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Improving the World with Hydroforming

Improving the World with Hydroforming

Hydroforming is a cost-effective way of shaping ductile metals into stiff, strong and lightweight pieces.  Practically all metals that can be cold formed are suitable for hydroforming, and without being limited by geometric complexity, the applications are becoming endless.  Here are a few industries which utilize hydroforming:

Aerospace:  The precision and reliability of hydroformed parts is crucial to ensure success and safety in areas such as turbine construction, array antennas and construction of exterior structures.

Alternative Energies:  Much like in aerospace, the components of alternative energy machines demand a lot in form and function.  Be it solar, wind or waves, the flexibility of hydroforming production allows a wide array of metals to be utilized towards producing advanced components for the energy of the future.

Medical:  Due to not being limited by traditional manufacturing methods, hydroforming finds a good niche in producing intricate parts for medical appliances such as pace-makers and advanced prosthetics.  Being as it is so cost-effective, hydroforming has the ability to make much needed medical procedures more affordable to people who truly need them.

Home Appliances:  Hydroforming makes very asthetically pleasing products; because of the unique manufacturing process, pieces come out smooth and free from dents and blemishes.  In the appliance industry, hydroformed parts are moving into the eye’s view as they gain acceptance and use as handles and more due to these unique qualities.

Automotive:  Faster, lighter, stronger seems to always be on the minds of motor enthusiasts, and hydroformed parts fit into this category perfectly.  One of the most recognized uses for hydroforming, components made for vehicles gain durability from eliminating weak points made by traditional shaping and welding techniques.  From retrofitting late-model cars to creating tech-forward alternative fuel vehicles, you can find an application for hydroforming.

Plumbing:  Because the unique array of shapes able to be produced by hydroforming, not only is it excellent for creating strong and dependable fittings for under the sink, but hydroformed faucets and fixtures are gaining emerging acceptance as well.  Limitless arrangements are possible, giving designers unprecidented freedom to create new and beautiful products.

At American Hydroformers, we offer complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, as well as industrial laser cutting and stencil work in addition to our quality hydroformed and tube hydroformed products.  Contact us to see how we can improve your products today!

Automated Hydroforming Process using Robotics

Automated Hydroforming Process using Robotics

American Hydroformers announces the addition of a new automated hydroforming cell to augment current capabilities and production capacity.

Fort Wayne, IN–In an effort to continuously improve the efficiency, speed, capacity, and accuracy of their hydroforming process, American Hydroformers has implemented a new automated hydroforming cell.  With the addition of multiple robotically automated stations, American Hydroformers has not only increased production capabilities but also improved overall part precision.  Click here to watch the video of the 3 robots working in the cell.

The automated hydroforming cell employed by American Hydroformers provides a more efficient production process. By producing hydroformed parts and components faster and more cost effectively, overall part prices and turnaround times are reduced. Additionally, by utilizing a completely automated system, American Hydroformers can also better control material costs by reducing waste and scrap.

Unlike other metal forming techniques, hydroforming allows for more complex shapes, increased part strength, lower part weight, and greater design flexibility, while also improving overall part quality. Additionally, hydroforming offers tighter part tolerances with a reduction in the overall manufacturing steps required.

Founded in 2003, American Hydroformers specializes in the tube hydroforming manufacturing process. Our capabilities include numerous metal forming techniques such as hydroforming, hydraulic press work, metal stamping, and tube forming. In addition to hydroformed components, American Hydroformers offers complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, robotic welding, and both industrial laser and plasma cutting.

To learn more about American Hydroformers, visit our website at https://americanhydroformers.com/

If you need a hydroforming provider or wish to learn more about our business, contact us today for more details.

What is Hydroforming and Why Use It?

What is Hydroforming and Why Use It?

When many think about the manufacture of metal parts for cars, bicycles, and such,  they often think of  such processes as solid die stamping,  However, in the late 1940’s and 50’s a new process called hydroforming was developed to form metal parts, especially those with asymmetrical and irregular shapes that are difficult for stamping to form.

What is hydroforming?  Simply put, hydroforming uses a high pressure liquid to force a thin metal sheet or tube into a specialized die mold.  Almost all metals capable of being cold formed can also be hydroformed:  aluminum, brass, steel, stainless steel, and high strength alloys.   There are two types of hydroforming; sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming.

