Archive for the Hydroforming Equipment Category

Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies

Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies

As has been noted previously on this blog, there is a standard protocol followed for most hydroforming procedures:

  • First a raw tube is loaded into hydroforming dies.
  • Next, the hydroforming press closes.
  • The sealing rods engage the part, seal the ends and fill it with water pressure inside the part increases.
  • The sealing rods push the tube into the die (endfeed) and the internal pressure is ramped to its maximum value.
  • The hydroformed part takes on the shape of the die.
  • Finally, the hydroformed part is removed and ready for use.

As you can see, dies are a critical component to hydroforming. Without them, the process would be impossible. What you may not know, however, is that not all dyes are created equal. In fact, there are distinct differences between dies intended for research and development and those intended to be used in production.

Knowing Your Dies: the Difference Between Research and Development Dies and Production Dies: 

Research and Development Dies

Typically made out of a softer material, research and development dies enable the die manufacturer to customize the die quickly and allow researchers to get directly into the die in-house. They can then try it out for themselves, allowing for custom machining to the die in-house to get the part to fit their purposes perfectly.

Production Dies

High production dies are typically made out of strong, hardened materials so that the dies can be used to manufacture hundreds of thousands of parts. They are send directly to manufacturers who are looking to produce high-quality parts to be used in cars, bicycles, and so forth.

Understanding the difference between research and development dies and production dies will help you to navigate the hydroforming world and all of its intricacies with greater ease of understanding.

Questions? Comments? For more information on this or anything else on our website, please feel free to contact us.

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.

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming is a method that shapes metal into strong pieces that are also light, in regards to the weight. There are many different industries that use hydroforming. However, the vehicle industry is probably one of the largest applicators of hydroforming. The method has mostly been popular among the production of cars that are known as the “high-end” cars. One of the materials that is frequently used is aluminium.

Previously, there was a focus on traditional stamping and parts that were welded. Hydroforming has certainly emerged into a practical method of manufacturing because of the need to lower the weight of the different components. There has also been a transition of steel to aluminum. Aluminum is making outstanding progress in the industry. When hydroforming aluminum you will receive an even, nice-looking finish that will not need any extra additions or tooling. You will receive the nice finish because the female die gets replaced by a diaphragm made of rubber.

The fluid in the hydraulic is pumped into a component at a very high pressure, and the aluminum is molded into a shape very evenly. The result will be a distinctive shape that has a thickness in the material. Hydroforming aluminum sheets can be a bit challenging sometimes because all of the shapes will not always be symmetrical and regularly shaped.

Some people may want to try cold-forming, but not every cold-forming method will have the necessities to handle all of the tough demands. Since there are some tough aluminum parts that will need plenty of work to form, hydroforming will be the best answer. The hydroforming methods for the different shaped aluminum parts will not cost as much as other methods, like cold-forming.

We certainly understand how several needs are unique. We also understand how important it is to save time and money when it comes to the process of hydroforming aluminum.

Contact us for more information on the benefits of hydroforming aluminum.

What is Hydroforming

What is Hydroforming

Every time you drive a motor vehicle, fly in an airplane or ride a bicycle, hydroforming was likely used as part of their manufacture. Hydroforming provides a number of advantages when compared to other alternative methods of metal shaping. By learning more about what is hydroforming, understanding the significance of this process in our daily life should be possible.

The Standard Concept

Aluminum is a malleable material that is often molded using hydroforming. Two processes can be used during the hydroforming process for manipulation. The first is using high pressure hydraulic fluid to produce a certain shape with the metal. The metal (typically a flat sheet) is placed inside a container with a mold. The container is sealed off and hydraulic fluid injected until a certain pressure is achieved. This pressure causes the metal to mold to the shape of the dye. A variation of this concept involves the manipulation of a hollow tube of metal. The hollow tube is placed inside of a negative mold and fluid is injected into the inside of the tube, causing it to expand into the shape of the mold.

Low Pressure Versus High Pressure Tube Hydroforming

In tube hydroforming, two methods are typically used. The only difference between the two are the pressures used and when they are applied. In high pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to high pressures (typically between 1500 and 2000 bars) only after being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. In low pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to a low pressure of between 120-180 bars before being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. According to Metal Working World Magazine, “The material does not collapse, taking the die shape, but simply it is uniformly stretched (thus avoiding the corrugations of the inner surface that are instead frequently present in the high pressure method), like in a pre-forming process.”

