Archive for the Hydroforming Industry Category

Deep Draw Hydroforming Process

Deep Draw Hydroforming Process

What is Sheet Metal Hydroforming?

Sheet metal hydroforming is a metal forming process that is achieved by applying force to sheet metal to alter its overall geometric shape as opposed to added or subtracting any materials. The applied force used in production alters the sheet metal’s yield strength, causing the metal to bend but not to cause failure. Sheet metal can be bent into many complex shapes by using this process.

A great example of how some sheet  hydroformers uses this deep draw hydroforming technique is below.

Deep Drawing

Deep draw hydroforming is a process of sheet metal hydroforming similar to most techniques, but differs in execution. Sheet metal is stretched and bent into a desired shape. This is done when a tool pushes down onto sheet metal, forcing it into a die cavity in a pre-set shape. The tensile force causes the metal to form into a cup shape.

The deep drawing process begins with a blank, a blank holder, a punch, and a die. The blank, or piece of sheet metal, is placed into the blank holder over top of the die. The cavity of which is the shape of the desired part. Then, a tool called a punch moves downward onto the blank and “draws,” or bends/stretches the part into the desired shape, but does not alter its strength.

The parts can have a variety of cross sections, and can have straight, tapered, or even curved walls, but the most common shapes are cylinders and rectangles. The deep draw process is most commonly used with ductile metals like aluminum, copper, and a mild steel. Some examples of deep draw parts are automotive bodies/frames, fuel tanks, cans, cups, kitchen sinks, and pots and pans.

For additional information on how we can help you contact us any time.

Metal Stamping: What to Expect from a Provider

Metal Stamping: What to Expect from a Provider

Coil Metal Stamping

In terms of metal stamping, for many suppliers, a statement that seems to be used most often when describing the service is one that usually involves savings in some way. An obvious selling point that definitely lures in customers. However, don;t be fooled by such simplicity. Savings isn’t, and shouldn’t be the end of your criteria. Engineering, innovation, willingness to help, and economics should also be on your list.

A stamping provider should work with you as a partner, creating solutions and ideas that benefit your project. They should be, as one news article has said, a “manufacturing partner.” How would they do so? By adding core elements of design and expertise that work with your ideas and add value through innovation.

For instance, say you have a part that requires metal stamping. Do you know when a part requires deep-draw metal processing (which requires a specialist), versus when a more traditional stamping process is required? If you answered no, that’s because you shouldn’t have to know. Let the experts decide which technique works best.

A metal stamping supplier should also be a solutions partner, and should have all of the necessary machinery to get the job done correctly and accurately. Not to mention stellar engineering capabilities that exceed quality standards in all facets of the process.

In all aspects of design, a quality stamping provider should partner with you and collaborate to decide what the best direction to proceed should be in regards to your (and your part’s) needs. There should be an open and honest two-way communication between you both so that all expectations are met, and exorbitant (and unnecessary) manufacturing costs can be kept at bay.

Your metal stamping provider should be an all-in-one, conclusive solution to all of your parts needs. They should add value to your project that goes beyond just your stamping needs, and should be willing to work to meet your goals and deadlines.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact our experts to discuss how we can help you with all of your metal stamping solutions or an alternative to metal stamping in the form of tube hydroforming.

 

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.

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

There has been a significant growth in hydroforming, as workers in the automotive industry are taking steps back to examine all of their options. The stepping back process involves examining all of the available options in an effort to find an affordable and efficient process. Tube hydroforming can produce much stronger components than the traditional methods. Tube hydroforming has been around for a significant number of years, but the usage has been mainly for simple shapes.

Tube hydroforming involves expanding the metal tubes into a certain shape. The shape is formed by using two die halves. When the parts are created using this kind of method, parts are more efficient because you the welding process will be eliminated. Parts that are created with this method will have a significant number of benefits, such as:

  • Part reduction
  • Weight reduction
  • Flexibility in the design/engineering
  • Seamless bonding
  • Increase in the strength of the parts
  • The ability to have better quality surfaces
  • Bending rigidity
  • Overall quality in the parts/Class A finishing

Most of the attention that is brought up during hydroforming is the focus on strength and weight, as well as the reduction of parts being used. In many cases, hydroforming can be the only method used to create a special geometry. It is expected for tubes support to load strongly and smoothly than the stamp sheets. Designers and engineers are figuring out when to apply tube hydroforming. As a result, new ideas and capabilities are being put together. Hydroforming will continue to be used to create more parts as the improvement of design options continues.

