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Friction Stir Welding: How Can It Be Useful To You?

Friction Stir Welding: How Can It Be Useful To You?

Friction stir welding is used to create joints that are of the highest quality and of the highest strength. Friction stir welding was patented in 1991. The first applications that friction stir welding was used for was aluminium fabrications. With its low distortion, the solid-state joining process of friction stir welding is able to create lap joints or butt joints. The joints can also be created in a wide variety of the thickness and the length.

Since friction stir welding is a solid state process, you will not have to concern yourself with any of the errors that may occur when you are using fusion welding. The quality of welding is excellent, and it is friendly for the environment. There are not any kind of fumes that will be triggered into the air.

What Can You Expect From Friction Stir Welding?

  • There will be no limit on the length and width of your panel. Friction stir welding can successfully meet the needs of your application, no matter what size the parts are.
  • Since friction stir welding is one of the most cutting edge technologies and developments, there will be new developments and solutions for all of the customers using the process.
  • Protecting the environment is a serious issue and concern. If you want to do your duty of protecting the environment, you can feel comfortable with using friction stir welding. It is a relatively green process. There will be no triggers of gases or fumes. You will be creating something amazing, while protecting the environment with this environmentally friendly process.
  •  Friction stir welding can be operated in every position.
  • You can expect to be able to make hybrid components. This can be done by joining different products. Aluminum and magnesium alloys are two examples of different materials that can create those components.
  • A low energy input compared to other types of processes.

In this day and age, and the different industries available, there is a certainty that the industry will find numerous uses for friction stir welding. This process is not expensive, and you have the great ability to weld or fuse different materials.

For more information about friction stir welding and how it can be beneficial to you, contact us.

What is tube hydroforming?

What is tube hydroforming?

Hydroforming is the process of using high pressured water to create custom metal structures to fit the needs of our clients. Centered in the Midwest since 2003, we have catered to a number of clients’ needs including:

  • Tube forming
  • Industrial laser cutting
  • Stencil work

We use an internal high-pressure hydroforming press system which is quintessential in creating parts with complex geometries and extensive secondary operations. Our system is also the most efficient, saving our clients time and money. The newest addition to our press equipment, an 1800 Ton Hydrap Pressen Hydroforming Press, has allowed us to add to our manufacturing processes and serves as a pre-forming function for our existing hydroforming presses.

Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming is the most efficient and cost-effective way of shaping amenable metals into pieces that are not only lightweight but also structurally sound. Uses include:

  • Unibody structures in the automotive industry
  • Bicycle frames
  • Metal-based instruments

Traditional manufacturing methods, such as stamping and welding, are not only more expensive but also create structurally weaker products. They are unable to create fluid pieces that fit perfectly into their spaces.

Tube hydroforming is a similar process, most commonly used in the automotive industry. It is a very favorable process, as we can produce tubular formations with many geometric options, reducing the need for welding operations.

Contact us in Fort Wayne, IN for more information on how we can create your custom pieces. Be sure to catch our documentary on the Discovery Channel in 2014, and read up on our business in The Tube and Pipe Journal.

Three Applications for Tube Hydroforming Aluminum

Three Applications for Tube Hydroforming Aluminum

While most people are only vaguely aware of the concept of hydroforming and its many benefits, even fewer are well-versed in the specifics of tube hydroforming aluminum. The unfortunate truth is that although they often benefit from the results, most people are unaware of how this process actually influences their daily lives.

Three Applications for Aluminum Hydroforming:

  1. Mountain Bikes. We list this one first because it is probably one of the better known applications. Thanks to recent developments in aluminum hydroforming, mountain bike frames are now more sleek and lightweight than ever.
  2. Automotive Body Panels. Within the last few years, the overall emphasis on energy consumption and the desire on the part of auto makers to produce cars that are fuel-efficient have together led manufacturers to desire more lightweight designs in order to minimize fuel consumption. As early as 2012, it was suggested that sheet hydroforming techniques could be used to produce aluminum body panels, which would significantly lighten vehicle weight. We look forward to seeing how these ideas take shape in the days to come.
  3. Medical Device Manufacturing. Thanks to hydroforming technology, medical devices made from aluminium, titanium, stainless steel, and other composites can now be produced with lower cost and higher product quality than ever before. According to a recent article in Today’s Medical Developments, “Sheet hydroforming and the accompanying technologies are helping medical device manufactures prepare for the future. With these technologies, device manufacturers can stay ahead of government regulations, implement a leaner manufacturing environment, and bring products to market faster while delivering higher profit margins.”

Although hydroforming techniques mostly center on carbon steel and stainless steel, we look forward to seeing more applications of tube hydroforming aluminum in the days to come. For more information on this, or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

American Hydroformers provides metal fabricating solutions using the most advanced hydroforming processes available. Our manufacturing expertise includes hydroforming, hydraulic press work, laser cutting and various other metal forming techniques.

Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies

Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies

As has been noted previously on this blog, there is a standard protocol followed for most hydroforming procedures:

  • First a raw tube is loaded into hydroforming dies.
  • Next, the hydroforming press closes.
  • The sealing rods engage the part, seal the ends and fill it with water pressure inside the part increases.
  • The sealing rods push the tube into the die (endfeed) and the internal pressure is ramped to its maximum value.
  • The hydroformed part takes on the shape of the die.
  • Finally, the hydroformed part is removed and ready for use.

As you can see, dies are a critical component to hydroforming. Without them, the process would be impossible. What you may not know, however, is that not all dyes are created equal. In fact, there are distinct differences between dies intended for research and development and those intended to be used in production.

Knowing Your Dies: the Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies: 

Research and Development Dies

Typically made out of a softer material, research and development dies enable the die manufacturer to customize the die quickly and allow researchers to get directly into the die in-house. They can then try it out for themselves, allowing for custom machining to the die in-house to get the part to fit their purposes perfectly.

Production Dies

High production dies are typically made out of strong, hardened materials so that the dies can be used to manufacture hundreds of thousands of parts. They are send directly to manufacturers who are looking to produce high-quality parts to be used in cars, bicycles, and so forth.

Understanding the difference between research and development dies and production dies will help you to navigate the hydroforming world and all of its intricacies with greater ease of understanding.

Questions? Comments? For more information on this or anything else on our website, please feel free to contact us.

The art and the ingenuity of hydroforming

The art and the ingenuity of hydroforming

Hydroforming is not only a cost effective metal fabrication and forming process when compared to traditional stamped and welded parts, but it can also be a bit of art and ingenuity. Virtually all metals can be hydroformed, including steel, aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel and alloys. The process, when used on upscale appliance handles, creates a sleek and custom look that is making it popular among today’s designers. It is also readily accepted in the manufacturing of kitchen faucets and bath fixtures as it provides the ability to create truly custom shapes.

In addition to producing aesthetically pleasing products, the process of  hydroforming makes stronger, stiffer, lighter automobile frames that provide the fuel efficiency that new federal standards are calling for. The strength and lightweight nature of frames designed in this way is the reason that makers of high performance race cars have long relied on tubular frame construction. Automobile designers have found the process useful in the manufacture of engine cradles, trailing suspension arms, radiator supports and many other parts. Beyond automobiles, the lighter and stronger nature of the material is also attractive to the makers of bicycles.

American Hydroformers was formed in 2003 and specializes in the tube hydroforming process, which is the most common of the hydroforming processes and involves the expansion of metal tubing into a shape using two die halves. This method creates seamless and a high-quality finished surface.

For more information about our hydroforming process and our other services, including industrial laser cutting and stencil work, contact us today.

High-temperature Metal Gas Forming

High-temperature Metal Gas Forming

With the use of hydroformed parts becoming increasingly common in the automotive and cycling worlds, many people are now more aware of the process used to shape ductile metals into pieces that are both lightweight and strong. But while awareness of the hydroforming process has been on the rise, fewer people know of the high-temperature metal gas forming process and its benefits.

For high-temperature metal gas forming, there are four basic stages. While they are similar to those of hydroforming, there are several distinct differences which set the process apart.

The Four Stages of High-temperature Metal Gas Forming

First, the blank is placed into the die and the ends are sealed. After this is done, the tube is pressurized. Then the docking rods then feed the material into the die, where the combination of internal pressure and simultaneous material feeding forms the tube.

Doesn’t seem too different from basic hydroforming, you might say. An understandable observation, but allow us to point out the main forming difference: the part formed at the superplastic temperature conforms precisely to the dimensions of the die.

The Benefits of High-temperature Metal Gas Forming

While quite similar to hydroforming in process in its steps, this technique allows for higher precision and yield. This in turn not only saves the industries that use it time and money, but it also produces a quality product that is that much more effective for the consumer.

In conclusion, although this process is less well-known, it is certainly no less important. Because of it, we have more better-quality sporting equipment, more advanced technologies in the aerospace and automotive industries, and (perhaps more importantly to some of us) better-working indoor plumbing.

For more information on hydroforming, the benefits of high-temperature metal gas forming, or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming is a method that shapes metal into strong pieces that are also light, in regards to the weight. There are many different industries that use hydroforming. However, the vehicle industry is probably one of the largest applicators of hydroforming. The method has mostly been popular among the production of cars that are known as the “high-end” cars. One of the materials that is frequently used is aluminium.

Previously, there was a focus on traditional stamping and parts that were welded. Hydroforming has certainly emerged into a practical method of manufacturing because of the need to lower the weight of the different components. There has also been a transition of steel to aluminum. Aluminum is making outstanding progress in the industry. When hydroforming aluminum you will receive an even, nice-looking finish that will not need any extra additions or tooling. You will receive the nice finish because the female die gets replaced by a diaphragm made of rubber.

The fluid in the hydraulic is pumped into a component at a very high pressure, and the aluminum is molded into a shape very evenly. The result will be a distinctive shape that has a thickness in the material. Hydroforming aluminum sheets can be a bit challenging sometimes because all of the shapes will not always be symmetrical and regularly shaped.

