Monthly archive for January 2015

AHI Discusses Diode Laser Welding in Tube Production

AHI Discusses Diode Laser Welding in Tube Production

When one improves upon already top-notch engine and car parts (and the process therein), the results are something that most people wouldn’t expect. This is applicable for any advancement in production. Updated technology makes huge improvements in manufacturing.

We here at American Hydroformers love new technology. We respect and revere those who innovate and adapt, those who have an expanded vision to take something that works well and make it even better. There is something greater that can be said for people who take an existing idea and improve on it. They are pioneers.

Take the recent advancement in laser welding, how it has helped tube production, hydroforming, and how it has aided in making better parts and lighter automobiles by producing continuously welded tubes.

European company Plimet has taken a conventional way of welding, induction welding, and improved its completion rate and reduced its heat transfer, while exhibiting a drastic decrease in energy output.

Currently, laser welding machines are being used and they are becoming a respected alternative. Plimet has been using CO2 laser welding machines for several years with good results, as weld seam quality has increased rapidly. Welding speed over 10m/min can be achieved and the process stability is comparable to the robust induction systems.

The 8.5kW fiber-guided diode laser being used also uses less power than the traditional induction method, which traditionally uses a CO2 laser.

Further, the diode laser can work with larger areas, allow for higher tube tolerance, and brings a much stabler end product result.

As tests have proven, the tube durability and weld seam quality can expand to 20-percent of its diameter without cracking. Further, there is no spatter inside the tube. All advancements, all positive.

This process, which was recently adopted into Plimet’s production line in their European plants, is currently available to consumers. It offers high quality, low-cost, and a reduced running cost.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

Though friction stir welding is a relatively new technology, it is making waves in just about every industry that chooses to adopt and use it. Most notably, perhaps, is the car industry.

Welding in a car plant has moved at breakneck speed in the last 50 years. As the venerable hand-welder was replaced by robotic arms in the mid-century, soon the automobile production line (perfected by Henry Ford nearly a century ago) will be replaced with the soft hum of friction, as two materials are bonded together with a sturdy and “miraculous” bond.

As an article from Car and Driver says:

FSW is a solid-state weld involving no molten metal. Heat generated by pressure and friction is all that’s needed to ensure a strong metal bond.

Additional benefits of friction stir welding are numerous:

Easily bond dissimilar metals together. Even if one is steel while the other is aluminum.

The time it takes is drastically reduced. For example, the simple process FSW makes out of welding two, different metals, would have taken hours longer with fusion welding.

 It’s a safer process. With fusion welding, there are sparks, molten heat, and a need for protective clothing. Not so with FSW. Because as the die rotates atop the seam with applied, consistent pressure, the heat bonds them without sparks or concern for safety.

A lighter weld that adds no extra mass. Unlike fusion welding, which adds metal filler (e.g. unnecessary weight), FSW adds nothing. Which, if one was to argue it, actually reduces the weight of the finished product.

Friction stir welding will no doubt begin to overtake traditional means of welding in ever manufacturing industry over the next decade, just as it did in the aerospace world. We’re excited to see how this burgeoning new way to bond materials becomes the new standard.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact us anytime.

The Benefits Of Hydroforming

The Benefits Of Hydroforming

The process of hydroforming has been kicked around the manufacturing industry for quite some time. The process involves forming ductile metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and low allow steel into complex shapes by the use of fluid and pressure.

The application of evenly distributed pressure over the single sheet of metal or through a tube results in components with a number of benefits over their traditionally manufactured counterparts. Some benefits of hydroforming include:

Superior Surface Quality

Because the sheet of metal being pressed never comes into contact with actual tooling equipment, the chances of structural and surface damage are drastically reduced.

Lightweight Items

Components manufactured via hydroforming exhibit superior strength to weight ratio. In addition, complex shapes can be created with all of their walls at a more uniform thickness than what could previously be achieved.

Versatility of Materials

This process allows for the use of any ductile metals to be hydroformed. Regardless of if it’s sheets of copper, brass, aluminum, titan, or steel, optimum deformation levels can always be reached. The thickness of the sheets to be formed can range anywhere from 0.05mm to 6mm. Hydroforming is also superior at forming thin sheets over other traditional forming methods.

Manufacturing Savings

Because the hydroforming process does not require the use of guide way systems or hold-down device, the process saves quite a sum of money. Combine this with the fact that hydroforming generates very little waste from the process and the fact that tooling costs are cut in half due to only needing the negative molding tool. The result is a manufacturing process which drastically cuts back on manufacturing time and production costs. Additionally, complex shapes can often be created using one machine, which negates the necessity for more machinery to be running.

It’s for these reasons that it’s no wonder the benefits of hydroforming components are growing in popularity in the automotive industry; specifically for racing vehicles. They are also commonly seen being used for machinery parts, and in the aerospace industry. If you would like to learn more about hydroforming, we welcome you to visit our website. Additionally, if you would like to ask us a question directly feel free to contact us.

Hydroformed Components Make Trucks Stronger, Faster, and Better

Hydroformed Components Make Trucks Stronger, Faster, and Better

We’ve talked in length before about how hydroformed components used in the automobile industry have helped to change the entire process.

Every few months or so, we like to update our readers on some vehicles that have reaped the most benefit from hydroforming. We do this for several reasons, but most of all we are proud of our contribution to this ever-growing industry, one that is literally “re-shaping” how the auto industry functions.

It’s a large, more macro example of what some experts have called: ultra low-cost car market.

Several cost reduction factors are taken into consideration while designing an ultra low-cost car… for space and weight saving [there is the]… absence of radio, air conditioner and passenger side mirror, seats with integrated head rest… and extensive use of hydroforming and roll forming…

So while major auto manufacturers like Ford and Chevy aren’t quite in line with eliminating just about everything from their “features” list, what they are doing is utilizing innovative techniques like hydroforming to make their trucks better and easier to assemble.

Heavy duty trucks like the F-150 and the Silverado HD both share in common a wide use of hydroformed parts.

For example, one of the countries best-selling trucks in the country, the Chevy Silverado, has extensive hydroformed framing and roll forming. Both of which improve weight, steering, handling, security, and comfort while contributing to torque and towing capability. Meanwhile the Ford F-150 contains hydroformed components throughout.

In both cases, to some small degree, hydroforming is contributing to the “low-cost car market.” Not only is it allowing manufacturers to pay less to design and execute, it passes that savings to the vehicle purchaser. It’s just another way innovation changes our world for the better and makes our lives easier.

For more information on how hydroformed products are changing the world’s industries, or how we can help you, please contact us any time.