The welding technique, friction stir welding, was developed almost 30 years ago in 1991. Although it was invented many years ago, it has seen a high rise in demand over the past few years. One of the main reasons that friction stir welding has seen such a massive increase is due to the rising demand for greater strength and durability in applications.
Archive for the Metal Fabrication Category
Lauded as the most significant innovation in metal joining in the last decade, Friction Stir Welding (FSW) introduces a solid-state joining process that is environmentally friendly, versatile, and energy efficient. FSW outperforms conventional fusion welding by joining aerospace aluminum alloys, and other metallic alloys, that are high-strength. The significance of this advancement is that aerospace aluminum alloys, like 2XXX and 7XXX series, have been classified as virtually non-weldable with conventional welding processes because of porosity and microstructure solidification behavior. Resistance welding can be performed on aluminum alloys, however, surface preparation has to be performed, which is expensive and surface oxide becomes a problem.
Here at American Hydroformers, we pride ourselves in keeping current with industry trends. That is just one of the many reasons why people to trust us with their high-temperature metal gas forming needs.
Although your average American probably has not heard of high metal gas forming, that does not mean they have not taken advantage of products made possible (or made better) through it. Those of us in the industry know better. We recognize that the vast majority of us would lead less comfortable and convenient lives without high-temperature metal gas forming.
Although the process of high-temperature metal gas forming may not be common knowledge, most people benefit from this process on a daily basis. They just don’t know that they do.
In 2015, Ford’s F-150 was the first high-volume vehicle produced with an aluminum frame, reducing the F-150’s weight by 700 pounds. Since then, the need for strong, lightweight material is driving a significant increase in the use of hydroformed aluminum to make automobiles that are both fuel and cost efficient while retaining key safety features.
The birth of hydroforming has brought with it many advantages. When compared to mainstream production techniques, hydroforming has proved itself to be effective, quick, reliable and capable of outperforming products manufactured with standard conventional processes. Nevertheless, the close counterpart of hydroforming, high-temperature metal gas forming, is on the rise and has shown itself to be just as powerful.
At American Hydroformers we recently obtained and implemented a new Faro Edge Scan Arm HD that enables enhanced product development, inspection, and quality control. As a 3D scanning and probing device, the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD provides capabilities such as rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, 3D modeling and rapid point cloud collection and comparison. Ideal for scanning challenging materials, the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD also allows for contact and non-contact measurements.
- Rapid Scanning Speed
- High Definition Data
- Up to 2,000 Points per Scan Line
- Fast Frame Rates
- Scan Challenging Materials
- Highly Accurate and Repeatable
- Contact & Non-Contact Measurements
Acquiring this new Faro Edge Scan Arm HD will allow American Hydroformers to probe virtually any part or tube and collect all of the data needed to reproduce it. With up to 2,000 actual points per scan line, extreme resolution and high accuracy, we are able to reproduce even the most intricate parts and components. The actual setup of the scanning arm features an extra wide scan stripe as well as fast frame rates. This allows for increased productivity with the large coverage area and the reducing scanning times.
In addition to the Faro Edge Scan Arm HD, our in-house capabilities also include the utilization of AutoForm Hydro simulation software as well as FEA simulations. Our team of engineers are trained and regularly updated on this software which provides a comprehensive understanding and analysis of the entire hydroforming process. By employing this software in-house and utilizing the simulation process, we supply our customers with rapid verification, shorter development time, and improved process reliability.
- Easily Identify Forming Issues
- Rapid Tool Design
- Accurate Springback Simulation
- Quality & Cost Improvements
- Reduced Development Time
- Improved Reliability
- Lower Material & Production Costs
By enabling better price controls and reduced tooling expense, American Hydroformers provides a cost-effective source for part production. 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 American Hydroformers to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE) standard enacted in 2014 imposes fuel efficiency and green house gas emission standards on the manufacturers of cars and medium and heavy-duty trucks. These standards get progressively stricter every year, with costly fines imposed for every car or truck model that fails to meet them. Cars must improve performance by 37% and trucks by 23% every year.
Generally speaking, automakers have been beating the CAFE standard every year. It’s in the interests of the manufacturers to build lighter and more efficient vehicles while maintaining high safety standards. How do the manufacturers manage to do that? The goals are achieved by improving engine and transmission technologies, body aerodynamics that reduce air resistance at high speeds, tires with lower rolling resistance, and very importantly parts that reduce weight.
Weight reducing manufacturing technologies:
- Hydroforming technologies can shape aluminum, brass, steel and stainless steel into complex, hollow forms which are lightweight and structurally stiff and strong.
- Hydroformed parts eliminate most of the heavy welding required in conventional parts assembly.
- Using hydroforming technology in manufacture produces structures with fewer separate parts and fewer heavy welds and joints.
- Hydroforming uses dies capable of high precision, able to meet the exacting tolerances of aircraft parts.
- Replacing sheet metal bending and joining with hydroforming eliminates multiple welds and draw marks produced by the traditional method of pressing a male and female die together.
A typical example of the benefit of hydroforming is cited by Professor Muammer Ko, of the Virginia Commonwealth University. Prof. Koe talked about an aluminum radiator support for a passenger car.
- The stamped manufacture process requires 17 unique parts weighing a total of 16.5 kilograms.
- The hydroformed part is comprised of 10 parts and weighs 11.5 kilograms (a 30% weight savings).
The hydroforming process can produce structurally stiff and stable parts out of materials that are lighter in weight but able to replace stamped parts made with heavier materials.
- When an aluminum part replaces a steel or cast-iron part, it means a weight reduction of 40% to 60%.
- Warm hydroforming greatly increases the formability of lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium, greatly increasing the possible range of hydroformed parts manufacturing.
Although stamping and welding have not gone away, increasing proportions of the automotive production has gone to hydroforming.
American Hydroformers engineers and manufactures tube hydroformed parts for the automotive industry out of Midwestern facility. Please contact us for more information.
U.S. manufacturing in the new tech age has brought with it many advances for those involved in the industries of metal stamping and hydroforming.
However, at the same time, it has continued to hinder growth across many industries, even though the dollar is strong, and the cost of oil per barrel is low.
For example, in states where manufacturing is intrinsically linked to automotive industry (like Ohio), there has been a strong showing, perhaps because of the industries tendency to diversify.
In Cleveland, according to a recent news article related to Cleveland manufacturing, companies like TimkinSteel Corp. and City Plating have been steady on the rise over the last few years.
As TimkinSteel Corp. spokesman, Joe Milicia, said in an email:
“We are feeling the effects of a strong dollar and a U.S. rig count that’s down more than 50-percent.”
So while many industries (in every state — not just Ohio) can pinpoint successes and failures throughout the year, the truth is that not every company sees a strong dollar as a bounty for growth.
Is hydroforming different?
Yes. Absolutely, in fact.
For those in the metal stamping and hydroforming industries, opportunities are abound. From things like LED and solar manufacturing in Ohio to automotive and aerospace in the Midwest, metal stamping and hydroforming adapt and advance.
Which, as the numbers will attest, prove that business is booming, and growth this year will lend to additional growth in the following years.
By continuing to focus on high-growth markets, hydroforming and metal stamping thrive in spite of negative factors that pervade other industries.
One could say that, growth is a slow-grind, but as long as there is formidable planning and need, manufacturers in the hydroforming sectors are verging on recession-proof.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.