Blog

Benefits of Sheet Metal Hydroforming

Benefits of Sheet Metal Hydroforming

Sheet Metal Hydroforming is similar to the conventional deep-drawing technique, but has significant advantages for the formed part and keeps the tooling costs and production costs low.

Below is the list of t benefits of sheet metal hydroforming, as opposed to the conventional deep-drawing technique.

  • Inexpensive:
    Hydroforming tooling can cost less than half the price of standard press tooling. Tooling generally required is a male die and a draw ring.  The rubber diaphragm typically acts as a universal female die in the sheet metal hydroform machine.
  • Functional:
    Irregularly contoured shapes are easily formed using hydroforming, it also makes it easy to form irregular shapes and contours because matching dies are not generally needed.
  • No Need to Waste Time Thinning Material Out:
    No need to waste time stretching. Hydroforming flows the metal rather than stretching it as a result you will have less wall thinning.
  • Less Work:
    Usually parts require multiple operations with a typical press, with hydroforming most of the operations can be condensed into one operation.
  • Save Money:
    Since almost all punches and draw rings are made of inexpensive cast iron, hardened tool steels are therefore not often needed. These type of tools carry a longer life span. Sheet metal hydroforming offers a wrapping action of diaphragm which does not cause scuff marks, shock, and stretch lines.
  • Quick Set Up:
    Tools are able to be mounted easily and quickly they are also self-centering and self aligning. Set-up times are much quicker and  very efficient.
  • Durability of Materials:
    Almost  all sheet metals can be hydroformed such as stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, copper, brass, precious metals, high strength alloys. The material’s thickness varies within the restrictions of the machine. Usually tool modifications are not required.

As you can see sheet hydroforming as its many benefits. If you would like more information please contact us with any question you may have.

Understanding Metal Stamping and Its Many Uses

Understanding Metal Stamping and Its Many Uses

Metal stamping is a process which includes the stamping or pressing of sheet metal into different forms. Some of the different types of metal stamping include punching, deep drawing, pressing, embossing, bending, flanging, and coining to name a few. The most common medium for metal stamping is sheet metal but it can be performed on other types of materials such as polystyrene. The process of stamping can produce an specified object repeatedly normally within a few steps which makes stamping economically favorable.

In many cases the initial process of stamping involves a simulation process. A metal working firm can take specs, measurements, and blueprints in order to perform a test run on the product being stamped. Once the test pieces are made, they can be tested for durability. These tests can include the analysis of possible defects such as wrinkling, splits, and thinning. This simulation saves the hiring manufacturing company time and money since the analysis performed produces a minute batch of product for testing.

Because of its versatility, metal stamping can benefit a wide range of industries. The automotive industry uses metal stamping often in order to produce a large amount of parts with minimal man power and resources. The marine industry, medical industry, construction industry, and aerospace technology industry all use metal stamping to manufacture their parts and products.

American Hydroformers has been a metal working industry leader since 2003. They have produced exceptional quality products for a variety of industries; coupling their expert metal forming capabilities with a strong focus on customer satisfaction. American Hydroformers uses cutting-edge technology in order to ensure your final product exceeds your expectations.

While American Hydroformers technology revolves around hydroforming, we may have an alternative application different from stamping that could be economically more feasible.

Please, contact us for more information.

Hydroforming Advantages for Automotive

Hydroforming Advantages for Automotive

Hydroforming metal is one of the most cost effective ways of creating asymmetrical parts for the automotive industry. Many parts used on cars today have irregular shapes making traditional methods of manufacturing more cumbersome and expensive. The strength and weight of hydroformed parts also lends to better produced products which are easier to work while maintaining an overall better structural integrity. Here are some other hydroforming advantages that make it one of the best choices for fabricating parts for the automotive industry:

  • Reduced tooling costs: When manufacturing parts the traditional way, jigs and other forms must be manufactured before the process of fabrication begins. If a company only needs a small quantity of the manufactured parts, the increase in cost for tooling greatly affects the bottom line.
  • Increased quality and precision: Hydroforming uses a technique which employs a press, pressurized fluid, and a punch. This process is not only quicker than traditional types of fabrication, it also ensures greater accuracy because their are less steps in the process of hydroforming than traditional manufacturing.
  • Deep-drawing with less stretch: Hydroforming uses less friction in the manufacturing process. Deep draws can be performed with less material stretch. This means the product will have a better integrity as well as less blemishing; in turn requiring less finishing work.
  • The versatility of hydroforming: Steel, copper, brass, aluminum, alloys, etc can be manufactured into parts using the hydroform process. When dealing with these types of materials, many additional efforts must be put into place with traditional fabrication processes as to not damage or weaken the material.