For sheet hydroforming, a metal blank sheet is placed over the mold.  Then, in one type of sheet hydroforming, the mold is closed by a water filled bladder .Water pressure within the bladder is then increased, forcing the metal into the mold.

For tube hydroforming, a raw tube is placed between two dies.  The ends of the dies are then sealed off and water fills the tube.  The water pressure is increased until the tube takes the form of the mold.

The advantages of this process over traditional stamping are many.  It is ideal for forming complex shapes.  Hydroforming also produces parts that are more lightweight and have a higher stiffness to weight ration than stamped parts. Finally, its costs per unit are lower than stamping.

From hydroforming’s initial use in forming kitchen spouts its use has expanded to other plumbing fixtures, to widespread use in the auto and aircraft industry, to the manufacture of bicycles, and to the forming of the handles of appliances.   Hydroforming has even been used to manufacture the brass tube of the Yamaha saxophone.   It has proven itself to be an increasingly versatile tool.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about hydroforming and how it can meet your needs.

Hydroforming for Performance in the Automotive Industry

Hydroforming for Performance in the Automotive Industry

Automakers face a number of challenges in providing consumers with vehicles that are safe, fuel efficient and reliable. One way they are achieving these goals is with the use of hydroformed automotive parts. Hydroforming is a metal fabrication process that uses high pressurized fluid and a specialized type of die molding that produces parts which are lightweight, cost-effective and although thinner, have increased strength and structural integrity.

BMW has been using hydroformed parts in their high performance vehicles for several years. The BMW M3 features hydroformed exhaust tubes, for instance. Ford utilized hydroformed steel tubes in the B-pillars and a hydroformed roof rail in the 2013 Ford Fusion. The structural superiority as well as the lighter weight and reduced costs are key reasons that automakers have begun to incorporate hydroformed parts into their newer models.

Weight is increasingly a concern for both consumers and automakers due to EPA regulations regarding fuel efficiency. A lighter vehicle enjoys improved MPG, in fact, according to the EPA, every 100 pounds of extra weight in a vehicle reduces the MPG by 2 percent.

But perhaps more important than weight and MPG, is safety. Hydroformed parts have a higher stiffness to weight ratio and increased strength. The absence of welding joints means these parts have a greater ability to absorb crash energy. This means vehicles have greater crash worthiness which translates into improved safety for the occupants of the vehicle in case of a crash.

For improved safety and structural strength as well as reduced weight and overall production costs, hydroforming is a perfect solution for the performance automotive industry.

We are American Hydroformers and we specialize in the manufacture of hydroformed parts. Contact us for information on hydroforming solutions for your automotive parts needs.

Hydroforming into the Next Generation

Hydroforming into the Next Generation

Technology born in the 1940s has evolved through the decades to become the most desired manufacturing method for widely varied industries. From the shape of a saxophone, the tubes in bicycle frames, high strength automobile components, and even the new stainless steel sink installed your kitchen, hydroforming is a cost effective way to shape aluminum, brass, stainless steel, copper, alloys, and even carbon, into high strength structural components with tight tolerances.

When hydroforming, a large press is used with a punch similar to male die element in matched die forming. What would be the female element is actually a bladder full of hydraulic fluid at extreme pressures, and between the two is a metal blank. The punch presses into the bladder, shaping the metal into the desired form while leaving the surface smooth. Once pressed, the pressure is released from the bladder and the finished part is removed.

Here are some of the advantages to hydroforming:

  • Tooling costs are lower with hydroforming because the female side is a reusable bladder, only the male die and a holding ring are unique to each job.
  • Faster prototyping is possible. Various materials and material thicknesses can be used with the same tooling setup. This brings in your total project time thereby reducing development costs.
  • Complex shapes can be achieved with a single press cycle where traditional matched die forming would require multiple press cycles.
  • Hydroforming achieves outstanding surface finishes. The soft bladder leaves no lines, scratches, or surface blemishes, which would otherwise require extra time to polish out of the finished product.

At American Hydroformers, we have the expertise and the equipment to provide you with the next generation of formed metal components. From the automotive industry to the appliance business, contact our experts for more information.

