Archive for the Hydroforming Industry Category

Hydroformed Components Make Trucks Stronger, Faster, and Better

Hydroformed Components Make Trucks Stronger, Faster, and Better

We’ve talked in length before about how hydroformed components used in the automobile industry have helped to change the entire process.

Every few months or so, we like to update our readers on some vehicles that have reaped the most benefit from hydroforming. We do this for several reasons, but most of all we are proud of our contribution to this ever-growing industry, one that is literally “re-shaping” how the auto industry functions.

It’s a large, more macro example of what some experts have called: ultra low-cost car market.

Several cost reduction factors are taken into consideration while designing an ultra low-cost car… for space and weight saving [there is the]… absence of radio, air conditioner and passenger side mirror, seats with integrated head rest… and extensive use of hydroforming and roll forming…

So while major auto manufacturers like Ford and Chevy aren’t quite in line with eliminating just about everything from their “features” list, what they are doing is utilizing innovative techniques like hydroforming to make their trucks better and easier to assemble.

Heavy duty trucks like the F-150 and the Silverado HD both share in common a wide use of hydroformed parts.

For example, one of the countries best-selling trucks in the country, the Chevy Silverado, has extensive hydroformed framing and roll forming. Both of which improve weight, steering, handling, security, and comfort while contributing to torque and towing capability. Meanwhile the Ford F-150 contains hydroformed components throughout.

In both cases, to some small degree, hydroforming is contributing to the “low-cost car market.” Not only is it allowing manufacturers to pay less to design and execute, it passes that savings to the vehicle purchaser. It’s just another way innovation changes our world for the better and makes our lives easier.

For more information on how hydroformed products are changing the world’s industries, or how we can help you, please contact us any time.

Next Generation Metal Stamping to Grow Significantly Worldwide Over Next Decade

Next Generation Metal Stamping to Grow Significantly Worldwide Over Next Decade

We here at American Hydroformers are big proponents for the metal stamping industry. What began long ago as a means to bolster the manufacturing process into a single stage operation, has come a long way in all those years.

This is evident thanks to a new report outlining the continued growth of the metal stamping global market. Wherein, the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) will rise to 3.02% over the period 2014-2019.

From an article on the continued growth of metal stamping:

The emergence of next generation metal stamping has gained increased traction in the market. Next generation metal stamping helps form metals without using dies. Designing dies is a costly and time-consuming process. Next generation metal stamping helps save time and costs for companies.

A savings that helps lend to the global manufacturers, and then finally to the consumer. By eliminating the extra steps in the metal stamping process, as well as seeking ways for optimal automation, the metal stamping process has reached some of the greatest (and reduced) operational times possible.

The key manufacturer in this equation is the automotive industry, whose increased need for stamped metal and hydroformed products has increased significantly over the last several years, with parts like fenders, headliners, side and quarter panels, exhausts, brake shoes, valves, and hangers leading the charge.

Further, with more and more industries in need of quality, metal stamped products, and the continued need for innovative and above standard design, the market has a strong potential to expand past the prospective end of 2019.

Global manufacturers who currently use metal stamped and hyrdroformed products are setting a worldwide standard for sought after excellence and quality. Meaning, that as more and more create top-notch quality, others will soon want the same result, a factor that could push the boundaries to even greater heights.

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

Deep Draw Hydroforming Aids in Medical Device Manufacturing

Deep Draw Hydroforming Aids in Medical Device Manufacturing

It has long been established that deep draw hydroforming is a technology that has staying power. The process in which deep draw hydorforming follows makes it a powerful solution for a variety of manufacturing industries, helping to set a future path for how many things are made.

It was recently reported recently that deep draw hydoforming is now fostering the production of medical devices. Stating that the process was “ideal” for production of this type.

From the article:

An innate ability to foster rapid prototyping, inexpensive product development, and low-volume, high-mix production makes sheet hydroforming ideal for medical device manufacturing.

Additionally, according to the report, deep draw hydroforming brings several unique advantages to the production of medical device fabrication, no matter the material in which it is made (aluminum or steel).

– Tooling advantages. Parts can be manufactured quicker and with less lead time. Meaning that, along side various structural benefits, parts require less manufacturing time after the prototype design is established.

– Improved, stronger parts. Because the tooling process allows devices to be made of materials that work together mutually and beneficially, parts can be produced out of materials that better suit the needs of the user.

