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Hydroforming Origins

We’re often asked when and where hydroforming started and how it came to be what it is today. With its potential for cost reduction and its obvious design advantages, it would seem that absolutely everything would be shifting to the hydroforming process.

Surprisingly, the hydroforming process actually started in the 1950’s and was used for producing kitchen spouts. At least in part, the process was developed to allow for easier metal finishing, but also offered the strength and design advantages we often speak of today.

It’s generally assumed that hydroforming is now best known for its application in the automotive sector, but it’s certainly not limited to that. Hydroforming allows complex parts to be build with less tooling, reduces weight by requiring less material, and offers the ultimate sky is the limit approach to design. Automobile designers everywhere have discovered that new hydroformed structures are a lighter and stronger alternative to traditional stamped and welded assemblies. American Hydroformers, Inc. (AHI) can meet the needs of customers in the automotive industry for hydroformed catalytic converter cones and exhaust components, crash tips, cross members, engine cradles, frame rails, header and exhaust manifolds, instrument panel beams, radiator and roof supports, trailing suspension arms and more.

For many years, high performance and race car builders have utilized tubular frame construction for its strength and lightweight nature. With the latest federal mandates for mileage and crash worthiness, hydroformed frames are an ideal solution.

AHI offers automotive hydroforming, diesel exhaust hydroforming, as well as hydroforming for plumbing, recreation vehicles, appliances and other unique applications.

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 us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.

New Universal Hydroforming Die Holder

New Universal Hydroforming Die Holder

American Hydroformers announces new Universal Die Insert Holder designed to reduce the tooling and die costs associated with hydroforming.

Fort Wayne, IN (May 31, 2012) – American Hydroformers, a leader in the hydroforming industry, has announced the purchase and implementation of a new universal die insert holder. The acquisition of this new die insert holder will allow American Hydroformers to reduce the tooling cost associated with hydroforming by as much as 60%.

Consisting of hydraulic cylinders, position encoders, upper and lower base plates, and a part specific cavity, a hydroforming die makes up a very large portion of the cost related to hydroforming. With American Hydroformers universal die insert holder, customers are only required to purchase the part specific cavity, eliminating the need for the other costly components. This helps to greatly reduce overall part cost as well as tooling and die overheads.

American Hydroformers currently has two universal die insert holders that accommodate both large and small parts. Ideal for low to medium runs, these die insert holders enable better price controls while also greatly reducing overall tooling expenses.

Unlike other metal forming techniques, hydroforming allows for increased part strength, lower part weight, and greater design flexibility, while also improving overall part quality.

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.

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 us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.

Hydroformed Exhaust Components

Hydroformed Exhaust Components

When it comes to heavy truck and construction vehicle design, space is often at a premium and rugged components are an absolute requirement. Hydroformed exhaust components from American Hydroformers, Inc. (AHI) are light and strong, making them a great choice for these types of large, heavy duty vehicles.

New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates on diesel emissions have also created additional challenges for owners of heavy truck and construction vehicles. “These new mandates have forced manufacturers to repackage their systems and add additional components to already heavy, crowded vehicles,” explains, Todd Ellinger, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for AHI. “Fortunately, modern day exhaust systems are perfect candidates for the hydroforming process.”

The hydroforming process enables the creation of custom shapes, allowing designers to achieve the packaging and flow paths required. Shape changes, such as round and rectangular sections, are best achieved by hydroforming as material must typically be corrosion-resistant 400 series stainless steel.
Besides heavy duty vehicles, hydroformed components are also a superb option for lighter duty automobiles and small trucks. Hydroformed exhaust structures are a lighter and stronger alternative to traditional stamped and welded assemblies. AHI can meet the needs of customers in the automotive industry for hydroformed catalytic converter cones and exhaust components, crash tips, cross members, engine cradles, frame rails, header and exhaust manifolds, instrument panel beams, radiator and roof supports, trailing suspension arms and more.

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 us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.

