Archive for the Hydroforming Industry Category

How the CAFE Standards Influence Engineering & Design

How the CAFE Standards Influence Engineering & Design

We were all taught about idealized cantilever beams in college.  Little did we know then, that even the simplest of parts have their own histories, and are affected by things as seemingly out of place as government regulations.

For example.. Let’s say you are awarded some new business.  Your client wants a simple bracket – The length is 20″, and it is supporting a concentrated load 500 pounds at the end.  The other end is mechanically grounded to a 5″x5″ patch.  The safety factor with respect to yield must be greater than three.  And the maximum deflection must be no greater than 1/4″.

You bring this to your design engineer, and they return with a simple rod with appropriate attachments at either end. All good and well.

Six months go by.  You client, an automotive manufacturer, informs you that due to ever constrictive standards imposed on them (and therefore, you) by the Federal Government’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations, your old design must meet the same design constraints, but be lighter.

“How much lighter?,” you ask.

“The lighter the better,” they answer.  “Oh, and by the way – we’ve added a design constraint:  You need to keep the first resonant frequency greater than 200 Hertz.”

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the now the end load is smaller.

You agree, and take the new requirements to your design team.  They come back with a tube design.

This happens every year for a few more years.  The CAFE requirements force progressively lighter designs.  Customers (and therefore, the client) are increasingly pressuring to keep costs down.  The form of the design becomes more distinctive over time.

After several design cycles, the constraints overwhelm your design team.  It is apparent that a simple tube design will no longer meet project requirements.  You decide to quarantine your team for a few hours, so that everyone can brainstorm about how to stay in the good graces of the client, by helping them stay in the good graces of the government.

Some interesting things come out of that exercise.  None of them are feasible.

Everyone has contributed to the discussion except one.  He’s the young, quiet guy in the back.  He looks a little embarrassed.  You convince him to spit out whatever he’s thinking.  And so he does.

It seems that when he was in school, he attended a tour of a hydroforming factory.  He tells you that this would be an ideal application for hydroforming manufacturing.  Hydroforming for example, would allow you to put ribs in your tube – something that can’t be done with conventional forming.  You’d have the extra stiffness without the extra material.

Naturally, you need to farm this out to hydroforming specialists.  As it turns out, it was a good decision.  Your VP even tells you so (happily), at your next yearly review.

Here at American Hydroformers, we are in the business of bringing success to automotive companies struggling to meet the demands of the consumer, the customer, and the government’s CAFÉ standards.  For more information on how our hydroforming solutions can help your company keep current with the cafe standards, please contact us.

Deep Draw Hydroforming Innovations

Deep Draw Hydroforming Innovations

September brought glad tidings in the world of deep draw hydroforming. Not only have power player Beckwood Press Company announced improvements in the area of low-volume, high-mix production, but it was also confirmed that they will be exhibiting and presenting educational sessions at the upcoming FABTECH 2014.

Innovations

While working to solve a problem for one of their clients, they recently built and installed a Triform deep draw press that featured a 25″ diameter forming area, 10,000 PSI of pressure, and a 12″ draw capacity. The client is pleased, and Beckwood is proud of its work:

“We are proud to announce the installation, and successful training and ramp up of another Triform deep draw hydroforming application this year,” said Beckwood President, Jeffrey Debus. “Our engineering team provided a machine with advanced forming capability, faster forming time, and a reduced reliance on skilled labor; and our support team provided the training and assistance the client needed to get their operators up to speed and working with the press on an expert level within days of installation” (Today’s Medical Developments)

FABTECH 2014 Sessions

It was announced through the PR Web that Beckwood would bring their industry-leading designs and Triform expertise to FABTECH 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to giving an hour-long session, Beckwood and Triform will be available in the exhibition hall, where they will display their new 30-ton custom deep draw hydroforming hydraulic press, featuring some of the latest control technologies that they have developed.

Parties interested in attending the event should seek more information directly from FABTECH here.

For more information about deep draw hydroforming or anything else hydroforming related, please feel free to contact us.

What is tube hydroforming and how is it used?

What is tube hydroforming and how is it used?

One of the questions we get asked a lot about our business is: what is tube hydroforming and how is it used?

In order to understand tube hydroforming, perhaps one should first understand hydroforming. Hydroforming is a fabricating process in which metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum or brass is shaped. Tube hydroforming is one of the two types of hydroforming. This type of hydroforming uses two die halves in order to expand a metal tube into a shape. The process was first patented in the 1950s, but didn’t become widely used until the 1970s. It replaced the older process of stamping two part halves and welding them together.

Hydroforming is a more efficient process than stamping, as it eliminates the welding and allows for more intricate shapes to be formed. Tube hydroforming is readily used in the automotive sector as well as for use in the tubular parts of bicycles, motorcycles, musical instruments and other innovative designs such as stainless steel water bottles. In vehicles, tube hydroforming is most often seen in the manufacture of engine cradles. It is also found in suspension, radiator supports, and instrument panel support beams. The framing around the Harley Davidson motorcycle engine is made through the tube hydroforming process. Yamaha saxophones also use the process.

American Hydroformers is not restricted to the use of circular or round tube stock, but rather can use any tube profile. Hydroforming can be done on standard tube diameters of up to 5″ with a wall thickness of up to 5 mm. However, it is possible to meet customer specifications on dimensions with rounds and other shapes.

For more information about hydroforming and the other services that American Hydroformers offers, contact us.

