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.
Archive for the Metal Fabrication Category
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.
Many aspects about manufacturing remain the same for decades. So many regular processes designed solely to fabricate are rarely altered because change costs money, and so often those in charge don’t levy for deviation because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The evidence of this type of thinking on our industry, however, is usually scant and lacking. In the world of hydroforming, innovation is part of our reality. We have spent many years designing and scheming for the future; we welcome forward-thought and progress.
For instance, take a look at metal stamping and how it has changed. To most untrained people, the process is simply a few lines of work, pushing materials, and stamping forms. It seems simple, though it really isn’t.
A great example of metal stamping innovation comes from a company on the East Coast called Intricate. They have, among other things, perfected the art of high-speed metal stamping.
From this write-up, it proves that with some extra effort and willingness to exceed previous expectations, hydroforming and metal stamping can go very far with a measured amount of success.
Company innovations include manufacturing speeds up to 1,500 strokes per minute, modular and carbide tooling, and multiple-out manufacturing.
With these types of progressions in the metal stamping field, the positives for consumers reaches new heights. By increasing the strokes per minute, Intricate has shown that metal stamping continues to be a viable source of production.
Add to that state-of-the-art machines, and a core group of people who care incredibly about what they do, and you have a recipe for success and a future full of solid enterprise and progression.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.
Whenever you are working on a project, no matter how big or how small, you should always look for the best possible way to make the project successful. When you want the project done correctly, it does not mean you can take the easy way or the quickest way to get it done.
If you are looking for a design for a tubular metal part, you may be scratching your head while you look for the best possible way to manufacture it. Well, whether you know it or not, you have a significant amount of options and solutions.
One of those options is hydroforming. As with any other options or solutions, hydroforming will have its advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. With disadvantages, you may have to change things, in regards to your design and the production process.
One of the newer forming technologies is known as tube stamping. Tube stamping opens a box of endless possibilities. With tube stamping, you will not find yourself jeopardizing your production time, your costs, or the weight of the product. If you anticipate a high-volume production, tube stamping will be a great solution because it is incredibly quick. Tube stamping is similar to tubular hydroforming because both processes can create those difficult and confusing parts.
Each tubular metal project that you take on will have its own requirements, whether it is related to the time or the cost. In order to choose the right process, you will need to evaluate all of the requirements and circumstances surrounding the process. You will certainly need to find the right fit, so it is important that you take your time to research all of the possible techniques.
If you are interested in more information about tube stamping, tubular hydroforming, or any other technique, contact us today.
We have a lot of experience working with metal here at American Hydroformers, and a ton of experience in shaping the use of our products by clients. We also do out fair share of processing work. That is, how materials are turned into the end-product.
One such process that doesn’t get much exposure is how metals are heat treated. Every metal from stainless to aluminum, to even some exotic metals are heat treated to increase their strength and improve durability.
Industries that Use Heat Treating
Heat treating is used by a wide variety of markets.
– Auto manufacturers
– Lighting solution companies
– Cookware manufacturers
– The Defense Department
– Medical and surgical instruments
– Heavy and industrial equipment
Two Types of Heat Treating
The heat treating process is broken into two distinct categories:
Vacuum Heat Treating: Ideal for ferrous metals, like steel, bronze, and brass. The vacuum is airless, and burns a fine layer of metal off the surface of the treated material. This gives the product a beautiful and strong finish made to last the life of the product.
Aluminum Heat Treating: Oftentimes aluminum parts require additional treatment. A variety of processes, like annealing, stress relieving, glycol quenching, case hardening, precipitation strengthening, and tempering, are performed depending on the customer’s requirements.
How it Works
The process alters the physical (and sometimes chemical) makeup of the treated metal in a way that doesn’t change its shape. Extreme heat is most often used to increase the toughness of a product, but it can also be used after the hydorforming or deep draw processes to restore a metal’s ability to deform under tensile stress (so re-shaping is possible).
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.
Not to be outdone by all of the advancements in hydroforming and welding, metal stamping continues to stand up for its respected and trusted method. Thanks, in part, to those manufacturers whom rely so heavily on it as a method of production.
This time, evidence of metal stamping’s forward march in engineering comes out of the Land Down Under, from engineers at Bestech Australia who recently announced two new optical micrometers, that are specifically
designed to measure the roundness and diameter of stainless steel metal stampings to micrometre accuracies in a full installation.