Tube Hydroforming: Perfect for 2 Wheels or 4

Tube Hydroforming: Perfect for 2 Wheels or 4

May 1, 2013 will always be a day that the Ford Motor Company and the design team for the Ford Fusion can look back on with pride. That was the day the Steel Market Development Institue (SMDI) of the American Iron and Steel Institue awarded them the Automotive Excellence Award for 2013. Why? Because of their “innovative use of advanced high-strength steel throughout the [car’s] body structure and closures.”

So what was this innovative use? After all, high-strength steel has been used in cars for years. Turns out the Ford Fusion is the first car to make use of hydroformed steel tubes in its B-pillars – a design decision Ron Krupitzer (VP of automotive market, SMDI) believes “contributes to the vehicle’s improved side impact performance, mass reduction and roof strength.” All of which are important to the industry and consumers.

So what is tube hydroforming? Basically, it’s a process that uses a mold and hydraulic fluid to form a tube. Aluminum is placed inside a mold followed by the injection of hydraulic fluid under high-pressure. As the hydraulic fluid enters, the aluminum fills the mold evenly creating a tube that’s stronger and lighter than those created by other processes.

The automotive industry isn’t the only industry that’s discovered the advantages of tube hydroforming. The bicycle industry has as well. In traditional bicycle making, the tubes for the frame are stamped out of the material, a process which can cause weak points at the corners and rounded surfaces since the pressure used in the process is not distributed evenly. Hydroformed tubes avoid that uneven pressure and are stronger for it. In addition to their greater strength and lighter weight, hydroformed tubes also provide bicycle makers with reduced production costs, safer working conditions, and a better surface for painting and finishing.

Since it’s creation in the 1950s, the hydroforming has been used in the production of many products – from cars to bicycles to brass instruments and many other things. It’s a process whose future is bright and is sure to include many more awards and inventions.

If we can help you with your production needs, contact us. Helping you create your dream is part of our job.

A Clear Overview of Hydroforming

A Clear Overview of Hydroforming

In a layman’s term, Hydroforming is a method that is applied when producing metallic components. The technique utilizes a high pressure liquid to push a thin film inside a mold. The outcome is a seamless metallic component which is not only light in weight, but robust and durable.

Different Types of Hydro-Formed Components

There are generally two types of products that can be produced through Hydroforming. These are:

  • Customized hydro-formed components that are normally produced by the industries only by request.
  • Generic hydro-formed components that are mass produced by companies for the sole purpose of sale as well as distribution.

The cost of producing customized hydro-formed components normally hinge on several factors such as the complexity and dimension of the order. If the purpose of the fabrication is to produce parts that are to be used in complex projects, then the overhead can be high since technicians spend more time and effort in ensuring that the final product is made according to the specification of a client.

What Are the Different Types of Techniques Used in Hydroforming?

There are two types of techniques that can be applied during the Hydroforming process. These are:

  • Making use of a bladder stuffed with fluid: While using this type of technique, the technician puts an even film of metal in a mold and then covers the mold using the bladder before exerting pressure from the other end. As the pressure is increased by the technician, the bladder pushes the metal inside a mold. When the process is complete, both ends of the halves are opened to reveal the metal part. This technique is suitable for creating metal parts with high levels of details.

Tube forming: While using this technique to create metal parts, the technician seals a tube within the mold using a shape that has been cut along the strip of the tube. The mold is held in position using blocks. Thereafter, a high-pressure is forced through the metal tube which then causes the tube to expand outwards thereby allowing for the mold to form.

If you need a service provider who can help you with Hydroforming, contact us today for more details.

What Is Tube Hydroforming? All you need to know.

What Is Tube Hydroforming? All you need to know.

Whether you are well-informed or brand-new to the subject, here is a primer on the basics of tube hydroforming. Read on to discover more about the process, the materials, the products, and the benefits.

Process

Simply put, hydroforming is the process of shaping ductile metals into desired pieces using either high or low pressure from hydraulic fluid. A hollow tube is placed into a negative mold, and fluid is pumped into the mold until the pressure shapes the material into the desired form. The fluid is removed and the product is finished.

Materials

Tube hydroforming can be done on metals including aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and low alloy steel.

