Posts Tagged hydroforming

Tubular Hydroforming

Tubular Hydroforming

Most of us have never considered the world of hydroforming or tubular hydroforming. The components made from these methods have permeated a great many areas of our lives from the vehicles we drive to the bikes we ride. Have you ever stopped to consider all the possibly applications of tube forming? Most of us think of automotive or, perhaps, architectural applications for hydroformed tubes. However, you’re just as likely to find hydroformed tubes in anything you can think of that you’d need a high strength, light weight tube for. Here we’ll take a look at the world of fitness to see where you’ll find hyrdroformed tubes.

In the world of fitness, you can use tube forming to make the following parts:

  • Tubular frame rails
  • Levers
  • Brackets
  • Shafts
  • Spacers
  • Pedals
  • Clamps

Many of these parts are obvious. They are the large and small hollow tubes that make up the structure of the machine. You’ll find the frame rails on the sides so you don’t fall of the machine, levers in the braking mechanisms of bikes. Around the gears and wheels you’ll find shafts and spacers. Clamps are usually found around the frame to keep the wires for the electronics safely tucked away.

However, these aren’t the only parts that are made for fitness machines; these are just the ones that use tube forming processes. In a similar process called sheet hydroforming the following parts for fitness machines can be made:

  • Leverlers
  • Flywheels
  • Mounting plates

While all of these parts are standardised for various types of machines, the beauty of tube forming for components is that they can be made-to-order for a custom design! So, if you want to start fix or design your own fitness gear, all you have to do is get the specifications for your design and leave the rest up to us.

Accuracy in tube hydroforming

Accuracy in tube hydroforming

As the demands for lightweight construction and precision grow, tube hydroforming is becoming increasingly popular. Hydroforming is used in a wide variety of applications from industry parts to bikes because the process can create parts that have desired properties, such as complex geometrical shape and light weight. Even the new Corvette design employs hydroformed tubes to keep the car lightweight. With the wide variety of complex shapes that tube hydroforming processes can be used for, you may wonder how accurate the end product is. Well, let’s take a look at some of the variables that go into hydroforming.

First, you start with a tube or sheet of steel that is placed into a cavity, and water at high pressure pushes the steel into the shape of the cavity. The factors that can affect this are:

  • Change in outer forces

This is looking at the pressure considerations of the liquid in the die cavity, which are between 30 to 150 MPa in comparison to the

  • Material yield strength
  • Inner radius of the sharpest cross sectional.
  • Material wall thickness.

When the pressures are correctly balanced, the deformation of the metal will have an optimal flow and a minimal wall thickening.

  • Change in friction

For optimal flow of the metal, friction should not be too much or too little. With too much friction, the strain of the metal as it bends could cause it to crack and break. Too little friction could me a malformed product.

  • Change in material behavior

During deformation, metals undergo stress and strain. With optimal heat and pressure, the metal flow will be such that the metal deforms smoothly into the cavity it’s being molded to.

The changes in these factors will determine optimisation of the flow of the metal as it forms to the cavity. However, skilled technicians can minimize the thickening of the walls, which increases the accuracy and meets tolerances for your project. It is possible to manufacture parts that can fulfil demands with tolerances of 0.5mm for a geometrical shape up to 500mm.

Part Analysis

Ready to get your project under way? Contact us to work with our skilled technicians for your next project.

Advantages of Tubular Hydroforming

Advantages of Tubular Hydroforming

Any item that is built with a metal tube can be made more efficiently and cost-effectively with tubular hydroforming. The process was first developed and used in the 1950s. The disadvantages of pressing and stamping tubes, i.e. weak stress points, unseen defects, and uneven distribution of metal, disappear, leaving a lighter weight but stronger metal tube.

In a nutshell, tubular hydroforming involves pumping hydraulic fluid into shape at high pressure, forcing the metal evenly into all corners of the mold. The metal, aluminum, stainless steel or other metal, flows into the shape of the mold, rather than being stretched over a die, creating a stronger tube than one that has been pressed. The metal can be further heat treated to strengthen it even more.

The advantages of this process include so much more than just lightweight and strength. Consider the following.

  • Unique shapes are possible with indents or angles. For instance, one end of the tube could be round, the other oval or a tube could be made with a flattened center section.
  • Even thickness of the metal with no thick or thin spots. This reduces unseen weak spots which can break more easily.
  • Cost-effective. Less waste of raw metal or due to damaged finished pieces.
  • Uses less energy to produce. The process is streamlined and robotic, and doesn’t require high temperatures.
  • There is less hazard to employees since the process is done at room temperature.
  • Leaves a smooth surface ready to paint or use as is.