Be sure to contact us at American Hydroformers if you have any questions about what is hydroforming.

Hydroforming Versus Stamping

Hydroforming Versus Stamping

Hydroforming versus Stamping?  That is the question.

Metal stamping has been used in the production of consumer goods and products for a very long time. Some even believe that the history of metal stamping can be traced back to blacksmithing, tinsmithing, silversmithing, and so on. It’s a venerable, old method that deserves it place in history but is being outpaced rapidly by hydroforming.

Sheet metal hydroforming (and especially the deep draw and tubular techniques), as a means of manufacturing complex-shaped load-bearing parts, is relatively new by comparison. But as noted, is quickly becoming the chosen manufacturing staple of many industries for several specific parts, including the automobile, plumbing, and appliance.

The Manufacturing Process: Metal Stamping

Each item in the process is stamped out from a blank, using mechanical or hydraulic stamping lines, with a production rate of about 500 pieces an hour. Then, each component goes through the process of blanking, trimming, and forming of the die, which leaves an overall scrap waste of about 20 percent. Then finally, is ready for assembly by MIG or spot welding. The entire process takes about 60 hours per assembly.

The Manufacturing Process: Hydroforming

The same product going through the hydroforming process is started from a rolled tubular section. Which typically comes pre-cut to the desired length and end-cut for each component. Next, a computer numerically controlled (CNC) begins bending the tubes into the desired shape, which is then hydroformed by a hydraulic press. The component is then removed from the press, and trimmed if necessary (usually less than 10 percent waste, sometimes zero).

Overall Winner: Hydroforming

While metal stamping has many positives, and still has a place in production, the advantages of hydroforming are numerous, including:

  • Weight reduction
  • Part reduction
  • Cost-effective assembly and component costs
  • Cost-effective tooling costs
  • Greater strength (stiffness; rigidity)
  • Great dimensional (geometric) stability

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

Hydroforming DP 780 Steel Tubes

Hydroforming DP 780 Steel Tubes

The advancement in high strength steel can be seen by the use of hydroforming DP 780 Steel tubes . It provides an innovative technology that can not only lower the cost of steel frame fabrication, but also optimize industrial use. When the DP 780 tubes are hydroformed, they provide a lighter but stronger steel frame.

Below are the results according to an article explaining the strength of internal pressure for the end feed (EF) of hydroformed DP 780 tubes.

  • At zero  EF the average pressure burst was 70 MPa or 10,075psi
  • With an EF of 50%, the hydroformed DP 780 tubes could withstand an internal pressure of 151.7 MPa or 22,000psi

The dimensional capability of this steel will be the future in our automotive industry. The design flexibility along with the lower cost and increased strength using the hydroformed DP 780 tubing allows for improvement in crash-worthiness among motor vehicles.

In 2013 Ford introduced its new Ford Fusion vehicle featuring hydrofromed DP 780 tubes used for its B-pillar and A-pillar roof rails.  Ford’s technical leader, Shawn Morgan quotes from an article found in SAE international,

“Using hydroforming instead of hot-stamped welded sheet to create the     car’s roof-pillar structure reduced mass, saved cost, reduced the bill of     material, and helped improve the new Fusion’s crash performance.”

Environmentalists will also approve of this new found technology. The use of dual phase steel provides not only a stronger and lighter means of transportation, but also decreases the amount of carbon dioxide emission given off by those vehicles. The use of hydroforming the stronger, more versatile DP 780 tubes does so without sacrificing the passengers safety if an accident were to occur.

For more information on hydroforming DP 780 steel or it’s usage please contact us.

CAFE standards 2014: How Hydroforming Can Help

CAFE standards 2014: How Hydroforming Can Help

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were first enacted in by Congress in 1975, following the Arab Oil Embargo, as a way to improve the average fuel economy of the cars and light trucks — including trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles — that are sold in the United States. In recent years, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, has focused heavily on the CAFE standards, this time in order to decrease the U.S. reliance on foreign oil sources as well as to cut pollution.