In the automotive industry material strength is essential for safety. The race industry has especially seen benefits from the light weight and structurally sound parts developed as a result of hydroforming. As hybrid vehicle become more and more popular, hydroforming has played an integral part in keeping cars efficient through bettering the manufacturing process. When looking for hydroformed parts you can depend on for strength and lasting durability, please contact  the experts at American Hydroforming.

Midwest Hydroforming Boosting Alternative Energy

Midwest Hydroforming Boosting Alternative Energy

In 2009, the New York Times predicted that more and more states would look to harvest clean energy along highways and interstates by installing rows of turbines. Anyone who’s recently driven down Interstate 65 in Indiana or I-155 in Illinois can attest to that fact. Soon Kansas will join their ranks, having passed a bill in the state legislature to boost Kansas’s wind industry.

As more and more states take advantage of the benefits of wind energy, they’re only keeping pace with what’s happening on an international level. Around the world, groups are coming together to boost global consumption of clean alternative energy sources. Take Brazil, for example, which in 2012 saw two international companies coming together to build and operate two large-scale wind farms in Brazil’s northeast.

[We’ve] been seeking options to meet this demand, on a sustainable way, using renewable sources such as hydro, wind and biomass. The option to develop wind projects also helps diversify our energy matrix, reduce our emissions and ensure cost competiveness in the long term. (Vânia Somavilla)

With a global boost in wind energy production, there is, of course, a global increase in the need for components necessary to the Alternative Energy sector.

The midwest hydroforming industry aids by producing components for solar, wind, and nuclear power mechanisms.

As the Midwest sees and uptick in alternative energy consumption, it also sees an increased necessity of hydroforming in the Midwest.

If you have questions regarding how you can take advantage of our hydroforming expertise, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to doing our part to create a brighter, cleaner, more energy-efficient future.

Improving Bicycles with Tube Hydroforming

Improving Bicycles with Tube Hydroforming

What is tube hydroforming? It is a metal shaping method that is replacing stamping and pressing because of its quality products and cost-effectiveness. Tube hydroforming is used to create countless products: automotive exhaust components, sink faucets, hand rails, rifle scopes, sporting goods, and bicycle frame components. More bicycles than cars are sold in the USA every year. Last year, approximately 19 million bikes were purchased. When looking for a bike, people pay close attention to the weight and stability of the bike’s frame, because all these factors make the difference between a heavy, awkward bike and one that is light and easy to maneuver.

The tube hydroforming process offers the best features of an aluminum bicycle frame. Often when a manufacturer makes a bike frame, they press or stamp the components for the frame, but the problem is that this creates weak points that the eye cannot see. Tube hydroforming, however, creates a sturdy frame, because the hydraulic fluid is pumped into the frame at high pressure, creating evenly molded aluminum without any weak spots. The process produces interesting shapes and a thickness in the material, leaving a stronger and lighter tube to be used in the frame system.

Not only are manufacturers improving bicycles with tube hydroforming, but it also saves the manufacturers money, thus reducing bike costs for consumers. The manufacturer saves a lot of funds on tools that would have been needed for stamping and pressing techniques. Hydroforming is also done at room temperature, and the die used to cast material can be used over again, saving a lot of money on energy and material costs.

Hydroforming is a reliable and trusted process. Consumers have started specifically looking for hydro-formed bicycle frames because of the frames’ sturdiness, light weight, and pleasing appearance.

For more information about tube hydroforming, our services, and experience, please contact us.

Hydroforming Titanium for the Masses?

Hydroforming Titanium for the Masses?

