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Monthly archive for March 2014

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

Though it is a relative newcomer, when compared side-by-side with the conventional process of stamping, tube hydroforming is quickly becoming a formidable technique for the automotive industry’s various uses and applications, among others.

But what is it about tube hydroforming that makes its quality superior to older techniques? The answer is in 5 aspects:

1. Stronger Result

After the production process is complete, a tube-shaped hydro formed part can support more weight, especially when compared to metal stamped parts. This remains true even when metal stamped parts are welded together in tube shapes. Further, less welds means a sturdier product that is less likely to fail under stress and pressure.

2. Weight Reduction

The finished tube hydroformed part or component weighs significantly less than its metal stamped counterparts. This makes it a prime candidate for industries (like the automobile industry) who seek fabrications that result in a product with a less density.

3. Cost-Effective

Tube hydroformed products cost less overall by comparison as well. Not just in terms of what its material consists of, but also in regards to how much scrap waste it creates, and manpower it takes to manufacture a hydroformed part. This cost is passed on to all parties involved in the hydroformed process.

4. Becoming Widely Used

While it is certain that the automobile industry has taken a tight hold upon tube hydroforming, it’s uses and benefits have been adapted in many markets and in multiple industries. Of late, bicycle manufacturing has picked up on the positive results from tube hydroforming, and have been producing lighter and stronger bicycles for use in leisure activities, and professional ventures.

5. The Future is Hydroforming

Over the last 15 years, tube hydroforming has gone from a relatively unknown fabrication process relegated to a small sector of manufacturers, to an engineering and a developing dream with wide variants and even wider uses. The limits of tube hydroforming have been pushed far past that of older techniques, like metal stamping, and continue to be used in new and exciting ways that many thought were not possible.

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History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming has been one of the most cost effective methods of forming and shaping metals for decades. Several variations of hydroforming methods have come about over the years, each serving a different purpose.

In tube hydroforming, there are two widely recognized practices; high pressure and low pressure. During the high pressure process, the tube to be shaped is enclosed in a die before pressurization begins. Previously known as the Variform process, the low pressure method starts by the tube being pressurized to a pre-determined volume during the closing of the die. The tube is held in place and sealed at both ends by axial punches. The axials on both sides are moveable, this movement being required in the process to provide axial compression, and to feed material towards the center of the tube. In both methods, hydrolic fluid is pushed into the tube through one of the punches, increasing the pressure within until the tube expands outwards and the desired shape is reached.

Historically, the tube hydroforming process was patented in the 50’s. However, it wasn’t until the 70’s that the process was widely used in an industrial scale. Back then, it was used for the production of large T-shaped joints for the oil and gas industry. Today, tube hydroforming is an important part in the automotive industry where many important applications can be found. Tube hydroforming is also the method of choice for the tubular bodies of bicycles, and the various components of motorcycles.

Since its inception in the 50’s tube hydroforming has been an essential part of the manufacturing industry. If you would like to know more about hydroforming and it’s variations, feel free to visit our website or contact us.