It does not matter where you look, you will always find information on how various companies and organizations have used an engineering simulation as part of their strategy when it comes to development. One of the best examples of engineering simulation is FEA or Finite Element Analysis.
What is hydroforming? Hydroforming is when the force of water, hydraulic fluids, or oils is used to shape a single part. There are two types of hydroforming and each has uses when creating products from steel, aluminum, etc. Hydroforming, used in industries, creates parts without using welds. This makes a stronger part and sometimes a product is created from a single piece of metal. So, what are the two types of hydroforming? They are Tube Hydroforming and Sheet Hydroforming.
As deep draw hydroforming continues to become a reliable and viable source of production, people who rely on hydroformed parts can only benefit from its persistent innovation.
Information about new and high-tech hydroforming presses in use around the country is part of the daily news cycle.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards regulate the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States. Rather than requiring minimum fuel efficiency standards for each vehicle, CAFE requires that each manufacturer’s average fuel economy meet certain requirements.
When you can control your manufacturing process, you will have a better chance of increasing your production, improving your quality, and reducing the overall costs. You need to have the right indicators when it comes to using a control system for your manufacturing needs because these indicators will have to be measured.
At American Hydroformers we recently obtained and implemented a new Faro Edge Scan Arm HD that enables enhanced product development, inspection, and quality control. As a 3D scanning and probing device, the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD provides capabilities such as rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, 3D modeling and rapid point cloud collection and comparison. Ideal for scanning challenging materials, the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD also allows for contact and non-contact measurements.
- Rapid Scanning Speed
- High Definition Data
- Up to 2,000 Points per Scan Line
- Fast Frame Rates
- Scan Challenging Materials
- Highly Accurate and Repeatable
- Contact & Non-Contact Measurements
Acquiring this new Faro Edge Scan Arm HD will allow American Hydroformers to probe virtually any part or tube and collect all of the data needed to reproduce it. With up to 2,000 actual points per scan line, extreme resolution and high accuracy, we are able to reproduce even the most intricate parts and components. The actual setup of the scanning arm features an extra wide scan stripe as well as fast frame rates. This allows for increased productivity with the large coverage area and the reducing scanning times.
In addition to the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD, our in-house capabilities also include the utilization of AutoForm Hydro simulation software as well as FEA simulations. Our team of engineers are trained and regularly updated on this software which provides a comprehensive understanding and analysis of the entire hydroforming process. By employing this software in-house and utilizing the simulation process, we supply our customers with rapid verification, shorter development time, and improved process reliability.
- Easily Identify Forming Issues
- Rapid Tool Design
- Accurate Springback Simulation
- Quality & Cost Improvements
- Reduced Development Time
- Improved Reliability
- Lower Material & Production Costs
By enabling better price controls and reduced tooling expense, American Hydroformers provides a cost-effective source for part production. Unlike other metal forming techniques, hydroforming allows for increased part strength, lower part weight, and greater design flexibility, while also improving overall part quality. Contact American Hydroformers to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE) standard enacted in 2014 imposes fuel efficiency and green house gas emission standards on the manufacturers of cars and medium and heavy-duty trucks. These standards get progressively stricter every year, with costly fines imposed for every car or truck model that fails to meet them. Cars must improve performance by 37% and trucks by 23% every year.
Generally speaking, automakers have been beating the CAFE standard every year. It’s in the interests of the manufacturers to build lighter and more efficient vehicles while maintaining high safety standards. How do the manufacturers manage to do that? The goals are achieved by improving engine and transmission technologies, body aerodynamics that reduce air resistance at high speeds, tires with lower rolling resistance, and very importantly parts that reduce weight.
Weight reducing manufacturing technologies:
- Hydroforming technologies can shape aluminum, brass, steel and stainless steel into complex, hollow forms which are lightweight and structurally stiff and strong.
- Hydroformed parts eliminate most of the heavy welding required in conventional parts assembly.
- Using hydroforming technology in manufacture produces structures with fewer separate parts and fewer heavy welds and joints.
- Hydroforming uses dies capable of high precision, able to meet the exacting tolerances of aircraft parts.
- Replacing sheet metal bending and joining with hydroforming eliminates multiple welds and draw marks produced by the traditional method of pressing a male and female die together.
A typical example of the benefit of hydroforming is cited by Professor Muammer Ko, of the Virginia Commonwealth University. Prof. Koe talked about an aluminum radiator support for a passenger car.
- The stamped manufacture process requires 17 unique parts weighing a total of 16.5 kilograms.
- The hydroformed part is comprised of 10 parts and weighs 11.5 kilograms (a 30% weight savings).
The hydroforming process can produce structurally stiff and stable parts out of materials that are lighter in weight but able to replace stamped parts made with heavier materials.