The CAFE Standards 2014 state that a manufacturer’s annual fleet of vehicle production must meet the defined miles per gallon standard, which is increasing incrementally from year to year. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the standard is 35.2 mpg for passenger cars, 26.2 mpg for light trucks, and 31.4 mpg for combined cars and trucks. If the manufacturer fails to meet the standard as figured from the average mileage of the various vehicles they offer in the U.S., they will pay a penalty. The penalty is currently set at $5.50 USD per 0.1 mpg under the standard, multiplied by the manufacturer’s total production for the U.S. domestic market. A Gas Guzzler Tax is also assessed on individual passenger car models that get less than 22.5 miles per gallon. New standards are also being formu lated this year for medium- to heavy-duty trucks.

The weight of a vehicle certainly impacts its fuel efficiency, and that’s where tube hydroformers fit into the solution for increasing the miles per gallon on cars and trucks. High performance and race cars have relied on long tubular frame construction for quite some time because it is stronger and lighter than traditional stamped and welded assemblies. Now that knowledge is being applied to passenger vehicles and light trucks in order to effect improvements and meet the standards.

For more information about the CAFE standards 2014 and future years, or about our services for the automotive industry, contact us.

Tube Hydroforming Continues to Pioneer in Auto Manufacturing

Tube Hydroforming Continues to Pioneer in Auto Manufacturing

Tube hydroforming is continuing to be the lead manufacturer in parts for the automobile and bicycling industry, and it appears as if newly designed models for the 2015 line won’t be any different.

Because sheet and tube hydroformed parts are tensile, durable, and easy to produce, they have become a mainstay component in from everything in the automobile industry from the chassis, to headliners, to headlights, and more.

But more surprisingly, in the last few years, the bicycling industry has realized the potential for tube hydroformed frames because of their light-weight, all-in-one design that makes them perfect for all frame types, riding events, and cyclists.

So it is no wonder that when a car manufacturer like BMW realizes the potential in quality design and technique that they get in on the bicycle game. Which, according to their blog, is an entire line of bikes featuring hydroformed frames, in what they refer to as “clear-cut design meets pioneering technology.”

BMW is set to launch its latest generation of bikes in spring 2014. Like all vehicles produced by the BMW Group, the 2014 bicycle collection meets top standards in quality and design.

Featuring what BMW calls the “bull neck,” a one-of-a-kind frame design that would have never been possible before hydroforming because of excess weight from such a large form that would have burdened the bike and the rider.

As well as a “hydroformed frame [that] is robust and light, guaranteeing optimal efficiency by ensuring maximum power transfer with minimum effort,” that would not have been possible without hydroforming.

Hydroforming is leading the charge once again, and it’s only a matter of time that hydroformed parts begin to find homes in other industries that are looking for a cost-effective and waste-reductive process that yields quality parts that outlast many of its competitors. The future is bright for pioneers.

For more information on tube hydroforming, please contact us any time.

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

Though it is a relative newcomer, when compared side-by-side with the conventional process of stamping, tube hydroforming is quickly becoming a formidable technique for the automotive industry’s various uses and applications, among others.

But what is it about tube hydroforming that makes its quality superior to older techniques? The answer is in 5 aspects:

1. Stronger Result

After the production process is complete, a tube-shaped hydro formed part can support more weight, especially when compared to metal stamped parts. This remains true even when metal stamped parts are welded together in tube shapes. Further, less welds means a sturdier product that is less likely to fail under stress and pressure.

2. Weight Reduction

The finished tube hydroformed part or component weighs significantly less than its metal stamped counterparts. This makes it a prime candidate for industries (like the automobile industry) who seek fabrications that result in a product with a less density.

3. Cost-Effective

Tube hydroformed products cost less overall by comparison as well. Not just in terms of what its material consists of, but also in regards to how much scrap waste it creates, and manpower it takes to manufacture a hydroformed part. This cost is passed on to all parties involved in the hydroformed process.

4. Becoming Widely Used

While it is certain that the automobile industry has taken a tight hold upon tube hydroforming, it’s uses and benefits have been adapted in many markets and in multiple industries. Of late, bicycle manufacturing has picked up on the positive results from tube hydroforming, and have been producing lighter and stronger bicycles for use in leisure activities, and professional ventures.

5. The Future is Hydroforming

Over the last 15 years, tube hydroforming has gone from a relatively unknown fabrication process relegated to a small sector of manufacturers, to an engineering and a developing dream with wide variants and even wider uses. The limits of tube hydroforming have been pushed far past that of older techniques, like metal stamping, and continue to be used in new and exciting ways that many thought were not possible.

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

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.