Any item that is built with a metal tube can be made more efficiently and cost effectively with tubular hydroforming. The process was first developed and used in the 1950’s. The disadvantages of pressing and stamping tubes, i.e. weak stress points, unseen defects, and uneven distribution of metal, disappear, leaving a lighter weight but stronger metal tube.
In a nutshell, tubular hydroforming involves pumping hydraulic fluid into shape at high pressure, forcing the metal evenly into all corners of the mold. The metal, aluminum, stainless steel or other metal, flows into the shape of the mold, rather than being stretched over a die, creating a stronger tube than one that has been pressed. The metal can be further heat treated to strengthen it even more.
The advantages of this process include so much more than just light weight and strength. Consider the following.
- Unique shapes are possible with indents or angles. For instance, one end of the tube could be round, the other oval or a tube could be made with a flattened center section.
- Even thickness of the metal with no thick or thin spots. This reduces unseen weak spots which can break more easily.
- Cost effective. Less waste of raw metal or due to damaged finished pieces.
- Uses less energy to produce. The process is streamlined and robotic, and doesn’t require high temperatures.
- There is less hazard to employees since the process is done at room temperature.
- Leaves a smooth surface ready to paint or use as is.
Whatever product using a metal tube you may produce, it is probably possible to produce it better and more inexpensively with tubular hydroforming. The inherent strength of the product produced makes this process ideal for many products and industries, not just automotive and plumbing. It’s also frequently used for bicycles and musical instruments.
Visit our website and view the video of the hydroforming process to easily understand how it works. Then contact us so we can discuss how to help you build a better product through hydroforming. It’s a call you’ll wish you made years ago.