How American Hydroformers Can Serve You

How American Hydroformers Can Serve You

Who We Are

American Hydroformers is a high pressure hydroforming company that began in 2003. Based in the heart of America, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, American Hydroformers specializes in the hydroform tube forming process. We conduct, oversee, and perform the tube forming process in all of its various stages from the beginning to the end. Resulting in a superior product unrivaled by others in the field.

We also provide metal fabricating solutions that utilize the most advanced techniques available today. Including hydraulic press work, laser cutting, deep draw hydroforming, sheet hydroforming, metal stamping, among many others.

Industries We Serve

Appliances: The handles for appliances that we fabricate are stronger and more ergonomic. They are often featured on new ovens and refrigerators because of their sleek, polished appearance, and can be molded into many different designs.

Automotive: The automobile industry benefits greatly from our hydroformed products because they are lighter, stronger, and stiffer than traditionally-designed parts.

Diesel Exhaust: Because of recent EPA regulations on how exhaust systems produce emissions, the trucking industry sought out hydroformed products because of their ability to be made smaller and stronger, while still meeting regulations.

Plumbing: Plumbing hydroformed products are catching on very quickly. This is because hydroformed plumbing products are more versatile than traditional fixtures, and are a designer’s dream.

Equipment

The hydroforming equipment that we use is state-of-the art and modern. We are able to provide precision craftsmanship through our laser and plasma-cutting machines, and our stamping/hydraulic presses can fabricate all parts and pieces economically and with ease.

For more on our equipment, click here.

For more on hydroforming, you can watch our video detailing the process. For more information on how we can help you, please contact us if you have any questions or would like to request a quote.

Aerospace Sheet Hydroforming Cuts Manufacturing Time

Aerospace Sheet Hydroforming Cuts Manufacturing Time

A prominent leader in hydraulic press and automation sheet hydroforming systems named Beckwood Press Company, has produced a hydroforming press especially catered to aerospace industry parts supplier, Steelville Manufacturing Co, according to an article on digitaljournal.com which outlines the mutually beneficial deal between the two:

The bladder-forming press provides Steelville dramatically increased forming capability, and features a 24″ forming area and 5,000 PSI of forming pressure.

Steelville Manufacturing Co. (located in Steelville, Missouri and formed in 1959), is a parts supplier for many large US aerospace companies, including leaders in the industry like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, among others.

They collaborated with Beckwood Press Co. after the two decided that the speed in which their internal forming capability and overall parts production efficiency was functioning, could easily be increased through the addition of Triform Sheet Hydroforming press.

Triform Sheet Hydroforming equipment provides even and accurate pressure, which greatly reduces production time, and all but eliminates manual hand-work.

Not mention next to no maintenance requirements, which mainly consists of a bladder change process that takes roughly an hour to complete. And because of the size and design of the Triform Sheet Press, the space it occupies on the production floor is minimal.

Before Beckwood and Steeleville collaborated together, Steelville was mainly press brake forming their parts. But since March, when the Triform 24-5BD began operation at their facility, Steelville has already seen a positive impact on all manufacturing operations.

According to Joseph Dust, one of Steelville Manufacturing Co.’s chief engineers who was in charge of the Triform press integration, they had been manufacturing parts for a very long time, which they soon came to find out were almost tailor-made for the Triform press.

The addition of the [press] definitely makes forming parts much easier, [and] the overall time required to make our form tools has been cut in half.

Adding that, just over the first few weeks the Triform press was in operation, they had already produced well over 10 parts, all with reduced manual labor and costs. A timeframe that would have typically seen a part production count of next to 5, or even less.

For additional information on the Triform Sheet Hydroforming Press, click here.

For more details on the collaboration between the two companies, click here.

For more information on how American Hydroformers can help you, to request a free quote, or for related information on how the hydroforming process can revolutionize how you do business, please contact us any time.

Aluminum Hydroforming Leaves Its Mark

Aluminum Hydroforming Leaves Its Mark

As automotive and mountain-biking companies begin to roll out sneak peeks at their 2015 lineups, it is becoming increasingly apparent just how much new advancements in hydroforming aluminum have affected both industries overall. This is pleasing because since aluminum is lighter than carbon and stainless steel, the use of hydroformed aluminium in car parts has opened new vistas of possibilities for increased effectiveness and decreased weight.

Take for example the 2015 lineup from the German biking company Merida. According to a recent article, next year’s lineup boasts more aluminium than ever, including a new Reacto aero bike featuring a very special frame:

The frame in question is made from hydroformed triple-butted 6066 aluminium with a tapered head tube and an integrated seat clamp like you’ll find on the carbon models. It looks like a high-quality piece of work in a very good grade of alloy (road.cc).

Looking beyond the world of cycling to the automotive realm, we see that Ford has certainly taken advantage of new opportunities provided by aluminum hydroforming.

Proof of this can be easily witnessed in their new 2015 line, which includes an all-aluminum body for its new F-150. In fact, the new F-150 was a recent spotlight by Ford’s purchasing chief Hau Thai-Tang, citing that the vehicle is the the first pickup with an aluminum body. As a result, it is on average about sixty pounds lighter. The F-150 still incorporates a steel frame, however, for improved rigidity (Auto News).

With new advancements being made all the time in the area of aluminium hydroforming, we look forward to many more companies taking advantage of these techniques to provide vehicles and machinery that are not only lighter and more durable but are also more cost-effective.

For more information about this or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

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.

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.