Hydroforming is a unique process used to form metal. As a unique process, it also solves unique problems. Hydroforming makes a number of products possible that wouldn’t be possible through mainstream methods. Although it is not the most common method of forming metal, it is very useful, and a necessity to our society today. Let’s talk a little about how hydroforming works and what it does.
Archive for the What is Tube Hydroforming? Category
What is hydroforming? Hydroforming is when the force of water, hydraulic fluids, or oils is used to shape a single part. There are two types of hydroforming and each has uses when creating products from steel, aluminum, etc. Hydroforming, used in industries, creates parts without using welds. This makes a stronger part and sometimes a product is created from a single piece of metal. So, what are the two types of hydroforming? They are Tube Hydroforming and Sheet Hydroforming.
As deep draw hydroforming continues to become a reliable and viable source of production, people who rely on hydroformed parts can only benefit from its persistent innovation.
Information about new and high-tech hydroforming presses in use around the country is part of the daily news cycle.
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.
What is hydroforming? Hydroforming is an innovative method of pressing metal into the desired shape. It produces results similar to cold forming, but instead of simply pressing the metal with a mold, it is pressed by liquid pressure. Let’s be more specific about how it works.
Cold forming presses room temperature metal between a solid mold. Hydroforming also presses metal at room temperature, but only the bottom half of the mold is present, underneath the raw metal. The unit closes, creating a water tight seal around the metal and the mold, and then forces liquid into the unit through a hydraulic pump. This forces the metal down into the mold. The liquid is then released, and the newly formed metal reclaimed.
Many common metals can successfully undergo this process, including copper, brass, stainless steel, and aluminum. This list is very similar to the metals that can be used with the traditional cold forming method. Hydroforming is used to make all sorts of metal products, including satellite antennas, a tube for saxophones, bicycle frames, automobiles, and residential lighting materials.
The hydroforming method is particularly attractive because it can often be completed at a lower cost per unit than many other methods, including stamping or even wielding. It can also produce a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than many other methods. Hydroforming is also beneficial because only half of the die is required. Since the fluid acts as the other half, it’s only necessary to fabricate the bottom in most cases. This also makes it much easier to change the thickness of the metal because there is no need to change the die.
Interested in learning more about Hydroforming and how it works? Contact us. We have all the answers, and we can help you with anything you need.
Though tube hydroforming has humble roots, it has taken those roots and firmly planted them in industry, design, and innovation.
For instance, take a look at how much innovation has gone into biking. Thanks to lightweight tube hydroforming, bicycles are more agile and lighter than all previous designs and models.
Mountain bikes are more popular than they ever have been before, thanks to tube hydroforming. They are also more sturdy than ever before, which is something that attracts manufacturers to the tube hydroforming process when the design phase begins.
How does the process begin?
As with most design and industry, the process starts with an idea. From there, designers and engineers work hard on computers to formulate and adopt a plan. Then, after many more hours of time and research, the prototype is produced on a 3D CAD. Sometimes the initial design is worthy of the work, and other times it is scrapped and redone. Oftentimes, many mockups are worked through before the final selection is made.
What happens next?
In the case of mountain bikes, materials like aluminum are selected and reviewed. Then, as this article on a new mountain bike design points out, many things go into the final product:
[The process] combines several common aluminium construction types — hydroforming, taper butting, mechanical shaping, 3D forging, double-pass smooth welding, post-weld heat-treat — to tailor the ride quality as much as possible.
This type of design and scheme is virtually the same across all tube hydroforming development. It’s a labor-intensive process that yields some of most durable and lightest products available today.
For more information on the tube hydroforming process, please contact us anytime. Since 2003, American Hydroformers has been setting new standards in the hydroforming industry for tube hydroformed structures, parts, and components.
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.
The rise of hydroforming as a viable manufacturing process which reduces the weight of resulting items is driving two distinct transitions in the industry. One of these is the switching from stamping to hydroforming, and the other is from steel to aluminum.
It is the desire to reduce item weight which is pushing forward the hydroforming of aluminum. Steel has long been the go-to metal for bike, automotive, marine, and aerospace components. However, the need for a more lightweight material arose when the industries began to feel a need for lighter components.
This is where aluminum came in. It is more lightweight than steel, resulting in the component having a 25%-50% reduction in overall weight as compared to the same component made from stamped steel. Once aluminum was able to easily be hydroformed, the transition began. Many manufacturers favor hydroforming over older means of metal forming such as stamping because hydroforming can deliver complex shapes and sizes, as well as requiring less finishing work. This is due to the fact that imperfections which would be present in the surface of the pressed metal when stamping are not present in components which were hydroformed.
The only downside manufacturers must take into consideration is the cost difference. Because aluminum is in such high demand across a wide range of industries, manufacturers could be looking at a cost anywhere from three to five times more than the same quantity of steel.
However, this is a small price to pay for the excellent product which comes from hydroforming aluminum. These superior components are ideal in industries where individual component weight is a variable.
If you would like to know more about hydroforming or friction stir welding, we invite you to visit us at our website. Additionally, you may contact us with any questions or comments about this article and more.
Beginning in 2011, automobile makers had to meet a set of government regulations that had sat in limbo for many years. For many, this was the biggest change in fuel-economy standards since the 1970s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law, otherwise known as cafe standards.
With an increase in fuel economy by nearly 40% for cars, and by almost 25% trucks, automobile manufacturers really have their work cut out for them.
According to an article on Car and Driver, the MPG increase is palpable, and might seem like a struggle for major manufacturers.
The average fuel economy for cars must improve from the current 27.5 mpg, where it has been since 1990, to 37.8 mpg by 2016. The truck standard has to rise from 23.5 mpg to 28.8.
So while the standards might not be as severe as they maintain by simply looking at the raw data (manufacturers have come up with a few clever ways of circumventing strict guidelines; not to mention “surplus credits”), they are seeking out alternatives to achieve the “goal” set by the US Federal Government, which doesn’t always mean drastic changes in design.
As the relative dimension, or footprint needs altered, car manufacturers often garner help from things that increase efficiency without direct alteration of typical features. They do this by redesigning aspects of the car which make it lighter, paying careful attention to small details where new components and materials offer a replacement. It’s at this point in the process where hydroforming steps in.
The hydroforming process lends to aiding CAFE standards in almost all parts of their design. By providing lightweight parts, that are durable and strong, manufactured quickly and easily, car manufacturers have a veritable goldmine in hydroforming companies.
What’s more, for 2016, it doesn’t matter which manufacturer requires assistance, because the regulations are different across the board.
Thus, for truck manufacturers and car manufacturers alike (whether SUV, sport, sedan, luxury, and so on), hydroforming is a viable option to reducing weight thereby increasing average MPG, and saving car manufacturers’ bottom line.
For additional information on how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us any time.