rear axle. This is a production technique that will see many firms achieve their production volume goals. For an intensive and deeper understanding of how tubular hydro-forming can transform your business, contact us.

Hydroformed Components: New Metals on the Market

Hydroformed Components: New Metals on the Market

There has been recent news about hydroforming bringing titanium to the masses. Until recently, it was difficult to use titanium on a commercial scale because of the cost as compared to the more affordable but weaker alternatives such as stainless steel. Hydroforming has pioneered cost saving methods to take advantage of titanium and its benefits.

But titanium isn’t the only alloy that has advantages for hydroformed components. Kinesium is a relatively new alloy that holds great potential by using the favorable aspects of both titanium and aluminum:

  • Kinesium is 25% stronger than 7005 series aluminum
  • The greater concentration of titanium allows for improved hardness and tensile strength
  • Kinesium is lightweight, partially because of the aluminum, but also because the greater strength allows for a thinner wall thickness in tubing
  • Kinesium is very affordable as an alloy because of its aluminum content

The company who created Kinesium, Kinesis, was specifically testing for an alloy that could make better bicycle frames. The innovation and opportunities provided by hydroforming have allowed this company to expand the possibilities of this alloy. The use of hydroforming also allowed Kinesis to create a shape that can withstand stresses experience by high performance bikes:

 

“Our Hydroformed tube shapes are designed to increase the effective strength of the frame by distributing stresses over a broad section of the tubes, instead of allowing them to be concentrated in small areas… The Hydroformed gussets and multi-section tube shapes are achieved with virtually no added weight.” (Kinesis UK)

 

For cyclists, hydroformed components made of Kinesium mean cost-effective and higher quality bicycle frames. For the industry, hydroformed kinesium offers a lightweight yet incredibly strong alternative for parts with complex geometries that can stand up to more stress than traditional metals and traditional metal stamping. The future is bright for other commercial uses, from the automotive to more personal uses around the household.

Hydroforming is taking the lead on innovative uses for new alloys. To learn more about hydroforming and about how to exercise its capabilities, please contact us.