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.