– A wider range of part designs. Parts that would normally require multiple, complex angles (and even negative angles) are formed easily.

– Skilled labor not required. Because of the artisan-ship and skill that once went into sheet hydroforming, it was as much an art as a trade. But as the article points out:

Modern systems allow for precise control over both the diaphragm pressure and, on deep draw models, punch position… This infinite control… along with the ability to save proven recipes for future access, leads to rapid new part development and greater part consistency due to the repeatable nature of the process.

– Forming simulations hit benchmark. Forming simulation suites make the process more simple and user-friendly on the front end. Like looking at a recipe and adding ingredients.

Sheet and deep draw hydroforming assist in adding an advantage to a broad spectrum of industries, and we’re proud to be on the cutting edge of the future alongside it. For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.

Report Says: Metal Stamping to Increase Thanks to Auto Industry

Report Says: Metal Stamping to Increase Thanks to Auto Industry

Metal stamping is a very important process to the manufacturing of automobiles. It plays host and is integral to a broad range of parts and finished goods. It transforms flat sheets of metal into recognizable (and useful) products in cars, SUV’s, and trucks, and will soon be on the increase thanks to supply and demand.

From a write-up on the recent report thanks to Virtual-Strategy Magazine, which takes just a small cross-section out of the gigantic and imposing original analysis:

Growth in the market is influenced largely by the demand for manufactured durable goods… any increase in demand for manufactured durable goods warrants their increased production… the auto industry represents a prominent end-use market with growth supported by the projected rise in demand for automobiles and automobile parts and components…

Benefiting most of all, perhaps, is hydroforming companies like us that make use of aluminum sheets to manufacture light-weight automobile parts that exist in every aspect of the vehicle, as is noted further by the report.

The source report, which can be found here and is titled Metal Stampings, Forgings, and Castings: A Global Strategic Business Report, details the growth of industries impacted by things like the growth of metal stamping, provides a comprehensive review of market trends, categorizes innovation and expansions, and outlines global market activities. Including estimates and projections from every manufacturing country in the world.

Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the publisher and researcher for the report, which was founded in 1987 and publishes over 1500 research reports annually, says that the growth can be measured in dollars, and when it’s all said in done (by the year 2020) that dollar amount could be upwards of US$472.2 billion.

We’re thankful that we can help to play a part in this resurgence of American made products, and are proud that a process that we helped to perfect will help our country and our industry succeed.

For more information on us or how we can help you, further documentation on how the metal stamping process can benefit your company, or to take a virtual tour of the hydroforming process, please contact us any time.

Aluminum Hydroforming Outperforming Steel Stamping

Aluminum Hydroforming Outperforming Steel Stamping

Hydroforming aluminum products has been around for the last few decades in some for or another. In the beginning, it was perfected to manufacture lightweight parts for the automotive industry as cars strayed away from heavier models and progressed towards more economical and efficient versions. But has since branched out to several other industries.

The advantages of aluminum hydroforming are numerous. Including weight reduction, vastly improved design flexibility, space reduction science, reduced jointing, less “downstream processing,” and a large impact on dimensional performance.

By replacing steel with aluminum, advanced hydroforming techniques could be applied to some of the most trusted and widely-used hydroforming methods. Aluminum sheeting, once added to the materials rotation, significantly impacted the stamping application, opening the door for advanced products and design. Then, as the automotive industry began to rapidly request more lightweight products, hydroforming adapted along side it.

As a basic rule that is typically agreed on by experts, and is used as an outline for aluminum hydroforming, there are three factors that contribute to the characteristics of aluminum extrusions.

They are:

Elongation: Most think that aluminum, being a lighter, more malleable material, would exhibit greater formable features than steel. This is contrary to the truth. In fact, steel is more formable than aluminum, but is obviously more weighty. Thus, the elongation factor is paramount to aluminum’s performance and usability over steel in addition to weight.

Materials: That is, alloys and tempers. Aluminum comes in a large variety of both of these characteristics, but the most widely sought after is a material that is strong and stable. Something that aluminum can have trouble with if close attention is not paid.

Shapes: A huge factor for aluminum’s growth in hydroforming is its ability to be formed into a large amount of shapes and sizes. Further, the cross sections that aluminum comes in out rivals steel in every regard (steel typically only comes in one: round).

Using aluminum in the hydroforming process has, and will continue to change how the technique is done. As major industries continue to evolve, so will how products are used, and how they benefit everyone involved.

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

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.