Archive for the What is Tube Hydroforming? Category

What is Hydroforming

What is Hydroforming

Every time you drive a motor vehicle, fly in an airplane or ride a bicycle, hydroforming was likely used as part of their manufacture. Hydroforming provides a number of advantages when compared to other alternative methods of metal shaping. By learning more about what is hydroforming, understanding the significance of this process in our daily life should be possible.

The Standard Concept

Aluminum is a malleable material that is often molded using hydroforming. Two processes can be used during the hydroforming process for manipulation. The first is using high pressure hydraulic fluid to produce a certain shape with the metal. The metal (typically a flat sheet) is placed inside a container with a mold. The container is sealed off and hydraulic fluid injected until a certain pressure is achieved. This pressure causes the metal to mold to the shape of the dye. A variation of this concept involves the manipulation of a hollow tube of metal. The hollow tube is placed inside of a negative mold and fluid is injected into the inside of the tube, causing it to expand into the shape of the mold.

Low Pressure Versus High Pressure Tube Hydroforming

In tube hydroforming, two methods are typically used. The only difference between the two are the pressures used and when they are applied. In high pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to high pressures (typically between 1500 and 2000 bars) only after being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. In low pressure hydroforming, the tube is exposed to a low pressure of between 120-180 bars before being closed in the dye of the hydraulic press. According to Metal Working World Magazine, “The material does not collapse, taking the die shape, but simply it is uniformly stretched (thus avoiding the corrugations of the inner surface that are instead frequently present in the high pressure method), like in a pre-forming process.”

Be sure to contact us at American Hydroformers if you have any questions about what is hydroforming.

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.

CAFE standards 2014: How Hydroforming Can Help

CAFE standards 2014: How Hydroforming Can Help

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were first enacted in by Congress in 1975, following the Arab Oil Embargo, as a way to improve the average fuel economy of the cars and light trucks — including trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles — that are sold in the United States. In recent years, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, has focused heavily on the CAFE standards, this time in order to decrease the U.S. reliance on foreign oil sources as well as to cut pollution.

The CAFE Standards 2014 state that a manufacturer’s annual fleet of vehicle production must meet the defined miles per gallon standard, which is increasing incrementally from year to year. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the standard is 35.2 mpg for passenger cars, 26.2 mpg for light trucks, and 31.4 mpg for combined cars and trucks. If the manufacturer fails to meet the standard as figured from the average mileage of the various vehicles they offer in the U.S., they will pay a penalty. The penalty is currently set at $5.50 USD per 0.1 mpg under the standard, multiplied by the manufacturer’s total production for the U.S. domestic market. A Gas Guzzler Tax is also assessed on individual passenger car models that get less than 22.5 miles per gallon. New standards are also being formu lated this year for medium- to heavy-duty trucks.

The weight of a vehicle certainly impacts its fuel efficiency, and that’s where tube hydroformers fit into the solution for increasing the miles per gallon on cars and trucks. High performance and race cars have relied on long tubular frame construction for quite some time because it is stronger and lighter than traditional stamped and welded assemblies. Now that knowledge is being applied to passenger vehicles and light trucks in order to effect improvements and meet the standards.

For more information about the CAFE standards 2014 and future years, or about our services for the automotive industry, contact us.

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

Can Tube Hydroforming Really Add Something To Your Industry?

There has been a significant growth in hydroforming, as workers in the automotive industry are taking steps back to examine all of their options. The stepping back process involves examining all of the available options in an effort to find an affordable and efficient process. Tube hydroforming can produce much stronger components than the traditional methods. Tube hydroforming has been around for a significant number of years, but the usage has been mainly for simple shapes.

Tube hydroforming involves expanding the metal tubes into a certain shape. The shape is formed by using two die halves. When the parts are created using this kind of method, parts are more efficient because you the welding process will be eliminated. Parts that are created with this method will have a significant number of benefits, such as:

  • Part reduction
  • Weight reduction
  • Flexibility in the design/engineering
  • Seamless bonding
  • Increase in the strength of the parts
  • The ability to have better quality surfaces
  • Bending rigidity
  • Overall quality in the parts/Class A finishing

Most of the attention that is brought up during hydroforming is the focus on strength and weight, as well as the reduction of parts being used. In many cases, hydroforming can be the only method used to create a special geometry. It is expected for tubes support to load strongly and smoothly than the stamp sheets. Designers and engineers are figuring out when to apply tube hydroforming. As a result, new ideas and capabilities are being put together. Hydroforming will continue to be used to create more parts as the improvement of design options continues.

