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How a New Tube Hydroformed Instrument Impacts the World of Optics and Photonics

How a New Tube Hydroformed Instrument Impacts the World of Optics and Photonics

Automotive and aerospace engineers (among others) have used tube hydroforming as a means to supplement inferior design techniques, by decreasing weight and increasing tensile and ductile strength, two things that had been sorely lacking in those industries for many years.

Tube hydroforming contributes to industries all around the globe, and lends an idle, albeit able hand in sculpting and shaping how those global communities think, brand, and progress into the future.

Recently, a new advancement in design was announced from an industry that has had little use for hydroforming up until the last few years: optics and photonics.

A newly designed, tube hydroformed instrument is helping to find sensitive measurements, and the scientists who use them.

From an article on optics and photonics on how the instrument works:

The instrument measure objects with apertures that range from 20 to 200mm or more, and consists of a laser diode, a conical mirror, and a miniature CCD or CMOS camera.

In the progressive world of aerospace design and mechanical engineering, seeing the truly smallest of smalls makes a huge impact on a nanoscale. Nanoscientists have for a long time been viewing that in which we are not able to see, and use powerful microscopes to do so.

For those in the aerospace industry, however, measuring the inner diameter of holes to establish the gauge of the bore by using two or three measured points is time-consuming and arduous.

So optics has stepped in to ease the burden. But even then, older optical sectioning methods are difficult to use for pipes measuring less than 100mm.

From the article on how the technique is applied to measurement and its functional principle:

The key component that we use in our technique is a ring beam device, which consists of a conical mirror and a laser diode. The fundamental principle that underlies our technique is based on optical sectioning, without the use of any contact-type stylus.

The instrument, whose shell is made by tube hydroforming, is rapidly helping those who already do a difficult job easier, by enabling the instrument “compatible with practical industrial applications,” as well as aiding in the future development of an even smaller probe that measure holes less than 10mm in diameter.

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

Research Predicts Rising Future for Metal Hydroforming, Stamping, Forging, and Rolling

Research Predicts Rising Future for Metal Hydroforming, Stamping, Forging, and Rolling

The future of United States metallurgical manufacturing has never been more sound, according to a recent report on the ever-growing, ever-expanding billion dollar industry.

Tube hydroforming, metal stamping, forging, and rolling are all a part of a sound industry with a more than profitable and promising future. Metrics and analysis suggest that a measurable growth rate of metallurgy will save “countless hours of research,” thanks to key findings in the comprehensive research performed.

Key findings from the report:

– Metal Forging, Stamping, Rolling (and Powder Metallurgy Manufacturing) Industry (U.S.) to reach $49.6 billion by 2021.

– Metal Forging, Stamping, Rolling (and Powder Metallurgy Manufacturing) Industry, including Average EBITDA, Operating Ratios and Sales per Employee.

Along with expansion and growth, comes a list of benefits, which include many respectable positive features for employees and customers.

The research was carried out by Leggett & Platt Inc and Sypris Solutions Inc, et. al., and was featured on the Research and Markets website.

The metric data and analysis was carried out by several methods, designed to find core values of data and express it in terms of industry benchmarking, ratios, and vital statistics, so that owners and customers could see the findings alike.

Customers interested in how this affects them can read further into the report to find the core benefits, which include:

Comprehensive overview of an industry’s financial results… Complete benchmarking of the industry and its top companies…  Deep industry and company financials.

Key features of the report lead even deeper into the future of metallurgy, focusing heavily on future reports and money.

While those interested in adjusted financial information and futures can read further on operating ratios and “Deep profiles and financial histories/operating ratios for up to ten top U.S.-based companies.”

To read more, follow this link to discover the full text or simply read more on the overview we’ve outlined above.

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

How Hydroformed Components Make Products Better

How Hydroformed Components Make Products Better

Hydroformed components  and hydroforming positively impact how manufacturers produce. After all, hydroforming adapts to needs and makes lighter, more durable, and longer-lasting products, which benefit all of those who use them… whether they know they are or not.

For instance, take how car and truck companies use hydroforming. In many areas of the automobile, heavy parts made by traditional means weigh the car down; adding extra pounds creates drag and slows down acceleration.

But as hydroforming integral parts has become standard, car and truck manufacturers now use the seamless and more ductile components to benefit how new cars run.

The same situation applies to bicycle companies. Manufacturers of new super-terrain bikes, ones designed for optimum use and ware, are made with hydroformed frames and turning forks.

The seamless and lighter frame adds to the riders experience, not only in terms of handling, but also in how the bike’s tires grip and use whatever surface they are on.

With a hydroformed frame, the rider can feel individual rocks and crevices when it matters most. Perfect for professionals competing in rallies, and off-road riders who need to feel the ground below them for the sake of safety.

Hydorforming also finds its way into our kitchens, and many people are completely unaware of it. Tube hydrofroming is a popular way of producing kitchen fixtures and piping under the counters. Those sleek and beautiful fixtures that you see in hardware stores are most often made through hydroforming.

Hydroforming in plumbing, as a whole, allows for stronger parts with less weak spots for failure. Meaning no drips or leaks. For cars and bikes, it allows for lightweight, better performing rides, while improving performance and part durability.

In the end, hydroforming comes out on top as a key manufacturer and innovator. As the top producer of hydroformed parts in the Midwest, we are excited that we are a part of this growing industry.