Some people may want to try cold-forming, but not every cold-forming method will have the necessities to handle all of the tough demands. Since there are some tough aluminum parts that will need plenty of work to form, hydroforming will be the best answer. The hydroforming methods for the different shaped aluminum parts will not cost as much as other methods, like cold-forming.

We certainly understand how several needs are unique. We also understand how important it is to save time and money when it comes to the process of hydroforming aluminum.

Contact us for more information on the benefits of hydroforming aluminum.

What is Hydroforming

What is Hydroforming

Every time you drive a motor vehicle, fly in an airplane or ride a bicycle, hydroforming was likely used as part of their manufacture. Hydroforming provides a number of advantages when compared to other alternative methods of metal shaping. By learning more about what is hydroforming, understanding the significance of this process in our daily life should be possible.

The Standard Concept

Aluminum is a malleable material that is often molded using hydroforming. Two processes can be used during the hydroforming process for manipulation. The first is using high pressure hydraulic fluid to produce a certain shape with the metal. The metal (typically a flat sheet) is placed inside a container with a mold. The container is sealed off and hydraulic fluid injected until a certain pressure is achieved. This pressure causes the metal to mold to the shape of the dye. A variation of this concept involves the manipulation of a hollow tube of metal. The hollow tube is placed inside of a negative mold and fluid is injected into the inside of the tube, causing it to expand into the shape of the mold.

Low Pressure Versus High Pressure Tube Hydroforming

In tube hydroforming, two methods are typically used. The only difference between the two are the pressures used and when they are applied. In high pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to high pressures (typically between 1500 and 2000 bars) only after being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. In low pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to a low pressure of between 120-180 bars before being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. According to Metal Working World Magazine, “The material does not collapse, taking the die shape, but simply it is uniformly stretched (thus avoiding the corrugations of the inner surface that are instead frequently present in the high pressure method), like in a pre-forming process.”

Be sure to contact us at American Hydroformers if you have any questions about what is hydroforming.

Beneficial Complexity: Finite Element Analysis

Beneficial Complexity: Finite Element Analysis

The use of FEA or Finite Element Analysis further advances the hydroforming industry by eliminating the impediments of inefficiency and expense.

Finite Element Analysis  is a method using numerical techniques of calculus variations to solve boundary value problems. This process uses computer model designs to connect elemental equations over sub domains to approximate the values over larger regions. The models are then stressed and analyzed to decipher the correct procedure in manufacturing the product.

Not only does FEA allow for new designs to be created without the prospect of a test failure, but it can also enhance the design of pre-existing products.

With the use of the FEA method, the hydroforming industry can further advance production by expediting procedures with fewer miscalculations. The finite element designs optimize the control process of parameter by selecting the correct calculation to prevent excessive thinning or premature wrinkling. Overall, the process minimizes error function and produces a stable solution. This allows for larger tube expansion in the dual hydroforming process.

With greater sensitivity analysis, the FEA method facilitates the precise design of both die shapes and die geometrics. By controlling the parameters through mathematical calculations, the overall forming procedures become more accurate. The hydroforming process is complex in itself and numerous factors have to be calculated accurately to construct a working product. Determining a forming window can be experimental through trial and error which is both less effective and more expensive.

Shabbir Memom writes,“In order to have a successful hydroforming process, it is imperative to optimize the process parameters such as loading path and feed rate along with friction and keep it within the range of forming window.”

He goes on to discus that without facilitating the finite element analysis methods, some hydroforming designs would be impossible.

For more information on the advancement of FEA methods within the hydroforming industry, please feel free to contact us.

American Hydroformers Explains How Internal High Pressure Hydroforming Works

American Hydroformers Explains How Internal High Pressure Hydroforming Works

American Hydroformers is on the cutting edge of production technology. We offer many services, including metal fabrication solutions through the use of hydroforming, laser cutting, and several other forming techniques.

But perhaps the technique that garners the most interest is how our internal high pressure hydroforming press system works, and why it is so widely sought after.

Hydroforming (or internal high pressure forming) is a forming process by which an active solution (often a water and oil emulsion) forces a hollow part into a desired shape by applying a variable amount internal pressure that depends largely upon the density of the material (click here to watch a clip). And at its peak, the pressure can reach several thousand bars.

The advantages of this technique are many (especially compared to deep draw hydroforming), but most apparent are:

– Large design ratio

– Reduction of overall parts

– Lowered amount of weld-spots or connections

– Reduction of material weight

– Higher ductile and mechanical strength

– More durable

– Increased forming accuracy

Because of these positives, high pressure hydroforming has becoming a superior technique in many industrial sectors (most notably, automobile manufacturers). But has branched out to many others, including plumbing and heating, household appliances, furniture, bicycle frame manufacturing, machines and equipment, and even aerospace and aviation.

However, hydroforming stands out the most in the automobile industry, because of widely used parts for the chassis, motor, crossbeams, side beams, and roof frames, throughout the industry.

Additionally, hydroforming gives automakers the freedom of design, so that they can make lighter and faster cars that appeal to a broader group of people, while remaining relatively inexpensive in terms of production.

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