The two meters, named Micro-Epsilon optoCONTROL 2600, offer complete automatic measurements of “cylindrical, ground stainless steel metal stamping application.” With schematics , angles, and density at three separate calibrations within an accuracy of ±2 µm.
Both of the micrometers are connected through a laser line, which helps to prove reliability in roundness and strength. Then an encoder performs rotations designed to impress a sharp edge upon the blank, with rotations “assigned to the respective angle position.” After which, it measures and records all mathematical calculations and calibrations.
The Micro-Epsilon optoCONTROL 2600 is controlled by a sophisticated computer system that calculates measurements and solves problems in design all at once.
Its telecentric lenses and filters make it impervious to ambient lighting pollution, so that edges and calculated values (as well as diameter measurements) are precise and accurate.
Further advantages include a CCD camera that aids in producing high-resolution measurements, while LED technology means there are fewer working parts, meaning a longer operational life and a wear-free function.
As the need for metal stamping remains evident in manufacturing and industries around the world, so, too, will the inventiveness and innovation from engineers who strive to keep it relevant.
For more information on how we can help you, or additional information on the services we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Hydroforming is, arguably, one the most innovative methods for manufacturing of the last couple of decades. However, a similar yet just as important process known as high-temperature metal gas forming (HTMGF) has existed for nearly as long, and with similar benefits.
A few decades ago, when auto manufacturers wanted a lightweight, high strength but fully flexible part, they sought out hydroformers for the job.
As an alternative process to the mainstream, hydroforming eventually gained the popularity of design engineers, and not long after, hydroformed parts became a prominent means for design.
Then, as finite element analysis (FEA) software became more sophisticated, predictability in part production moved to the forefront, and parts were made in such a way that the receivers learned to expect a quality product that delivered consistency and reliability.
Not long after, however, high-temperature metal gas forming became a reality. Even if its rise is less well-known, its products are comparable, and some would argue, maybe even better in some ways.
Both tube hydroforming and HTMGF share many qualities. Both ways of production have their strengths and weaknesses, in terms of manufacturing and overall product strength. Both methods of production work similarly, and FEA software allows both to reap great advantages.
So which method is better? That’s a difficult question to answer. Each one appeals to different types of industries. While hydroforming is more well-known, HTMGF is slowly working itself towards the limelight.
In some ways, HTMGF is superior to hydroforming in terms of time needed to produce. Similar parts produced by the same method sometimes requires additional forming time.
As Dave Gearing points out in his incredibly in-depth article on the subject,
Choosing the optimal process often is a matter of considering both… early in the design stage when simple modifications to the part to aid the manufacturing process are easy to incorporate…
So while the jury is out, the debate continues as both methods become more nominal in their field.
For a deeper look at the finite schematics, extended benefits, methodology, and mathematics surrounding each process, check out this article on the subject, as mentioned above.
For more in how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Though friction stir welding is a relatively new technology, it is making waves in just about every industry that chooses to adopt and use it. Most notably, perhaps, is the car industry.
Welding in a car plant has moved at breakneck speed in the last 50 years. As the venerable hand-welder was replaced by robotic arms in the mid-century, soon the automobile production line (perfected by Henry Ford nearly a century ago) will be replaced with the soft hum of friction, as two materials are bonded together with a sturdy and “miraculous” bond.
As an article from Car and Driver says:
FSW is a solid-state weld involving no molten metal. Heat generated by pressure and friction is all that’s needed to ensure a strong metal bond.
Additional benefits of friction stir welding are numerous:
– Easily bond dissimilar metals together. Even if one is steel while the other is aluminum.
– The time it takes is drastically reduced. For example, the simple process FSW makes out of welding two, different metals, would have taken hours longer with fusion welding.
– It’s a safer process. With fusion welding, there are sparks, molten heat, and a need for protective clothing. Not so with FSW. Because as the die rotates atop the seam with applied, consistent pressure, the heat bonds them without sparks or concern for safety.
– A lighter weld that adds no extra mass. Unlike fusion welding, which adds metal filler (e.g. unnecessary weight), FSW adds nothing. Which, if one was to argue it, actually reduces the weight of the finished product.
Friction stir welding will no doubt begin to overtake traditional means of welding in ever manufacturing industry over the next decade, just as it did in the aerospace world. We’re excited to see how this burgeoning new way to bond materials becomes the new standard.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us anytime.