For more information about hydroformed components or how we can help you, please contact us.

High-Temperature Metal Gas Forming Burning Brightly

High-Temperature Metal Gas Forming Burning Brightly

Hydroforming is, arguably, one the most innovative methods for manufacturing of the last couple of decades. However, a similar yet just as important process known as high-temperature metal gas forming (HTMGF) has existed for nearly as long, and with similar benefits.

A few decades ago, when auto manufacturers wanted a lightweight, high strength but fully flexible part, they sought out hydroformers for the job.

As an alternative process to the mainstream, hydroforming eventually gained the popularity of design engineers, and not long after, hydroformed parts became a prominent means for design.

Then, as finite element analysis (FEA) software became more sophisticated, predictability in part production moved to the forefront, and parts were made in such a way that the receivers learned to expect a quality product that delivered consistency and reliability.

Not long after, however, high-temperature metal gas forming became a reality. Even if its rise is less well-known, its products are comparable, and some would argue, maybe even better in some ways.

Both tube hydroforming and HTMGF share many qualities. Both ways of production have their strengths and weaknesses, in terms of manufacturing and overall product strength. Both methods of production work similarly, and FEA software allows both to reap great advantages.

So which method is better? That’s a difficult question to answer. Each one appeals to different types of industries. While hydroforming is more well-known, HTMGF is slowly working itself towards the limelight.

In some ways, HTMGF is superior to hydroforming in terms of time needed to produce. Similar parts produced by the same method sometimes requires additional forming time.

As Dave Gearing points out in his incredibly in-depth article on the subject,

Choosing the optimal process often is a matter of considering both… early in the design stage when simple modifications to the part to aid the manufacturing process are easy to incorporate…

So while the jury is out, the debate continues as both methods become more nominal in their field.

For a deeper look at the finite schematics, extended benefits, methodology, and mathematics surrounding each process, check out this article on the subject, as mentioned above.

For more in how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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.

Next Generation Metal Stamping to Grow Significantly Worldwide Over Next Decade

Next Generation Metal Stamping to Grow Significantly Worldwide Over Next Decade

We here at American Hydroformers are big proponents for the metal stamping industry. What began long ago as a means to bolster the manufacturing process into a single stage operation, has come a long way in all those years.

This is evident thanks to a new report outlining the continued growth of the metal stamping global market. Wherein, the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) will rise to 3.02% over the period 2014-2019.

From an article on the continued growth of metal stamping:

The emergence of next generation metal stamping has gained increased traction in the market. Next generation metal stamping helps form metals without using dies. Designing dies is a costly and time-consuming process. Next generation metal stamping helps save time and costs for companies.

A savings that helps lend to the global manufacturers, and then finally to the consumer. By eliminating the extra steps in the metal stamping process, as well as seeking ways for optimal automation, the metal stamping process has reached some of the greatest (and reduced) operational times possible.

The key manufacturer in this equation is the automotive industry, whose increased need for stamped metal and hydroformed products has increased significantly over the last several years, with parts like fenders, headliners, side and quarter panels, exhausts, brake shoes, valves, and hangers leading the charge.

Further, with more and more industries in need of quality, metal stamped products, and the continued need for innovative and above standard design, the market has a strong potential to expand past the prospective end of 2019.

Global manufacturers who currently use metal stamped and hyrdroformed products are setting a worldwide standard for sought after excellence and quality. Meaning, that as more and more create top-notch quality, others will soon want the same result, a factor that could push the boundaries to even greater heights.

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

Deep Draw Hydroforming Aids in Medical Device Manufacturing

Deep Draw Hydroforming Aids in Medical Device Manufacturing

It has long been established that deep draw hydroforming is a technology that has staying power. The process in which deep draw hydorforming follows makes it a powerful solution for a variety of manufacturing industries, helping to set a future path for how many things are made.

It was recently reported recently that deep draw hydoforming is now fostering the production of medical devices. Stating that the process was “ideal” for production of this type.

From the article:

An innate ability to foster rapid prototyping, inexpensive product development, and low-volume, high-mix production makes sheet hydroforming ideal for medical device manufacturing.

Additionally, according to the report, deep draw hydroforming brings several unique advantages to the production of medical device fabrication, no matter the material in which it is made (aluminum or steel).

– Tooling advantages. Parts can be manufactured quicker and with less lead time. Meaning that, along side various structural benefits, parts require less manufacturing time after the prototype design is established.

– Improved, stronger parts. Because the tooling process allows devices to be made of materials that work together mutually and beneficially, parts can be produced out of materials that better suit the needs of the user.

– A wider range of part designs. Parts that would normally require multiple, complex angles (and even negative angles) are formed easily.

– Skilled labor not required. Because of the artisan-ship and skill that once went into sheet hydroforming, it was as much an art as a trade. But as the article points out:

Modern systems allow for precise control over both the diaphragm pressure and, on deep draw models, punch position… This infinite control… along with the ability to save proven recipes for future access, leads to rapid new part development and greater part consistency due to the repeatable nature of the process.

– Forming simulations hit benchmark. Forming simulation suites make the process more simple and user-friendly on the front end. Like looking at a recipe and adding ingredients.

Sheet and deep draw hydroforming assist in adding an advantage to a broad spectrum of industries, and we’re proud to be on the cutting edge of the future alongside it. For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.