Technology born in the 1940s has evolved through the decades to become the most desired manufacturing method for widely varied industries. From the shape of a saxophone, the tubes in bicycle frames, high strength automobile components, and even the new stainless steel sink installed your kitchen, hydroforming is a cost effective way to shape aluminum, brass, stainless steel, copper, alloys, and even carbon, into high strength structural components with tight tolerances.
When hydroforming, a large press is used with a punch similar to male die element in matched die forming. What would be the female element is actually a bladder full of hydraulic fluid at extreme pressures, and between the two is a metal blank. The punch presses into the bladder, shaping the metal into the desired form while leaving the surface smooth. Once pressed, the pressure is released from the bladder and the finished part is removed.
Here are some of the advantages to hydroforming:
- Tooling costs are lower with hydroforming because the female side is a reusable bladder, only the male die and a holding ring are unique to each job.
- Faster prototyping is possible. Various materials and material thicknesses can be used with the same tooling setup. This brings in your total project time thereby reducing development costs.
- Complex shapes can be achieved with a single press cycle where traditional matched die forming would require multiple press cycles.
- Hydroforming achieves outstanding surface finishes. The soft bladder leaves no lines, scratches, or surface blemishes, which would otherwise require extra time to polish out of the finished product.
At American Hydroformers, we have the expertise and the equipment to provide you with the next generation of formed metal components. From the automotive industry to the appliance business, contact our experts for more information.