The advantages of using titanium and titanium alloys have long been apparent to both the scientific and commercial communities:

  • Good strength
  • Resistance to erosion and erosion-corrosion
  • Very thin, conductive oxide surface film
  • Hard, smooth surface that limits adhesion of foreign materials
  • Surface promotes dropwise condensation

Due to these benefits, titanium and titanium alloys have become important players in a variety of different industries.

Since the introduction of titanium and titanium alloys in the early 1950s, these materials have in a relatively short time become backbone materials for the aerospace, energy, and chemical industries. (The Key to Metals

However, although there are many advantages to using titanium, its commercial use has been somewhat cost prohibitive. Over the years, manufacturers have instead turned to stainless steel, which although not as durable as titanium, is significantly more affordable to work with.

Until recently, that is.

In 2012, it was announced that a team led by André Albert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering “developed a new process for hydroforming titanium at high temperatures in a single step that promises to make titanium more of an everyday material,” a process which allows titanium to be forged by hydraulic pressure in a single step and in one place without cracking (Gizmag). Needless to say, the savings that this new procedure would provide would be an enormous boon to the industry.

With titanium’s exceptional versatility, this new hydroform procedure could move its use from the aerospace industry into everyday life, including window frames, hydraulic lines, jet engine components, bio-compatible implants, and bicycle frames — not to mention the possibilities for the automotive industry, where “because of the lack of cost-effective forming technologies for titanium, currently manifolds, exhaust pipes, catalytic converters and mufflers are primarily manufactured from high-alloy stainless steel” (TechFragments).

With hydroform bringing down the cost of titanium production, perhaps its only a matter of time until more and more of our everyday tasks — cooking, cleaning, grooming, working out — are aided by titanium instruments.

If you have questions regarding developments in hydroform technology and how we can help you take advantage of them, please feel free to contact us.

Tube Hydroforming is Beneficial

Tube Hydroforming is Beneficial

First referenced from an early 1900s process, tube hydroforming is constantly improving parts and workplace functionality. Tube hydroforming is a metal forming process where pressurized fluids form the workpiece into a shape. This technique is only now really starting to take off, though the concept of tube hydroforming has been around a while.

Until the 1980s, there was no way to economically build a tubular part with dimensional stability, design flexibility, and hole-making ability, so tubes had to be welded together from stamped parts. When tube hydroforming was fully realized and established, it satisfied a long-awaited need in the industry, which explains why tube hydroforming has gained rapid acceptance throughout the USA.

Tube hydroforming offers many benefits as compared to conventional forming techniques. The ability for deeper draws and closer control of perimeters increases part stability and prevents wrinkles and tearing. Tube hydorforming creates a part that is stiffer, less likely to have defects, and is resistant to buckling. Hydroforming replaces the stamping assemblies which are expensive and need large assembly areas and a lot of welding. The flow of the process will increase because less die is used, since the process is metal on fluid shaping and not metal on metal. Tool costs will be reduced by at least 40% because the fluid replaces half of the tooling that would be needed with welding and stamping techniques.

New capabilities for hydroforming are being found every day, as engineers learn where and how to apply tube hydroforming for best use. As a result, hydroforming is used to make more and more parts. About 15 years ago, 10% of steel in North American vehicles was tubular, while today the percentage has risen to over 16%. Tube hydroforming is steadily gaining in popularity because it lessens capital costs, reduces the number of parts needed, increases and improves structural strength of product, and offers flexibility and design quality that just does not come with welding and stamping techniques. A number of automobile industries have switched from stamping and welding to hydroforming because it is more cost-effective and creates more high-consistency parts.

For more information on tube hydroforming and hydroforming services, please contact us.

Hydroforming History

Hydroforming History

Recently, the Auto Tech Review acknowledged that without constant evolution in hydroform technology, the advancements enjoyed in the automotive world today just would not be possible:

The demand for weight reduction in modern vehicle construction has led to an increase in the application of hydroforming processes for the manufacture of automotive lightweight components. Hydroforming is a promising technology that has greater potential for automotive applications. (Auto Tech Review)

So when did the hydroforming history begin, let’s take a look.

