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How a New Tube Hydroformed Instrument Impacts the World of Optics and Photonics

How a New Tube Hydroformed Instrument Impacts the World of Optics and Photonics

Automotive and aerospace engineers (among others) have used tube hydroforming as a means to supplement inferior design techniques, by decreasing weight and increasing tensile and ductile strength, two things that had been sorely lacking in those industries for many years.

Tube hydroforming contributes to industries all around the globe, and lends an idle, albeit able hand in sculpting and shaping how those global communities think, brand, and progress into the future.

Recently, a new advancement in design was announced from an industry that has had little use for hydroforming up until the last few years: optics and photonics.

A newly designed, tube hydroformed instrument is helping to find sensitive measurements, and the scientists who use them.

From an article on optics and photonics on how the instrument works:

The instrument measure objects with apertures that range from 20 to 200mm or more, and consists of a laser diode, a conical mirror, and a miniature CCD or CMOS camera.

In the progressive world of aerospace design and mechanical engineering, seeing the truly smallest of smalls makes a huge impact on a nanoscale. Nanoscientists have for a long time been viewing that in which we are not able to see, and use powerful microscopes to do so.

For those in the aerospace industry, however, measuring the inner diameter of holes to establish the gauge of the bore by using two or three measured points is time-consuming and arduous.

So optics has stepped in to ease the burden. But even then, older optical sectioning methods are difficult to use for pipes measuring less than 100mm.

From the article on how the technique is applied to measurement and its functional principle:

The key component that we use in our technique is a ring beam device, which consists of a conical mirror and a laser diode. The fundamental principle that underlies our technique is based on optical sectioning, without the use of any contact-type stylus.

The instrument, whose shell is made by tube hydroforming, is rapidly helping those who already do a difficult job easier, by enabling the instrument “compatible with practical industrial applications,” as well as aiding in the future development of an even smaller probe that measure holes less than 10mm in diameter.

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

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry

Though friction stir welding is a relatively new technology, it is making waves in just about every industry that chooses to adopt and use it. Most notably, perhaps, is the car industry.

Welding in a car plant has moved at breakneck speed in the last 50 years. As the venerable hand-welder was replaced by robotic arms in the mid-century, soon the automobile production line (perfected by Henry Ford nearly a century ago) will be replaced with the soft hum of friction, as two materials are bonded together with a sturdy and “miraculous” bond.

As an article from Car and Driver says:

FSW is a solid-state weld involving no molten metal. Heat generated by pressure and friction is all that’s needed to ensure a strong metal bond.

Additional benefits of friction stir welding are numerous:

Easily bond dissimilar metals together. Even if one is steel while the other is aluminum.

The time it takes is drastically reduced. For example, the simple process FSW makes out of welding two, different metals, would have taken hours longer with fusion welding.

 It’s a safer process. With fusion welding, there are sparks, molten heat, and a need for protective clothing. Not so with FSW. Because as the die rotates atop the seam with applied, consistent pressure, the heat bonds them without sparks or concern for safety.

A lighter weld that adds no extra mass. Unlike fusion welding, which adds metal filler (e.g. unnecessary weight), FSW adds nothing. Which, if one was to argue it, actually reduces the weight of the finished product.

Friction stir welding will no doubt begin to overtake traditional means of welding in ever manufacturing industry over the next decade, just as it did in the aerospace world. We’re excited to see how this burgeoning new way to bond materials becomes the new standard.

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

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming Aluminum Can Help Reduce Weight Of Components

Hydroforming is a method that shapes metal into strong pieces that are also light, in regards to the weight. There are many different industries that use hydroforming. However, the vehicle industry is probably one of the largest applicators of hydroforming. The method has mostly been popular among the production of cars that are known as the “high-end” cars. One of the materials that is frequently used is aluminium.

Previously, there was a focus on traditional stamping and parts that were welded. Hydroforming has certainly emerged into a practical method of manufacturing because of the need to lower the weight of the different components. There has also been a transition of steel to aluminum. Aluminum is making outstanding progress in the industry. When hydroforming aluminum you will receive an even, nice-looking finish that will not need any extra additions or tooling. You will receive the nice finish because the female die gets replaced by a diaphragm made of rubber.

The fluid in the hydraulic is pumped into a component at a very high pressure, and the aluminum is molded into a shape very evenly. The result will be a distinctive shape that has a thickness in the material. Hydroforming aluminum sheets can be a bit challenging sometimes because all of the shapes will not always be symmetrical and regularly shaped.

Some people may want to try cold-forming, but not every cold-forming method will have the necessities to handle all of the tough demands. Since there are some tough aluminum parts that will need plenty of work to form, hydroforming will be the best answer. The hydroforming methods for the different shaped aluminum parts will not cost as much as other methods, like cold-forming.

We certainly understand how several needs are unique. We also understand how important it is to save time and money when it comes to the process of hydroforming aluminum.

Contact us for more information on the benefits of hydroforming aluminum.

CAFE Standards to Increase Fuel Savings

CAFE Standards to Increase Fuel Savings

CAFE standard is not a recipe for an espresso macchiato – even if that is your favorite drink. It is, however, the industry standard for keeping your espresso macchiato affordable by producing lighter vehicles that increase the average fuel economy. Better fuel economy = less expense on transport = affordable espresso macchiato…ya dig?

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (aka, CAFE) is a government regulated and enforced standard for all cars and light trucks sold in the United States. Vehicles that do not match their “footprint” to the CAFE standard are penalized with higher taxes, and the owners of those vehicles are penalized at the pump. The average fuel economy in the 1970’s when the CAFE standard was first enacted was slightly less than 19 mpg (!) while today, most mid-sized passenger cars are expected to meet a minimum fuel economy of 35.2 mpg or better. (1)

But the CAFE standard is not just looking at miles per gallon, it was also enacted to encourage continual improvement in fuel economy and vehicle efficiency. CAFE is monitored by multiple government agencies and overseen by the U.S. Congress.

“U.S. Congress specifies that CAFE standards must be set at the “maximum feasible level” given consideration for:

  1. technological feasibility;
  2. economic practicality;
  3. effect of other standards on fuel economy;
  4. need of the nation to conserve energy.” (2)

That is where American Hydroformers and the CAFE standard go hand in hand. It is our mission at American Hydroformers to continually improve our manufacturing processes utilizing tube hydroforming that produces lighter parts for lighter vehicles. Our revolutionary hydroforming process is the most viable solution for the future of parts manufacturing, making lighter parts for lighter cars, ultimately setting higher industry standards for fuel economy.

Contact us to see what American Hydroforming can do for your manufacturing today!

(1) Corporate Average Fuel Economy, Wikipedia, July 22, 2014.

(2) ibid