Archive for the Hydroformed Components Category

Hydroformed Components Still Huge Part of Manufacturing

Hydroformed Components Still Huge Part of Manufacturing

We have long highlighted how hydroformed components are integral to manufacturers. From the kitchen sink to sports cars, hydroformed parts continue to lead the charge of innovation, and change how the modicum of industry performs.

Here are some of the latest examples of hydroformed parts making waves.

Kawasaki Ninja H2

The Kawasaki Ninja was one of the first street motorcycles to break speed records, and with recent launch of the $50k H2, Kawasaki is hoping to retain that relevancy and move into the future.

The hydroformed components: The exhaust system. “The entrance to the header pipes is oval to match the two exhaust ports per cylinder. Partly formed by hydroforming, each header pipe tapers from an oval to a round cross-section. The collector pipes are also hydroformed.”

Intense Tracer T275

The cycling industry has benefited greatly from hydroforming. Including top-of-the-line beasts like the Intense Tracer T275 to bottom of the barrel department store models.

The hydroformed components: The seamless top tube. This means that the frame weighs less because there are fewer parts involved with keeping the bike together. Resulting in a lighter, tougher frame and a smoother ride.

2015 Ford F-150

The automobile industry uses hydroformed parts daily. This includes large, multi-national companies like Ford. So when it was announced that the new F-150 would have hydroformed parts, we were both excited and relieved that they would be carrying on the tradition.

The hydroformed components: For increased bend-resistance, Ford’s F-150 has a heat-treated body and cab. “The cab’s structural cage is hydroformed and joints and seams are riveted and glued rather than welded. There’s more structural reinforcement between the inner and outer box and weight loss allowed Ford to up-gauge panel thickness as much as 65 percent.”

For more information on hydroforming and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us any time.

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.

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.

Commom Tube Hydroformed Household Fixtures

Commom Tube Hydroformed Household Fixtures

By now, you have no doubt heard of or experienced hydroforming first hand. But in some cases you may not have known it. That’s because hydroforming isn’t just limited to industrial sectors or even just to car manufacturers. It’s more than that. It is a part of our everyday lives.

In fact, there are numerous items that you use regularly around your home that have been engineered, designed, and manufactured by the tube hydroformed technique.

Let’s take a tour around your house in search of common hydroformed components.

Plumbing Fixtures

Ever wonder how they get that sleek, smooth look of a classy and shiny faucet? You guessed it. Hydroforming. Those ergonomically-designed faucets in your kitchen and bathroom, and the ones that you see at your hardware store, were manufactured using the hydroforming technique.

But with plumbing, it isn’t just limited to what you can see. The hydroforming technique has also lent its capable hand to under-counter plumbing fixtures as well. Like copper fittings, elbows, bends, and so on. A hydroformed plumbing fixture means that they are stronger, and that with fewer pieces working together to hold a watertight seal, that they will last much longer as well (with no leaks).

Appliance Fixtures

Your kitchen is a hotbed for hydroformed products. On your stoves and refrigerators are handles. Handles that are smooth and match your appliances perfectly, both in function and in form. In most of the cases, those handles are a hydroformed product, crafted with that particular appliance in mind.

To spot one, simply look for a bend. If it is graceful and fluid then your appliance’s handle was achieved by this one-of-a-kind process (the list of major brands that feature these handles is extensive).

Furnaces/HVAC

Moving down to your basement, this tour ends at your furnace. Did hydroforming craft your entire furnace? No. But it is entirely possible that some of the most important parts (like inlet covers and outflow fixtures, both of which allow for warm and cold air to flow through your home) were made using the tube hydroformed process.

For more information on hydroforming and all of its processes and products, please contact us any time.

Hydroforming Telescopic Optical Mirrors

Hydroforming Telescopic Optical Mirrors

Hydroforming has changed how multiple industries across the globe function, produce products, and achieve at business. So its no stranger to being on the cutting edge.

But now the seminole, innovative technique has its eyes set high to the sky thanks to a French astrophysics lab and public institution Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), and a piece of MSC analysis software called Marc Nonlinear FEA that will help scientists study hydroforming telescopic optical mirrors.

“Hydroformed mirrors are key to the future of astronomical telescopes,” says the article describing the process. Describing how the conventional process for telescopic mirror design typically used diamond point turning, which ends up being costly and extremely time-consuming.

But in order to achieve the the parabolas and hyperbolas that populate telescopic mirrors shapes, the CNRS-LAM has turned to hydroforming as a means of producing the instruments needed to peer into the vastness of space.

The process uses a 10 MPa clamp, a mold, and fluid at a high pressure (45 MPa). The fluid applies force to the optical surface to deform the mirror into its final form.

Because of hydroforming, the mirror’s surface remains untouched from conventional production tools, thus rendering it nearly perfect in shape and a much higher quality overall, which allow for a greater degrees of freedom, improved observable performance, and reduction of the mass and size of the finished and used product.

There is also a huge reduction in the cost of production as well, in addition to dramatically cutting down the time it normally takes to make just one lense. This allows for funds to be spent elsewhere, and gives the institution more time to focus on other tasks.

But the process isn’t complete without the software that allows scientists to see usually unobservable specifics. Because as the mirrors plastic deforms, the process becomes more difficult to optimize. So as part of the solution to make the process viable, scientists at CNRS-LAM are using Marc FEA analysis software to help eliminate errors and perfect the process.

According to CNRS-LAM’s, Zalpha Challita,

We selected Marc to analyze the hydroforming process because [is] has demonstrated the ability to provide accurate results, [it has] demonstrated the ability to accurately model the hydroforming process and will be used extensively going forward.