Although it would be difficult to imagine where today’s automotive industry would be without hydroform, it must be remembered that the technique is relatively new. Based on a 1950s patent held by Fred Leuthesser, Jr. and John Fox of the Schaible Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, the process first came into its element in the 1970s when buoyed by aid of computer technology.

Originally used to produce stronger kitchen spouts, the process was eventually employed to produce bicycle parts, piping joints, as well as automotive components. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the process was adapted to produce even larger structural parts.

By the early years of the 21st century, the process of hydroforming had become well-known, and its application in the automotive world was widely acknowledged.

According to a Japanese study published in 2004 in the Nipon Steel Technical Report, the advantages to using hydroform over the traditional press forming had already become apparent and included the following:

  • Cost reduction
  • Weight reduction
  • Improvement of fatigue properties
  • Improvement of component strength
  • Simplification of work processes
  • Improvement of yield
  • Reduction of spring back
  • Capability of large deformation

To find out how the development of hydroforming technology can aid in the production of your product, please feel free to contact us.

Hydroformed Components

Hydroformed Components

What do a satellite antenna, an aluminum frame bicycle and the engine cradle of your neighbor’s motorcycle have in common? Chances are they were all made with hydroformed components.

From the medical industry to motorcycle manufacturers, the process of hydroforming offers many key advantages. To name a few, this superior fabricating and forming process allows:

  • Higher production efficiency
  • Elimination of welding
  • Creation of geometric shapes
  • Increased strength
  • Deeper draws
  • High quality surfaces
  • Tight tolerances
  • Low tooling costs
  • Elimination of draw marks

Take a cue from the automotive industry. The ever increasing demand for lighter weight components has just about necessitated the use of hydroformed components of countless automobiles. As a matter of fact, in 1997 Chevy used hydroformed components in the mass production of the Corvette. They’re not the only ones to reckognize a good thing when they see it. The high precision that can be accomplished with this technique is reflected in the use of hydroformed components in medical implantable devices, including some pacemakers. Even the music industry has benefited, as a well known saxophone maker uses a hydroformed brass tube in the popular instrument.

While it may seem at first glance that it’s just too good to be true, this technique was patented over 60 years ago and is still going strong. As it turns out, you can re-invent the wheel, and chances are the rim on the new one will have been hydroformed. Contact us to find out more about how to increase quality and strength while reducing costs.

Tube Hydroforming vs. Metal Stamping

Tube Hydroforming vs. Metal Stamping

Today, nearly all businesses that desire to form parts have concerns regarding the strength, weight, and cost of a component. Metal stamping has been a traditional metal forming procedure. It does not always ensure those characteristics that businesses are looking for in a part, as does tube hydroforming.

There are some disadvantages of stamping. Prices for low production runs have never been economical. Facilities that have to place their whole collection of programs into action refuse to accept smaller runs. High tooling prices are proving to be the enemy of the industry. Moreover, stamping could have a detrimental impact on the structural strength of those parts being formed.

Stamping  results frequently in material wastage. Most stamping businesses do not have any way to reuse the unstamped parts of a sheet metal. The process of production and prototyping tooling translates into more lead times. Once finalized, altering as it raises the job costs the tooling design is not achievable.

Stamping has longer timelines and higher project costs. What is hydroforming?  A better metal forming process called Hydroforming addresses all the disadvantages linked to the metal stamping procedures. A pressurized hydraulic fluid is useful for forming a metal sheet within the desired contour.

Design molds and making changes to it can be achieved in several days without adding additional costs to a job. This approach can be coupled with deep drawing to achieve contoured parts.This procedure is appropriate for forming ductile metals such as 400 and 300 series of stainless steel, aluminium, bronze, and brass that are recommended for low weight applications.

Tube hydroforming as a procedure is utilized for making parts with a diameter of up to 20″ and a height of up to 9″. It may be used for creating parts in both convex and concave shapes. Unlike metal stamping, this approach has proven to be efficient while creating high consistency components with the desired tolerances. It is a procedure that reduces the demand for secondary finishing procedures.

It comes as no surprise that hydroformed components are sought after in businesses for example:

  • Metal furniture bases.
  • Medical equipment.
  • Nuclear business.
  • Industrial pumps components.
  • HVAC components.
  • Commercial food equipment.