Archive for the Hydroformed Components Category

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.

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.

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.

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.