Whatever product using a metal tube you may produce, it is probably possible to produce it better and more inexpensively with tubular hydroforming. The inherent strength of the product produced makes this process ideal for many products and industries, not just automotive and plumbing. It’s also frequently used for bicycles and musical instruments.

Visit our website and view the video of the hydroforming process to easily understand how it works. Then contact us so we can discuss how to help you build a better product through hydroforming. It’s a call you’ll wish you made years ago.

What is Hydroforming and Why Use It?

What is Hydroforming and Why Use It?

When many think about the manufacture of metal parts for cars, bicycles, and such,  they often think of  such processes as solid die stamping,  However, in the late 1940’s and 50’s a new process called hydroforming was developed to form metal parts, especially those with asymmetrical and irregular shapes that are difficult for stamping to form.

What is hydroforming?  Simply put, hydroforming uses a high pressure liquid to force a thin metal sheet or tube into a specialized die mold.  Almost all metals capable of being cold formed can also be hydroformed:  aluminum, brass, steel, stainless steel, and high strength alloys.   There are two types of hydroforming; sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming.

For sheet hydroforming, a metal blank sheet is placed over the mold.  Then, in one type of sheet hydroforming, the mold is closed by a water filled bladder .Water pressure within the bladder is then increased, forcing the metal into the mold.

For tube hydroforming, a raw tube is placed between two dies.  The ends of the dies are then sealed off and water fills the tube.  The water pressure is increased until the tube takes the form of the mold.

The advantages of this process over traditional stamping are many.  It is ideal for forming complex shapes.  Hydroforming also produces parts that are more lightweight and have a higher stiffness to weight ration than stamped parts. Finally, its costs per unit are lower than stamping.

From hydroforming’s initial use in forming kitchen spouts its use has expanded to other plumbing fixtures, to widespread use in the auto and aircraft industry, to the manufacture of bicycles, and to the forming of the handles of appliances.   Hydroforming has even been used to manufacture the brass tube of the Yamaha saxophone.   It has proven itself to be an increasingly versatile tool.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about hydroforming and how it can meet your needs.

A Clear Overview of Hydroforming

A Clear Overview of Hydroforming

In a layman’s term, Hydroforming is a method that is applied when producing metallic components. The technique utilizes a high pressure liquid to push a thin film inside a mold. The outcome is a seamless metallic component which is not only light in weight, but robust and durable.

Different Types of Hydro-Formed Components

There are generally two types of products that can be produced through Hydroforming. These are:

  • Customized hydro-formed components that are normally produced by the industries only by request.
  • Generic hydro-formed components that are mass produced by companies for the sole purpose of sale as well as distribution.

The cost of producing customized hydro-formed components normally hinge on several factors such as the complexity and dimension of the order. If the purpose of the fabrication is to produce parts that are to be used in complex projects, then the overhead can be high since technicians spend more time and effort in ensuring that the final product is made according to the specification of a client.

What Are the Different Types of Techniques Used in Hydroforming?

There are two types of techniques that can be applied during the Hydroforming process. These are:

  • Making use of a bladder stuffed with fluid: While using this type of technique, the technician puts an even film of metal in a mold and then covers the mold using the bladder before exerting pressure from the other end. As the pressure is increased by the technician, the bladder pushes the metal inside a mold. When the process is complete, both ends of the halves are opened to reveal the metal part. This technique is suitable for creating metal parts with high levels of details.

Tube forming: While using this technique to create metal parts, the technician seals a tube within the mold using a shape that has been cut along the strip of the tube. The mold is held in position using blocks. Thereafter, a high-pressure is forced through the metal tube which then causes the tube to expand outwards thereby allowing for the mold to form.

If you need a service provider who can help you with Hydroforming, contact us today for more details.

What Is Tube Hydroforming? All you need to know.

What Is Tube Hydroforming? All you need to know.

Whether you are well-informed or brand-new to the subject, here is a primer on the basics of tube hydroforming. Read on to discover more about the process, the materials, the products, and the benefits.

Process

Simply put, hydroforming is the process of shaping ductile metals into desired pieces using either high or low pressure from hydraulic fluid. A hollow tube is placed into a negative mold, and fluid is pumped into the mold until the pressure shapes the material into the desired form. The fluid is removed and the product is finished.