The high-profile applications have been used in the automotive industry because the benefits from tube hydroforming are highly value to vehicles. However, tube hydroforming can be used in any kind of industry for a number of different structural applications. When you change from your previous method to tube hydroforming, you will get great benefits that will be worth the switch.

Determining when to use tube hydroforming will not be easy, but at the right time your company can improve its performance and remain in the competitive automotive industry race.

For more on tube hydroforming, 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.

American Hydroformers Laser Cutting Applications

American Hydroformers Laser Cutting Applications

In terms of material processing here at American Hydroformers, laser cutting is one of the many applications in use. It allows us to quickly and easily cut flat-sheet material in addition to piping and structural materials.

Because laser cutting is one of the most a state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies used in industrial metal forming techniques, we can achieve a high-quality surface finish that is unmatched by other cutting techniques.

Type of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting can be broken into three types, two of which work the same:

  • CO2 lasers, like fast axial flow, slow axial flow, transverse flow, and slab. This type of laser cutting is normally used in boring, engraving, and straight cutting. CO2 lasers work when electric is “pumped” through a gas mix or radio frequency (DF-excited and RF-excited, respectively).
  • Neodymium (Nd) and neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Nd-YAG) lasers, which are similar in style, but differ in overall application. Nd is mostly used for boring because of its high energy and its low rate of repetition. Whereas the Nd-YAG laser is used when a very-high power is needed. Both can also be used in welding.

Laser Cutting Advantages

The advantages to laser cutting versus something like plasma cutting are numerous. They include:

  • Reduced contamination of workpieces due to a lack of a cutting edge which, in turn, has the potential to become contaminated by the material it’s cutting.
  • Increased precision because a laser beam can not wear.
  • Because lasers have a lower “heat-affected zone,” the chance of warping the material is lessened dramatically.
  • The ability to cut materials with precision that may not have been able to cut previously due to their hardness and thickness.

Currently, AHI emplyes 3 different laser cells.  We operate 2 3-dimensional 5-axis lasers and one Trumpf sheet laser cutter.

For more information on hydroforming, laser cutting, and other metal fabricating solutions, please contact us any time.

New Vehicles That Have Benefited from Hydroforming

New Vehicles That Have Benefited from Hydroforming

By now, you know that hydroforming is one of the most innovative and ground-breaking methods used to manufacture. Its meteoric rise to greatness has been documented by its progress to redefine how industries from all over the world produce. Something that can be seen most obviously in the automobile industry, where the hydroforming of parts has revolutionized everything from headliners to frames.

So in light of all of the modern uses of hydroforming, we thought we’d show you a few new vehicles that have benefited from hydroformed parts across the world.

2014 GMC Sierra HD: As GMC’s now “broadest truck,” engineers redesigned the Sierra HD with a huge, road-hugging wheelbase, wider front and rear tracks, and a powerful Vortec 6.0L V8 engine. But most impressive to us is the frame. The rigid design and use of high strength steel and a hydroformed front section for added lightness, makes the Sierra first in its class in towing capacity.

2015 Ford F-150: Not to be outdone by General Motors, Ford’s new F-150 aims to overtake the light truck industry by featuring, perhaps, the lightest constructed frame and body ever. Here’s how: the body, aluminum (first of its kind); parts of the frame, hydroformed for weight reduction. The new F-150 is still in pre-production, but engineers say there should be no delay on its release.

Ferrari LaFerrari F-12: For your hypercar enthusiasts, the latest from Ferrari offers throttle beyond your dreams: 950 horsepower. Oh, and the thing we’re proud of most, a hydroformed exhaust. A feature that no doubt gives the Italian hypercar less weight to contend with as it hurls itself around a track at 120 mph. Or as one writer said:

The noise, the excitement, the sheer, blistering speed, the spread of ability in being so usable on the road and such a missile on track. The LaFerrari is a triumph.

