Archive for the What is Tube Hydroforming? Category

What is Hydroforming?

What is Hydroforming?

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.

Tube Hydroforming Process Leads to Amazing Bicycles

Tube Hydroforming Process Leads to Amazing Bicycles

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.

Tubular Hydroforming And Other Innovative Techniques

Tubular Hydroforming And Other Innovative Techniques

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.

Hydroforming Aluminum Vs Stamped Steel

Hydroforming Aluminum Vs Stamped Steel

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.

2016 CAFE Standards: What the Near Future Holds

2016 CAFE Standards: What the Near Future Holds

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.

American Hydroformers, Inc. to be Featured on the Science Channel/Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” Television Program.

American Hydroformers, Inc. to be Featured on the Science Channel/Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” Television Program.

SUMMARY:

American Hydroformers is proud to announce that the company will be featured on a segment of the Science Channel/Discovery Channel’s popular “How It’s Made” television program. This detailed behind the scenes look at tube hydroforming chassis parts will be airing on the Science Channel in the US on Thursday, May 14th 2015 at 9:00pm (Eastern Time Zone).

 

Fort Wayne, IN–March 20, 2015-American Hydroformers, a leader in the tube hydroforming process, announced that the company and its hydroforming facilities will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Discovery Channels documentary television series “How It’s Made.” The segment will provide a compelling and comprehensive behind the scenes look at the tube hydroforming process. Viewers will be given the opportunity to see the hydroforming process for themselves as well as learn more information about the industry in general. The show will offer a step by step demonstration of the tube hydroforming process as well as an explanation of its uses and current industry examples. This informative segment will air on the Science Channel in the US on Thursday, May 14th 2015 at 9:00pm (Eastern Time Zone).

The Discovery Channels “How It’s Made” is a documentary television program that presents behind the scene perspective from factories and manufacturing facilities from around the world. The program demonstrates how raw materials and supplies are transformed into everyday objects. Shows range from typical household items to more complex manufacturing processes.

About American Hydroformers

Founded in 2003, American Hydroformers specializes in the tube hydroforming manufacturing process. Production capabilities include numerous metal forming techniques such as hydroforming, hydraulic press work, metal stamping, and tube forming. In addition to hydroformed components, American Hydroformers offers complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, robotic welding, and both industrial laser and plasma cutting.

To learn more about American Hydroformers products and services, visit their website at https://americanhydroformers.com/

What is tubular hydroforming?

What is tubular hydroforming?

What is tubular hydroforming? Tubular Hydroforming is a cost effective way of shaping pliable metals such as aluminum, brass, and low alloy stainless steel. The process has been used since the 1950’s. Due to new advancements in technology and equipment in the industry, tubular hydroforming has only recently become a viable method for mass production. Modern machines now have independent control of various aspects of production such as, internal pressure, axial feeding, and counter-pressure. The control of these combined variables gives tubular hydroforming the upper hand in metal forming over older, more dated machinery and techniques.

The Pro’s and Cons of Hydroforming

Tube hydroforming has allowed engineers to optimize their designs through cross sectional reshaping and perimeter expansion. This, combined with the ability to inexpensively create the holes that are required for vehicle subsystem interfaces, hydroforming has become a critical technology for structural components in mass-produced vehicles. Some of the advantages of this process include;

  • The reduction of overall weight of the part via optimal design and thickness of the parts walls.
  • Lower production cost as a result of fewer parts.
  • Fewer secondary operations needed.
  • Drastically reduced waste.
  • Parts are more structurally sound with improved strength and stiffness.

Like with anything there are a few drawbacks to the hydroforming process, these include;

  • Slow cycle time.
  • Cost of the equipment.
  • Lack of extensive knowledge of the process and tool design.

Both advantages and disadvantages should be weighed when considering the hydroforming process for a part. Of course as this process becomes more widely used, several factors will have to be addressed. Some of these factors include;

  • Choosing a proper industrial lubricant that does not break down when subjected to high pressures.
  • Material selection and overall quality of the tube to be hydroformed.
  • Reducing time required for a single tube to be hydroformed.

In all, hydroforming is a production process that offers many advantages and produces exceptional components for use in cars and in industrial machinery. The process continues to grow and develop, creating a bright and vivid future for itself as a go to production method through companies such as American Hydroformers.  Next time you think, so what is tubular hydroforming? Please feel free to contact us at our website.

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.

What is tube hydroforming?

What is tube hydroforming?

Hydroforming is the process of using high pressured water to create custom metal structures to fit the needs of our clients. Centered in the Midwest since 2003, we have catered to a number of clients’ needs including:

  • Tube forming
  • Industrial laser cutting
  • Stencil work

We use an internal high-pressure hydroforming press system which is quintessential in creating parts with complex geometries and extensive secondary operations. Our system is also the most efficient, saving our clients time and money. The newest addition to our press equipment, an 1800 Ton Hydrap Pressen Hydroforming Press, has allowed us to add to our manufacturing processes and serves as a pre-forming function for our existing hydroforming presses.

Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming is the most efficient and cost-effective way of shaping amenable metals into pieces that are not only lightweight but also structurally sound. Uses include:

  • Unibody structures in the automotive industry
  • Bicycle frames
  • Metal-based instruments

Traditional manufacturing methods, such as stamping and welding, are not only more expensive but also create structurally weaker products. They are unable to create fluid pieces that fit perfectly into their spaces.

Tube hydroforming is a similar process, most commonly used in the automotive industry. It is a very favorable process, as we can produce tubular formations with many geometric options, reducing the need for welding operations.

Contact us in Fort Wayne, IN for more information on how we can create your custom pieces. Be sure to catch our documentary on the Discovery Channel in 2014, and read up on our business in The Tube and Pipe Journal.

The art and the ingenuity of hydroforming

The art and the ingenuity of hydroforming

Hydroforming is not only a cost effective metal fabrication and forming process when compared to traditional stamped and welded parts, but it can also be a bit of art and ingenuity. Virtually all metals can be hydroformed, including steel, aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel and alloys. The process, when used on upscale appliance handles, creates a sleek and custom look that is making it popular among today’s designers. It is also readily accepted in the manufacturing of kitchen faucets and bath fixtures as it provides the ability to create truly custom shapes.

In addition to producing aesthetically pleasing products, the process of  hydroforming makes stronger, stiffer, lighter automobile frames that provide the fuel efficiency that new federal standards are calling for. The strength and lightweight nature of frames designed in this way is the reason that makers of high performance race cars have long relied on tubular frame construction. Automobile designers have found the process useful in the manufacture of engine cradles, trailing suspension arms, radiator supports and many other parts. Beyond automobiles, the lighter and stronger nature of the material is also attractive to the makers of bicycles.

American Hydroformers was formed in 2003 and specializes in the tube hydroforming process, which is the most common of the hydroforming processes and involves the expansion of metal tubing into a shape using two die halves. This method creates seamless and a high-quality finished surface.

For more information about our hydroforming process and our other services, including industrial laser cutting and stencil work, contact us today.