Materials

Tube hydroforming can be done on metals including aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and low alloy steel.

Products

Tube hydroforming is used to make car frames, particularly high-end sports models. Specifially, engine cradles, suspension, radiator supports, and instrument panel beams are manufactured in this manner. Aluminum bicycle frames use this technology. And additionally, the brass tubes of Yamaha saxophones are made with this process.

Benefits

Tube hydroforming is desirable because it results in lightweight and structurally stiff products. The process is also very cost-effective, requiring few tools and minimal maintenance. Tube hydroforming provides an easy process for creating complex shapes, reducing the need for welding operations. Compared to other methods, tube hydroforming leaves a smooth finish and an appealing appearance.

American Hydroformers is based in Fort Wayne, IN, and specializes in the hydroform tube forming process. Whether you work in appliances, automotive, or plumbing fields, we are here to help you! Visit our “What Is Hydroforming” page to learn more about the process we use and see before and after photos.

Contact us today to request a quote and get more information about our services!

Hydroforming Rides New Wave of Interest

Hydroforming Rides New Wave of Interest

American Hydroformers has slowly built up a niche in the tube hydroforming industry. With nearly 10 years in business, American Hydroformers is ready with expertise, equipment and capacity. Hydroformed components will never replace or completely remove stamped and welded assemblies, however the hydroforming process can delvier a superior component more cost effectively than conventional processes.  When looking at the feasibility of having a part or component hydroformed, AHI helps companies look at the technological side of the process to make sure the component will be stronger and lighter, however the business side must be addressed to make sure the component can be made faster or at a lower cost.  American Hydroformers can hydroform high-strength, low alloy materials, high yield strength materials up to 650,000 PSI dual phase steels and so on.

To read the full story about American Hydroformers in The Tube and Pipe Journal please contact us.

American Hydroformers was recently spotlighted on the cover of The Tube and Pipe Journal.  If you missed the October/November copy let us know and we’ll get you the full story.

Hydroforming is a metal fabricating and forming process which allows the shaping of metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass. This process is a cost-effective and specialized type of die molding that utilizes highly pressurized fluid to form metal. Generally there are two classifications used to describe hydroforming, sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming. Sheet hydroforming uses one die and a sheet of metal; the blank sheet is driven into the die by high pressure water on one side of the sheet forming the desired shape. Tube hydroforming is the expansion of metal tubes into a shape using two die halves, which contain the raw tube. Hydroforming is used to replace the older process of stamping two part halves and welding them together. It is also used to make parts both more efficiently by eliminating welding as well as creating complex shapes and contours. Parts created in this method have a number of manufacturing benefits including seamless bonding, increased part strength, and the ability to maintain high-quality surfaces for finishing purposes.  

 

Hydroforming Origins

We’re often asked when and where hydroforming started and how it came to be what it is today. With its potential for cost reduction and its obvious design advantages, it would seem that absolutely everything would be shifting to the hydroforming process.

Surprisingly, the hydroforming process actually started in the 1950’s and was used for producing kitchen spouts. At least in part, the process was developed to allow for easier metal finishing, but also offered the strength and design advantages we often speak of today.

It’s generally assumed that hydroforming is now best known for its application in the automotive sector, but it’s certainly not limited to that. Hydroforming allows complex parts to be build with less tooling, reduces weight by requiring less material, and offers the ultimate sky is the limit approach to design. Automobile designers everywhere have discovered that new hydroformed structures are a lighter and stronger alternative to traditional stamped and welded assemblies. American Hydroformers, Inc. (AHI) can meet the needs of customers in the automotive industry for hydroformed catalytic converter cones and exhaust components, crash tips, cross members, engine cradles, frame rails, header and exhaust manifolds, instrument panel beams, radiator and roof supports, trailing suspension arms and more.

For many years, high performance and race car builders have utilized tubular frame construction for its strength and lightweight nature. With the latest federal mandates for mileage and crash worthiness, hydroformed frames are an ideal solution.

AHI offers automotive hydroforming, diesel exhaust hydroforming, as well as hydroforming for plumbing, recreation vehicles, appliances and other unique applications.

Unlike other metal forming techniques, hydroforming allows for increased part strength, lower part weight, and greater design flexibility, while also improving overall part quality. Contact us to see how you can reduce your tooling and part costs.