Archive for the Metal Fabrication Category

American Hydroformers Discusses the Heat Treating Process

American Hydroformers Discusses the Heat Treating Process

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.

Aerospace

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).

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Metal Stamping Keeping Up with Demand Through Innovation

Metal Stamping Keeping Up with Demand Through Innovation

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.

High-Temperature Metal Gas Forming Burning Brightly

High-Temperature Metal Gas Forming Burning Brightly

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.

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

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.

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.

The Budding New Technique of Friction Stir Welding

The Budding New Technique of Friction Stir Welding

A relatively young technique in the field of welding, friction stir welding was invented then scientifically proven as a viable method in December of 1991. By definition it is a ‘solid-state joining process,’ meaning that the material being used for welding is not melted. This process employs the use of a third body tool to join together the two facing surfaces.

The process starts with heat being generated between the friction stir welding tool and material, which leads to a softened region. The tool then mechanically mixes the metals between the two pieces at the place of the joint. The softened metal can then be joined by pressure, supplied by the welding tool. This process is described as being much like joining pieces of clay or dough. Friction stir welding is excellent for items requiring superior hold strength without the need of a post-weld heat treatment.

There are several advantages that friction stir welding has been observed to have over traditional fusion welding. Some of these include;

  • Free range operation positions (horizontal, vertical, etc.) because there is no weld pool.
  • No consumables.
  • Easily automated on simple milling machines due to lower set up costs and less training.
  • Improved safety due to the absence of toxic fumes or the spatter of molten welding materials.
  • Reduced impact on the environment.

As with the advantages, a few disadvantages also go along with the friction stir welding process. A few examples of the disadvantages are;

  • An exit hole is left in the metal when the tool is withdrawn.
  • Less flexibility than whats found in manual and arch welding processes.
  • Often slower than fusion welding techniques, however this can be offset if a smaller number of welding passes are required.

Despite being a relatively new process, friction stir welding has already made a place for itself in several industries. These include automotive, offshore and ship building, aerospace, railways, personal computers, and various electronics. The future for this process is promising, paving a way for itself to maybe one day surpass traditional welding methods as the go to technique. If you would like to know more about friction stir welding, or other fabrication processes such as hydroforming, feel free to contact us at our website.

Why Is Metal Stamping A Great Method For Production?

Why Is Metal Stamping A Great Method For Production?

Metal is a key piece for a number of different industries throughout the world. Without pieces of metal, several operations and projects can not be completed. All across the world, you will see machine parts, metal sheets, and other metals that are used throughout the world.

The process of cutting metal and shaping the metal is known as metal stamping. There are various hydraulic machines and components that can shape the metals in the desired form. The metal stamping method is used in several vehicle parts, automotive keys, jewelry, and a number of other purposes.

Why Should You Consider Metal Stamping? Are There Any Benefits?

  • Metal stamping is a sensible and efficient solution for producing large amounts of difficult items. Metal stamping is the preferred solution for this kind of production because the costs to set up production and the labor costs are very cost-effective. The higher the level of production rises, the lower the labor costs will become. In industrial and manufacturing work, it is really necessary to keep the costs down as low as possible. Since metal stamping is a quick and efficient method, it has the ability to handle the bigger production while keeping the costs low.
  • The more difficult or complex products that want to have a fresh, creative design can be created with a more advanced metal stamping method.
  • When metal stamping can allow you to purchase materials, parts and pieces at a lower cost. Less scrap will also be produced because a huge chunk of the materials will be used.
  • Metal stamping is automated. You will not have to spend extra costs on labor. When the automation occurs, you can be confident that the speeds and production levels will remain consistent.
  • There isn’t a limit on the kind of projects or products that metal stamping can be used for. Any type of material or metal can be used with metal stamping. The size of the metal, the thickness, or the thinness doesn’t matter when metal stamping is being used. This is one of the many benefits of using metal stamping.

Metal stamping is an all-around ideal method for any kind of material. Whatever your needs are, you will need to partner with someone who will give you what you need at the highest quality.

Contact us so you can utilize all of the benefits metal stamping has to offer.

Friction Stir Welding: How Can It Be Useful To You?

Friction Stir Welding: How Can It Be Useful To You?

Friction stir welding is used to create joints that are of the highest quality and of the highest strength. Friction stir welding was patented in 1991. The first applications that friction stir welding was used for was aluminium fabrications. With its low distortion, the solid-state joining process of friction stir welding is able to create lap joints or butt joints. The joints can also be created in a wide variety of the thickness and the length.

Since friction stir welding is a solid state process, you will not have to concern yourself with any of the errors that may occur when you are using fusion welding. The quality of welding is excellent, and it is friendly for the environment. There are not any kind of fumes that will be triggered into the air.

What Can You Expect From Friction Stir Welding?

  • There will be no limit on the length and width of your panel. Friction stir welding can successfully meet the needs of your application, no matter what size the parts are.
  • Since friction stir welding is one of the most cutting edge technologies and developments, there will be new developments and solutions for all of the customers using the process.
  • Protecting the environment is a serious issue and concern. If you want to do your duty of protecting the environment, you can feel comfortable with using friction stir welding. It is a relatively green process. There will be no triggers of gases or fumes. You will be creating something amazing, while protecting the environment with this environmentally friendly process.
  •  Friction stir welding can be operated in every position.
  • You can expect to be able to make hybrid components. This can be done by joining different products. Aluminum and magnesium alloys are two examples of different materials that can create those components.
  • A low energy input compared to other types of processes.

In this day and age, and the different industries available, there is a certainty that the industry will find numerous uses for friction stir welding. This process is not expensive, and you have the great ability to weld or fuse different materials.

For more information about friction stir welding and how it can be beneficial to you, 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.

American Hydroformers Explains How Internal High Pressure Hydroforming Works

American Hydroformers Explains How Internal High Pressure Hydroforming Works

American Hydroformers is on the cutting edge of production technology. We offer many services, including metal fabrication solutions through the use of hydroforming, laser cutting, and several other forming techniques.

But perhaps the technique that garners the most interest is how our internal high pressure hydroforming press system works, and why it is so widely sought after.

Hydroforming (or internal high pressure forming) is a forming process by which an active solution (often a water and oil emulsion) forces a hollow part into a desired shape by applying a variable amount internal pressure that depends largely upon the density of the material (click here to watch a clip). And at its peak, the pressure can reach several thousand bars.

The advantages of this technique are many (especially compared to deep draw hydroforming), but most apparent are:

– Large design ratio

– Reduction of overall parts

– Lowered amount of weld-spots or connections

– Reduction of material weight

– Higher ductile and mechanical strength

– More durable

– Increased forming accuracy

Because of these positives, high pressure hydroforming has becoming a superior technique in many industrial sectors (most notably, automobile manufacturers). But has branched out to many others, including plumbing and heating, household appliances, furniture, bicycle frame manufacturing, machines and equipment, and even aerospace and aviation.

However, hydroforming stands out the most in the automobile industry, because of widely used parts for the chassis, motor, crossbeams, side beams, and roof frames, throughout the industry.

Additionally, hydroforming gives automakers the freedom of design, so that they can make lighter and faster cars that appeal to a broader group of people, while remaining relatively inexpensive in terms of production.

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