And hydroforming played a part.

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

American Hydroformers, Inc. tube hydroforming process to be Featured on “How It’s Made”

American Hydroformers, Inc. tube hydroforming process to be Featured on “How It’s Made”

American Hydroformers, in conjunction with the film crew from the Discovery Channel’s popular “How It’s Made” television program, recently wrapped up filming a segment at their Fort Wayne, Indiana facilities featuring the tube hydroforming process. The company and its hydroforming facilities will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Discovery Channels documentary television series “How It’s Made.” The segment will provide a compelling and comprehensive behind the scenes look at the tube hydroforming process. Viewers will be given the opportunity to see the hydroforming process for themselves as well as learn more information about the industry in general. The show will offer a step by step demonstration of the tube hydroforming process as well as an explanation of its uses and current industry examples. This informative segment will air in 2014 on the Science Channel/Discovery Channel.

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.
American Hydroformers’ internal high pressure hydroforming press system is more efficient and versatile for parts with complex geometries and extensive secondary operations than traditional manufacturing methods. In addition to hydroformed components, we offer complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, industrial laser cutting and stencil work, as well as tube forming.

The Discovery Channels “How It’s Made” is a documentary television program that presents behind the scene perspective from factories and manufacturing facilities from around the world. The program demonstrates how raw materials and supplies are transformed into everyday objects. Shows range from typical household items to more complex manufacturing processes.

History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming has been one of the most cost effective methods of forming and shaping metals for decades. Several variations of hydroforming methods have come about over the years, each serving a different purpose.

In tube hydroforming, there are two widely recognized practices; high pressure and low pressure. During the high pressure process, the tube to be shaped is enclosed in a die before pressurization begins. Previously known as the Variform process, the low pressure method starts by the tube being pressurized to a pre-determined volume during the closing of the die. The tube is held in place and sealed at both ends by axial punches. The axials on both sides are moveable, this movement being required in the process to provide axial compression, and to feed material towards the center of the tube. In both methods, hydrolic fluid is pushed into the tube through one of the punches, increasing the pressure within until the tube expands outwards and the desired shape is reached.

Historically, the tube hydroforming process was patented in the 50’s. However, it wasn’t until the 70’s that the process was widely used in an industrial scale. Back then, it was used for the production of large T-shaped joints for the oil and gas industry. Today, tube hydroforming is an important part in the automotive industry where many important applications can be found. Tube hydroforming is also the method of choice for the tubular bodies of bicycles, and the various components of motorcycles.

Since its inception in the 50’s tube hydroforming has been an essential part of the manufacturing industry. If you would like to know more about hydroforming and it’s variations, feel free to visit our website or contact us.

Tube Hydroforming Is the Future for the Automobile Industry

Tube Hydroforming Is the Future for the Automobile Industry

With a growing demand for light-weight materials that still support variable weight-distribution, tube hydroforming is becoming a leader in the automobile manufacturing industry.

Tube hydroforming is the future in the production of automobiles because of its ability to be bent and molded into complex parts and shapes without the necessity for welds. In turn, what is created is a single “uni-body” design that has a high “strength-to-weight” ratio, or its specific strength.

The specific strength is calculated by dividing the materials strength by its density. This is also known as its breaking length, for which tubular hydroformed products is very high.

Production Comparison

For comparison of production, there are still many automakers that rely on the seemingly primitive process of stamping out sheets of metal that are then bound together through welding. This includes the production of the chassis, suspension, engine block harness, and so on. Not only can this be more expensive and time-consuming, the chances for breakage increase with every welded joint.

Whereas the hydroformed technique uses high pressure that essentially forces ductile metal into the desired shape quickly and easily. This process is more cost-effective, requires less manpower, and produces a superior product that is both stronger and more long-lasting.

The Future 

Having first been used nearly 30 years ago, tubular hydroforming is quickly becoming a worthy challenger to the old way of metal stamping. It continues to promise more simplified modules, weight reduction and distribution, improved hardness, and an overall structural strength that is vastly superior to its predecessor. It’s only a matter of time before this process of design and engineering is adopted and used more widely.

For more information on hydroforming, contact us any time.