The high-profile applications have been used in the automotive industry because the benefits from tube hydroforming are highly value to vehicles. However, tube hydroforming can be used in any kind of industry for a number of different structural applications. When you change from your previous method to tube hydroforming, you will get great benefits that will be worth the switch.

Determining when to use tube hydroforming will not be easy, but at the right time your company can improve its performance and remain in the competitive automotive industry race.

For more on tube hydroforming, contact us.

American Hydroformers, Inc. tube hydroforming process to be Featured on “How It’s Made”

American Hydroformers, Inc. tube hydroforming process to be Featured on “How It’s Made”

American Hydroformers, in conjunction with the film crew from the Discovery Channel’s popular “How It’s Made” television program, recently wrapped up filming a segment at their Fort Wayne, Indiana facilities featuring the tube hydroforming process. 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 in 2014 on the Science Channel/Discovery Channel.

American Hydroformers provides metal fabricating solutions using the most advanced hydroforming processes available. Our manufacturing expertise includes hydroforming, hydraulic press work, laser cutting and various other metal forming techniques.
American Hydroformers’ internal high pressure hydroforming press system is more efficient and versatile for parts with complex geometries and extensive secondary operations than traditional manufacturing methods. In addition to hydroformed components, we offer complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, industrial laser cutting and stencil work, as well as tube forming.

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.

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

5 Reasons Why Tube Hydroforming is the Future

Though it is a relative newcomer, when compared side-by-side with the conventional process of stamping, tube hydroforming is quickly becoming a formidable technique for the automotive industry’s various uses and applications, among others.

But what is it about tube hydroforming that makes its quality superior to older techniques? The answer is in 5 aspects:

1. Stronger Result

After the production process is complete, a tube-shaped hydro formed part can support more weight, especially when compared to metal stamped parts. This remains true even when metal stamped parts are welded together in tube shapes. Further, less welds means a sturdier product that is less likely to fail under stress and pressure.

2. Weight Reduction

The finished tube hydroformed part or component weighs significantly less than its metal stamped counterparts. This makes it a prime candidate for industries (like the automobile industry) who seek fabrications that result in a product with a less density.

3. Cost-Effective

Tube hydroformed products cost less overall by comparison as well. Not just in terms of what its material consists of, but also in regards to how much scrap waste it creates, and manpower it takes to manufacture a hydroformed part. This cost is passed on to all parties involved in the hydroformed process.

4. Becoming Widely Used

While it is certain that the automobile industry has taken a tight hold upon tube hydroforming, it’s uses and benefits have been adapted in many markets and in multiple industries. Of late, bicycle manufacturing has picked up on the positive results from tube hydroforming, and have been producing lighter and stronger bicycles for use in leisure activities, and professional ventures.

5. The Future is Hydroforming

Over the last 15 years, tube hydroforming has gone from a relatively unknown fabrication process relegated to a small sector of manufacturers, to an engineering and a developing dream with wide variants and even wider uses. The limits of tube hydroforming have been pushed far past that of older techniques, like metal stamping, and continue to be used in new and exciting ways that many thought were not possible.

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

History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

History and Processes of Tube Hydroforming

Hydroforming has been one of the most cost effective methods of forming and shaping metals for decades. Several variations of hydroforming methods have come about over the years, each serving a different purpose.

In tube hydroforming, there are two widely recognized practices; high pressure and low pressure. During the high pressure process, the tube to be shaped is enclosed in a die before pressurization begins. Previously known as the Variform process, the low pressure method starts by the tube being pressurized to a pre-determined volume during the closing of the die. The tube is held in place and sealed at both ends by axial punches. The axials on both sides are moveable, this movement being required in the process to provide axial compression, and to feed material towards the center of the tube. In both methods, hydrolic fluid is pushed into the tube through one of the punches, increasing the pressure within until the tube expands outwards and the desired shape is reached.

Historically, the tube hydroforming process was patented in the 50’s. However, it wasn’t until the 70’s that the process was widely used in an industrial scale. Back then, it was used for the production of large T-shaped joints for the oil and gas industry. Today, tube hydroforming is an important part in the automotive industry where many important applications can be found. Tube hydroforming is also the method of choice for the tubular bodies of bicycles, and the various components of motorcycles.

Since its inception in the 50’s tube hydroforming has been an essential part of the manufacturing industry. If you would like to know more about hydroforming and it’s variations, feel free to visit our website or contact us.

Hydroforming Prototyping

Hydroforming Prototyping

If there was one aspect about engineering that hydroforming could benefit, it would be the prototype process. However, the act of producing hydroformed products that are more easily testable than a life sized models, in terms of limits, structure, and so on, is more of a pipe dream than a reality. Time and cost often outweighs means. But it doesn’t have to be that way, enter hydroforming prototyping.