The innovative blend of hydroforming plastic and computer software will continue to be used for producing optical mirrors for astronomical instrumentation for long into the future.

LAM is one of the leading astrophysics research facilities in Europe, and one of its fundamental research areas is the instrumentation needed for astrophysics research.

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

Vehicles Using Hydroformed Components

Vehicles Using Hydroformed Components

Hydroformed components play a major role in the design and production of automobiles. From headliners to hood seals and headlights, sheet and tube hydroforming are used in the manufacturing process for most car companies. Its lightweight design and inexpensive manufacturing cost keep hydroforming on the cutting edge and in the spotlight.

Here is a look at three cars that will be rolling off the assembly line next year, thanks in large part to hydroformed components.

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The much-anticipated SUV will feature hydroformed parts around every contour through a proprietary Pressure-Sequence Hydroforming technology. “Vari-Form technology stretches the limits of thin wall hydroforming,” said Vari-Form director of sales & engineering Doug Viohl. “Staying within finite tube thickness limits. I’m pleased to say this is something that competing hydroforming processes simply cannot do.”

The 2014 Mercedes Benz C-Class: The luxury sedan is set to be the nicest C-Class in recent history, and will feature “A curved high-pressure hydroformed tube and aluminium cast consoles with additional struts,” according to the press release. This new design has only ever been featured in Mercedes’ E-Class Cabriolet, a highly sought after luxury convertible.

The 2014 Corvette Stingray C7: The brand new (and newly designed) 2014 Corvette will feature a much improved, and lighter chassis made from hydroformed aluminum. “Engineers varied the gauge of the aluminum frame from 2mm to 11mm, depending on the location, so it not only dropped pounds, but also enhanced stiffness in specific areas.”

Hydroforming continues to be an innovator of design and a “go to” for the car industry due to its quick, easy and inexpensive concepts coupled with durability and reliability. Hydroforming is fast becoming essential and integral to manufacturers in all industries.

For more information on hydroforming feel free to contact us any time.

Hydroformed Components Revive Classic Cars

Hydroformed Components Revive Classic Cars

Hydroformed automotive parts are showing up on a lot of new car models – the Ford Fusion, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and the  Chevrolet Silverado, for example – but new cars are not the only vehicles sporting these superior hydroformed components, older models can enjoy the many benefits too.

A New York Times article describes how Jonathan Ward uses hydroformed components to restore and recreate classic cars and trucks. His goal is to retain the appeal of the design while improving the structural integrity. Ward accomplishes this many times by replacing orignal parts with hyrdroformed parts which can be custom-made to the exact specifactions needed. Ward credits this new technology with making it possible to custom-restore classic models.

“You couldn’t have done this 10 years ago,” he said, adding that laser scanning had made it possible to build just about any shape out of modern materials using hydroforming or an English wheel. “Once you can track and control forms, you can go back and recreate something.”

Hydroforming is a perfect partner for the automotive industry in creating lightweight, durable parts that are thinner yet stronger. Hydroforming allows for creating shapes and bends without the need for welded joints, leading to an overall sturdier construction.  Using hydroformed components generally removes the need for heavy materials that can endure the stamping, welding, cleaning, etc. which add unnecessary weight to the vehicles, the lighter hydroformed components are generally stronger and much more efficient in the manufacturing process.

At American Hydroformers, we use the latest advances in hydroforming technology. We offer industrial laser cutting, stencil work and tube forming. Whether you’re restoring a classic car or need complete assembly level automotive part fabrication, we can help you find the right metal fabricating solution for your specific needs.

Contact us today for more information.

Hydroformed Components: New Metals on the Market

Hydroformed Components: New Metals on the Market

There has been recent news about hydroforming bringing titanium to the masses. Until recently, it was difficult to use titanium on a commercial scale because of the cost as compared to the more affordable but weaker alternatives such as stainless steel. Hydroforming has pioneered cost saving methods to take advantage of titanium and its benefits.

But titanium isn’t the only alloy that has advantages for hydroformed components. Kinesium is a relatively new alloy that holds great potential by using the favorable aspects of both titanium and aluminum:

  • Kinesium is 25% stronger than 7005 series aluminum
  • The greater concentration of titanium allows for improved hardness and tensile strength
  • Kinesium is lightweight, partially because of the aluminum, but also because the greater strength allows for a thinner wall thickness in tubing
  • Kinesium is very affordable as an alloy because of its aluminum content

The company who created Kinesium, Kinesis, was specifically testing for an alloy that could make better bicycle frames. The innovation and opportunities provided by hydroforming have allowed this company to expand the possibilities of this alloy. The use of hydroforming also allowed Kinesis to create a shape that can withstand stresses experience by high performance bikes:

 

“Our Hydroformed tube shapes are designed to increase the effective strength of the frame by distributing stresses over a broad section of the tubes, instead of allowing them to be concentrated in small areas… The Hydroformed gussets and multi-section tube shapes are achieved with virtually no added weight.” (Kinesis UK)

 

For cyclists, hydroformed components made of Kinesium mean cost-effective and higher quality bicycle frames. For the industry, hydroformed kinesium offers a lightweight yet incredibly strong alternative for parts with complex geometries that can stand up to more stress than traditional metals and traditional metal stamping. The future is bright for other commercial uses, from the automotive to more personal uses around the household.

Hydroforming is taking the lead on innovative uses for new alloys. To learn more about hydroforming and about how to exercise its capabilities, please contact us.

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.

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.