- When an aluminum part replaces a steel or cast-iron part, it means a weight reduction of 40% to 60%.
- Warm hydroforming greatly increases the formability of lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium, greatly increasing the possible range of hydroformed parts manufacturing.
Although stamping and welding have not gone away, increasing proportions of the automotive production has gone to hydroforming.
American Hydroformers engineers and manufactures tube hydroformed parts for the automotive industry out of Midwestern facility. Please contact us for more information.
What is hydroforming? Hydroforming is an innovative method of pressing metal into the desired shape. It produces results similar to cold forming, but instead of simply pressing the metal with a mold, it is pressed by liquid pressure. Let’s be more specific about how it works.
Cold forming presses room temperature metal between a solid mold. Hydroforming also presses metal at room temperature, but only the bottom half of the mold is present, underneath the raw metal. The unit closes, creating a water tight seal around the metal and the mold, and then forces liquid into the unit through a hydraulic pump. This forces the metal down into the mold. The liquid is then released, and the newly formed metal reclaimed.
Many common metals can successfully undergo this process, including copper, brass, stainless steel, and aluminum. This list is very similar to the metals that can be used with the traditional cold forming method. Hydroforming is used to make all sorts of metal products, including satellite antennas, a tube for saxophones, bicycle frames, automobiles, and residential lighting materials.
The hydroforming method is particularly attractive because it can often be completed at a lower cost per unit than many other methods, including stamping or even wielding. It can also produce a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than many other methods. Hydroforming is also beneficial because only half of the die is required. Since the fluid acts as the other half, it’s only necessary to fabricate the bottom in most cases. This also makes it much easier to change the thickness of the metal because there is no need to change the die.
Interested in learning more about Hydroforming and how it works? Contact us. We have all the answers, and we can help you with anything you need.
U.S. manufacturing in the new tech age has brought with it many advances for those involved in the industries of metal stamping and hydroforming.
However, at the same time, it has continued to hinder growth across many industries, even though the dollar is strong, and the cost of oil per barrel is low.
For example, in states where manufacturing is intrinsically linked to automotive industry (like Ohio), there has been a strong showing, perhaps because of the industries tendency to diversify.
In Cleveland, according to a recent news article related to Cleveland manufacturing, companies like TimkinSteel Corp. and City Plating have been steady on the rise over the last few years.
As TimkinSteel Corp. spokesman, Joe Milicia, said in an email:
“We are feeling the effects of a strong dollar and a U.S. rig count that’s down more than 50-percent.”
So while many industries (in every state — not just Ohio) can pinpoint successes and failures throughout the year, the truth is that not every company sees a strong dollar as a bounty for growth.
Is hydroforming different?
Yes. Absolutely, in fact.
For those in the metal stamping and hydroforming industries, opportunities are abound. From things like LED and solar manufacturing in Ohio to automotive and aerospace in the Midwest, metal stamping and hydroforming adapt and advance.
Which, as the numbers will attest, prove that business is booming, and growth this year will lend to additional growth in the following years.
By continuing to focus on high-growth markets, hydroforming and metal stamping thrive in spite of negative factors that pervade other industries.
One could say that, growth is a slow-grind, but as long as there is formidable planning and need, manufacturers in the hydroforming sectors are verging on recession-proof.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.
Though tube hydroforming has humble roots, it has taken those roots and firmly planted them in industry, design, and innovation.
For instance, take a look at how much innovation has gone into biking. Thanks to lightweight tube hydroforming, bicycles are more agile and lighter than all previous designs and models.
Mountain bikes are more popular than they ever have been before, thanks to tube hydroforming. They are also more sturdy than ever before, which is something that attracts manufacturers to the tube hydroforming process when the design phase begins.
How does the process begin?
As with most design and industry, the process starts with an idea. From there, designers and engineers work hard on computers to formulate and adopt a plan. Then, after many more hours of time and research, the prototype is produced on a 3D CAD. Sometimes the initial design is worthy of the work, and other times it is scrapped and redone. Oftentimes, many mockups are worked through before the final selection is made.
What happens next?
In the case of mountain bikes, materials like aluminum are selected and reviewed. Then, as this article on a new mountain bike design points out, many things go into the final product:
[The process] combines several common aluminium construction types — hydroforming, taper butting, mechanical shaping, 3D forging, double-pass smooth welding, post-weld heat-treat — to tailor the ride quality as much as possible.
This type of design and scheme is virtually the same across all tube hydroforming development. It’s a labor-intensive process that yields some of most durable and lightest products available today.
For more information on the tube hydroforming process, please contact us anytime. Since 2003, American Hydroformers has been setting new standards in the hydroforming industry for tube hydroformed structures, parts, and components.