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Monthly archive for June 2014

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

There has been a significant growth in hydroforming, as workers in the automotive industry are taking steps back to examine all of their options. The stepping back process involves examining all of the available options in an effort to find an affordable and efficient process. Tube hydroforming can produce much stronger components than the traditional methods. Tube hydroforming has been around for a significant number of years, but the usage has been mainly for simple shapes.

Tube hydroforming involves expanding the metal tubes into a certain shape. The shape is formed by using two die halves. When the parts are created using this kind of method, parts are more efficient because you the welding process will be eliminated. Parts that are created with this method will have a significant number of benefits, such as:

  • Part reduction
  • Weight reduction
  • Flexibility in the design/engineering
  • Seamless bonding
  • Increase in the strength of the parts
  • The ability to have better quality surfaces
  • Bending rigidity
  • Overall quality in the parts/Class A finishing

Most of the attention that is brought up during hydroforming is the focus on strength and weight, as well as the reduction of parts being used. In many cases, hydroforming can be the only method used to create a special geometry. It is expected for tubes support to load strongly and smoothly than the stamp sheets. Designers and engineers are figuring out when to apply tube hydroforming. As a result, new ideas and capabilities are being put together. Hydroforming will continue to be used to create more parts as the improvement of design options continues.

The high-profile applications have been used in the automotive industry because the benefits from tube hydroforming are highly value to vehicles. However, tube hydroforming can be used in any kind of industry for a number of different structural applications. When you change from your previous method to tube hydroforming, you will get great benefits that will be worth the switch.

Determining when to use tube hydroforming will not be easy, but at the right time your company can improve its performance and remain in the competitive automotive industry race.

For more on tube hydroforming, contact us.

Commom Tube Hydroformed Household Fixtures

Commom Tube Hydroformed Household Fixtures

By now, you have no doubt heard of or experienced hydroforming first hand. But in some cases you may not have known it. That’s because hydroforming isn’t just limited to industrial sectors or even just to car manufacturers. It’s more than that. It is a part of our everyday lives.

In fact, there are numerous items that you use regularly around your home that have been engineered, designed, and manufactured by the tube hydroformed technique.

Let’s take a tour around your house in search of common hydroformed components.

Plumbing Fixtures

Ever wonder how they get that sleek, smooth look of a classy and shiny faucet? You guessed it. Hydroforming. Those ergonomically-designed faucets in your kitchen and bathroom, and the ones that you see at your hardware store, were manufactured using the hydroforming technique.

But with plumbing, it isn’t just limited to what you can see. The hydroforming technique has also lent its capable hand to under-counter plumbing fixtures as well. Like copper fittings, elbows, bends, and so on. A hydroformed plumbing fixture means that they are stronger, and that with fewer pieces working together to hold a watertight seal, that they will last much longer as well (with no leaks).

Appliance Fixtures

Your kitchen is a hotbed for hydroformed products. On your stoves and refrigerators are handles. Handles that are smooth and match your appliances perfectly, both in function and in form. In most of the cases, those handles are a hydroformed product, crafted with that particular appliance in mind.

To spot one, simply look for a bend. If it is graceful and fluid then your appliance’s handle was achieved by this one-of-a-kind process (the list of major brands that feature these handles is extensive).

Furnaces/HVAC

Moving down to your basement, this tour ends at your furnace. Did hydroforming craft your entire furnace? No. But it is entirely possible that some of the most important parts (like inlet covers and outflow fixtures, both of which allow for warm and cold air to flow through your home) were made using the tube hydroformed process.

For more information on hydroforming and all of its processes and products, please contact us any time.

American Hydroformers Laser Cutting Applications

American Hydroformers Laser Cutting Applications

In terms of material processing here at American Hydroformers, laser cutting is one of the many applications in use. It allows us to quickly and easily cut flat-sheet material in addition to piping and structural materials.

Because laser cutting is one of the most a state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies used in industrial metal forming techniques, we can achieve a high-quality surface finish that is unmatched by other cutting techniques.

Type of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting can be broken into three types, two of which work the same:

  • CO2 lasers, like fast axial flow, slow axial flow, transverse flow, and slab. This type of laser cutting is normally used in boring, engraving, and straight cutting. CO2 lasers work when electric is “pumped” through a gas mix or radio frequency (DF-excited and RF-excited, respectively).
  • Neodymium (Nd) and neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Nd-YAG) lasers, which are similar in style, but differ in overall application. Nd is mostly used for boring because of its high energy and its low rate of repetition. Whereas the Nd-YAG laser is used when a very-high power is needed. Both can also be used in welding.

Laser Cutting Advantages

The advantages to laser cutting versus something like plasma cutting are numerous. They include:

  • Reduced contamination of workpieces due to a lack of a cutting edge which, in turn, has the potential to become contaminated by the material it’s cutting.
  • Increased precision because a laser beam can not wear.
  • Because lasers have a lower “heat-affected zone,” the chance of warping the material is lessened dramatically.
  • The ability to cut materials with precision that may not have been able to cut previously due to their hardness and thickness.

Currently, AHI emplyes 3 different laser cells.  We operate 2 3-dimensional 5-axis lasers and one Trumpf sheet laser cutter.

For more information on hydroforming, laser cutting, and other metal fabricating solutions, please contact us any time.

New Vehicles That Have Benefited from Hydroforming

New Vehicles That Have Benefited from Hydroforming

By now, you know that hydroforming is one of the most innovative and ground-breaking methods used to manufacture. Its meteoric rise to greatness has been documented by its progress to redefine how industries from all over the world produce. Something that can be seen most obviously in the automobile industry, where the hydroforming of parts has revolutionized everything from headliners to frames.

So in light of all of the modern uses of hydroforming, we thought we’d show you a few new vehicles that have benefited from hydroformed parts across the world.

2014 GMC Sierra HD: As GMC’s now “broadest truck,” engineers redesigned the Sierra HD with a huge, road-hugging wheelbase, wider front and rear tracks, and a powerful Vortec 6.0L V8 engine. But most impressive to us is the frame. The rigid design and use of high strength steel and a hydroformed front section for added lightness, makes the Sierra first in its class in towing capacity.

2015 Ford F-150: Not to be outdone by General Motors, Ford’s new F-150 aims to overtake the light truck industry by featuring, perhaps, the lightest constructed frame and body ever. Here’s how: the body, aluminum (first of its kind); parts of the frame, hydroformed for weight reduction. The new F-150 is still in pre-production, but engineers say there should be no delay on its release.

Ferrari LaFerrari F-12: For your hypercar enthusiasts, the latest from Ferrari offers throttle beyond your dreams: 950 horsepower. Oh, and the thing we’re proud of most, a hydroformed exhaust. A feature that no doubt gives the Italian hypercar less weight to contend with as it hurls itself around a track at 120 mph. Or as one writer said:

The noise, the excitement, the sheer, blistering speed, the spread of ability in being so usable on the road and such a missile on track. The LaFerrari is a triumph.

And hydroforming played a part.

For more information on hydroforming, and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us any time.