Products

Tube hydroforming is used to make car frames, particularly high-end sports models. Specifially, engine cradles, suspension, radiator supports, and instrument panel beams are manufactured in this manner. Aluminum bicycle frames use this technology. And additionally, the brass tubes of Yamaha saxophones are made with this process.

Benefits

Tube hydroforming is desirable because it results in lightweight and structurally stiff products. The process is also very cost-effective, requiring few tools and minimal maintenance. Tube hydroforming provides an easy process for creating complex shapes, reducing the need for welding operations. Compared to other methods, tube hydroforming leaves a smooth finish and an appealing appearance.

American Hydroformers is based in Fort Wayne, IN, and specializes in the hydroform tube forming process. Whether you work in appliances, automotive, or plumbing fields, we are here to help you! Visit our “What Is Hydroforming” page to learn more about the process we use and see before and after photos.

Contact us today to request a quote and get more information about our services!

Benefits Hydroformed Components in Automobiles

Benefits Hydroformed Components in Automobiles

If you own and operate a business that focuses on creating customized motor vehicles, you may want to consider learning more about hydroformed components. They are traditionally made in two ways. One method is referred to as tube hydroforming. The other method is called sheet hydroforming. Both of which are ideal for use in body work, automotive design and engine rebuilds. Here’s why:

Structural Integrity

For starters, hydroformed components are seamless and corrosion resistant. As such, they have a greater structural integrity than those that feature welded seams. That makes them perfect for use in areas that are likely to be damaged in an impact situation (i.e. roof, bumpers and side panels). They also work well in areas that are apt to be exposed to other stressors like prolonged friction, high heat and the elements (i.e. exhaust components and engine cradles).

Reduced Costs

Another benefit to using hydroformed components in your automotive business is the cost. The components tend to require less capital to produce and have a long life span. Their reduced mass also makes them cheaper to transport and store. Because of that, you may find yourself enjoying higher profit margins than originally expected.

Highly Customizable

In addition to structural integrity and reduced costs, the hydroform process also makes it extremely easy to transform stainless steel into the exact shape that your staff needs. Thus, you can use it to quickly create a highly customized, aerodynamic vehicle for your end consumers. You can also use it to reproduce discontinued or hard to find parts for those seeking to restore a classic.

Interested in learning more about how hydroformed components can benefit your automotive business? Contact American Hydroformers today by calling 1-260-428-2660 or stop by our website. We would be more than delighted to promptly answer all of your questions.

Hydroforming Rides New Wave of Interest

Hydroforming Rides New Wave of Interest

American Hydroformers has slowly built up a niche in the tube hydroforming industry. With nearly 10 years in business, American Hydroformers is ready with expertise, equipment and capacity. Hydroformed components will never replace or completely remove stamped and welded assemblies, however the hydroforming process can delvier a superior component more cost effectively than conventional processes.  When looking at the feasibility of having a part or component hydroformed, AHI helps companies look at the technological side of the process to make sure the component will be stronger and lighter, however the business side must be addressed to make sure the component can be made faster or at a lower cost.  American Hydroformers can hydroform high-strength, low alloy materials, high yield strength materials up to 650,000 PSI dual phase steels and so on.

To read the full story about American Hydroformers in The Tube and Pipe Journal please contact us.

American Hydroformers was recently spotlighted on the cover of The Tube and Pipe Journal.  If you missed the October/November copy let us know and we’ll get you the full story.

Hydroforming is a metal fabricating and forming process which allows the shaping of metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass. This process is a cost-effective and specialized type of die molding that utilizes highly pressurized fluid to form metal. Generally there are two classifications used to describe hydroforming, sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming. Sheet hydroforming uses one die and a sheet of metal; the blank sheet is driven into the die by high pressure water on one side of the sheet forming the desired shape. Tube hydroforming is the expansion of metal tubes into a shape using two die halves, which contain the raw tube. Hydroforming is used to replace the older process of stamping two part halves and welding them together. It is also used to make parts both more efficiently by eliminating welding as well as creating complex shapes and contours. Parts created in this method have a number of manufacturing benefits including seamless bonding, increased part strength, and the ability to maintain high-quality surfaces for finishing purposes.