AHI Adds 1800 Ton Hydroforming Press

AHI Adds 1800 Ton Hydroforming Press

American Hydroformers Inc. has been supplying parts to the automotive industry for nearly 10 years now. Hydroforming gives our customers the ability to specify lighter weight, stronger parts with the benefit of removing multiple manufacturing processes.  One thing we have learned over the years, if you are going to serve the major businesses in any industry they must have complete faith in your companies ability to supply their demand.  Most clients will not even give you the time of day if you do not have redundant press capabilities to continue supplying their production schedules and or production lines.  Currently we have 3 hydroforming presses and are in the process or adding to it.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve our processes to remain competitive and expand our product offerings. We have recently taken possession of an 1800 Ton Hydrap Pressen Hydroforming Press that is in the construction process at our Ft. Wayne, IN facility.  This press will gives us the ability to add another hydroforming operation to our manufacturing process or it can also serve a pre-forming function to one of our other hydroforming presses.

We also rely heavily on our in-house tool and die shops that give us the ability to customize dies and maintenance them accordingly.  We run many components and parts for other Tier 1 suppliers when they are overwhelmed, sure we help out our competitors at times, but we have come to find that building a relationship with everyone in the industry is much more beneficial for everyone.

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 us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.

Hydroformed Appliance Handles

Hydroformed Appliance Handles

There’s a new trend associated with upscale appliances: hydroformed appliance handles. Todd Ellinger, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for American Hydrofomers, Inc. (AHI), explains, “Hydroformed appliance handles have great aesthetic appeal because of their sleek, stylish and custom look. Many high end manufacturers are incorporating hydroformed handles on new ovens and refrigerators.”

In the process of hydrofoming appliance handles, stainless steel tube is typically used to create a curved grip with flares at the connection point. Hand finger grips can be molded in and shapes can be contoured to designer’s requirements.

As the benefits and advantages of hydroforming and fabricating become better understood, more metal fabricating applications arise. AHI offers superior solutions for many pressure forming challenges. AHI’s unique metal forming, metal fabrication, tube bending, tube hydroforming and pressure forming capabilities enable the company to offer turnkey solutions — from the time the raw material arrives to when the final hydroformed part is delivered.

A simplified overview of the hydroform process is as follows: Raw tube is loaded into hydroforming dies and the hydroforming press closes. The sealing rods engage the part, seal the ends and fill it with water, increasing pressure inside the part. The sealing rods push the tube into the die (end feed) and the internal pressure is ramped to its maximum value. The hydroformed part takes on the shape of the die. Then, the final hydroformed part is removed.

American Hydroformers specializes in the hydroform tube forming process. American Hydroformers processes start with raw tube and progresses through tube bending, tube pre-forming, tube forming, tube hydroforming, laser cutting and trimming. Originally founded in 2003, American Hydroformers, Inc. was formed to create a larger portfolio of fabrication offerings for the Tippmann Affiliated Group, who manages companies across a broad scope of industries. The addition of hydroforming was a great fit to expand the product offerings from Summit Manufacturing and Zemco Manufacturing.

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 us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.

Mercedes-AMG selects hydroformed parts

Mercedes-AMG selects hydroformed parts

As more and more automotive engineers begin to learn and source more hydroformed parts and components, the hydroforming industry sits on the verge of rapid growth.  Mercedes-AMG selects hydroformed parts for its new CL63 intake.  Mercedes -AMG engineers found the hydroformed intakes to be “extremely short charge-air ducting makes for outstanding responsiveness. The stainless steel pressure pipes for the fresh and charge air are produced by the hydroforming process, have a wall thickness of only 0.03 inches and are designed for very low pressure loss.”   Again, the benefits of using hydroformed parts to remove costly processes like welding not only remove labor and quality constraints, but it gives the manufacturer the ability to use the proper gauge material while removing unnecessary weight at the same time.

Automobile designers have discovered that hydroformed structures are lighter and stronger than traditional stamped and welded assemblies. Applications involve engine cradles, trailing suspension arms, roof supports frame rails, radiator supports as well as headers and exhaust manifolds and crash tips. Electric and hybrid vehicles will also benefit from HF component.

High performance and race cars have long used tubular frame construction for its strength and light weight nature. With the latest federal mandates for mileage and crash worthiness, hydroformed frames are a good solution.

Automotive radiator supports, Instrument panel beams, Catalytic converter cones and exhaust components, cross members and engine cradles are among the parts currently being manufactured with hydroform technology.