Hydroforming Prototypes

Hydroforming is a special method in which metals are bent and shaped. It is very often found in use in the auto industry, but many industries have adopted the benefits of hydroformed products.

How this works with prototyping is like this: A prototype is introduced, it is scanned into a computer where a simulated process tests the endurance and stability of the product, giving feedback to the designer so that they can then makes changes. This not only benefits the design, but also the cost.

Further, computer prototyping allows the design engineer the ability to test various geometrically designed parts (this is especially true in sheet hydroforming, or SHF) for stress and cohesion. This allows for quick changes and even quicker results. It also gives the engineer an idea what real life stresses may do so that they can alter the design as necessary.

Working in Tandem With You

The collaborative process not only benefits those who have put their hard work into the design process, it also aids us in gathering a greater understanding about the product you want hydroformed. Because theoretical designs are often subject to real world failure, prototyping them is a cost-effective measure that prevents loss for your company.

Want more information on hydroforming prototyping? Contact us any time, or click here here to request a quote.

7 Benefits of Hydroforming

7 Benefits of Hydroforming

A cost-effective way of forming certain metals into strong lightweight structures is by hydroforming. This can be done with aluminum, brass, low alloy steels and stainless steel.

Starting with a blank metal tube the tube expands into the desired shape when placed in a customized tool specifically designed for this purpose. The tool closes around the tube and the hydraulic rams are used to seal off the ends while water is forced into the interior of the tube.  You can see an animated hydroforming process here on this page, what is hydroforming.

When the required water pressure is reached the metal transforms into the shape of the mold. At the same time the hydraulic rams are computer-driven to each end of the tube so smooth, thick walls are formed as the metal expands turning it into attractive, repeatable shapes.Once the water is disposed of and the part removed the system moves on to the next blank tube.

Seven main benefits of hydroforming:

1. Much fewer welds are required

Previously, if wanted to transform metal into different shapes a lot of individual sections had to be welded together but hydroforming enables the metal tube to be turned into long, complex shapes with a reduced number of welds that reduces resistance and improves the efficiency of the airflow.

2. Few Steps in the Process

The whole process can be done in a much quicker time, often taking as little as 20 seconds for loading the blank tube to unloading the finished product. This is because many parts of the exhaust chain can be combined into one seamless assembly.

3. Remarkable Precision

The in-feeding of the material is accurately controlled by the computer while the metal is under high pressure inside the tool up to within 10 thousandths of an inch. This will be from 25,000 to 30,000psi.

4. Waste Reduction

By repeating the process you eliminate wastage from dented or accidentally bent parts and less material is needed due to the consolidation of the sections into one assembly.

5. Weight Reduction

Hydroforming produces lighter products as the required stiffness can be achieved using thinner walls. In previous processes this was not possible.

6. Form More Complex Shapes

Complex shapes can be achieved from pre-bent tubes by hydroforming and they can even have inlet and outlet openings incorporated.

7. Reduced Tool Costs

The number of tools can be reduced drastically due to fewer sections and the elimination of the burring and punching processes.

To get more information on hydroforming, contact us.

What is Tube Hydroforming?

What is Tube Hydroforming?

Often, when it comes to discussing what we do, the very first question asked is: What is tube hydroforming? The simplest answer is that hydroforming is a way to shape metal. This cost-effective process is used on metals such as aluminum, steel, stainless steel, copper and brass.

Hydroforming is a common application in the automotive industry, where it can produce stronger structures for vehicles such as engine cradles, suspension and radiator supports. Other examples of items that can be produced by hydroforming include kitchen spouts — which were the original intention of sheet hydroforming — as well as satellite antennas, saxaphone tubes and bicycle frames.

Before the process of hydroforming was developed, items were made by forming two halves and then welding them together. By using die molding and highly pressurized fluid to form metal, hydroforming eliminates the inefficiency of welded pieces and allows for more complex shapes and contours of the metal.

There are two types of hydroforming: sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming. Sheet hydroforming uses one die and a sheet of metal, while tube hydroforming involves the expansion of metal tubes into a shape using two die halves which contain the raw metal tube.

Specializing in tube hydroforming, American Hydroformers has a high pressure hydroforming press system that provides higher efficiency and versatility with parts that have complex geometries or extensive secondary operations. We work with a number of industries, including automotive, appliance, diesel exhaust and plumbing. We also offer complete assembly level fabrication of automotive structures, industrial laser cutting and stencil work. For more information on our services, contact us.