When the right situation presents itself, sheet metal hydroforming will be an efficient and cost-effective manufacturing process. However, the situation will depend on the project and the type of equipment that will be available.
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Metal hydroforming is not anything new, but it does offer an appropriate alternative that some manufacturers may not be considering. If your organization or company does not currently own any hydroforming equipment or operate any hydroforming equipment, how do you make the decision on whether hydroforming can be the appropriate method for your upcoming sheet metal project?
Metal has been used for centuries to create numerous products in a variety of markets. Since the 1800s, many of those metal forming operations eventually grew into the operations that we use today. With so many developments being made during the metal forming operations, a degree of separation needed to be made.
The process of hydroforming has been kicked around the manufacturing industry for quite some time. The process involves forming ductile metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and low allow steel into complex shapes by the use of fluid and pressure.
The application of evenly distributed pressure over the single sheet of metal or through a tube results in components with a number of benefits over their traditionally manufactured counterparts. Some benefits of hydroforming include:
Superior Surface Quality
Because the sheet of metal being pressed never comes into contact with actual tooling equipment, the chances of structural and surface damage are drastically reduced.
Components manufactured via hydroforming exhibit superior strength to weight ratio. In addition, complex shapes can be created with all of their walls at a more uniform thickness than what could previously be achieved.
Versatility of Materials
This process allows for the use of any ductile metals to be hydroformed. Regardless of if it’s sheets of copper, brass, aluminum, titan, or steel, optimum deformation levels can always be reached. The thickness of the sheets to be formed can range anywhere from 0.05mm to 6mm. Hydroforming is also superior at forming thin sheets over other traditional forming methods.
Because the hydroforming process does not require the use of guide way systems or hold-down device, the process saves quite a sum of money. Combine this with the fact that hydroforming generates very little waste from the process and the fact that tooling costs are cut in half due to only needing the negative molding tool. The result is a manufacturing process which drastically cuts back on manufacturing time and production costs. Additionally, complex shapes can often be created using one machine, which negates the necessity for more machinery to be running.
It’s for these reasons that it’s no wonder the benefits of hydroforming components are growing in popularity in the automotive industry; specifically for racing vehicles. They are also commonly seen being used for machinery parts, and in the aerospace industry. If you would like to learn more about hydroforming, we welcome you to visit our website. Additionally, if you would like to ask us a question directly feel free to contact us.
It has long been established that deep draw hydroforming is a technology that has staying power. The process in which deep draw hydorforming follows makes it a powerful solution for a variety of manufacturing industries, helping to set a future path for how many things are made.
It was recently reported recently that deep draw hydoforming is now fostering the production of medical devices. Stating that the process was “ideal” for production of this type.
From the article:
An innate ability to foster rapid prototyping, inexpensive product development, and low-volume, high-mix production makes sheet hydroforming ideal for medical device manufacturing.
Additionally, according to the report, deep draw hydroforming brings several unique advantages to the production of medical device fabrication, no matter the material in which it is made (aluminum or steel).
– Tooling advantages. Parts can be manufactured quicker and with less lead time. Meaning that, along side various structural benefits, parts require less manufacturing time after the prototype design is established.
– Improved, stronger parts. Because the tooling process allows devices to be made of materials that work together mutually and beneficially, parts can be produced out of materials that better suit the needs of the user.
– A wider range of part designs. Parts that would normally require multiple, complex angles (and even negative angles) are formed easily.
– Skilled labor not required. Because of the artisan-ship and skill that once went into sheet hydroforming, it was as much an art as a trade. But as the article points out:
Modern systems allow for precise control over both the diaphragm pressure and, on deep draw models, punch position… This infinite control… along with the ability to save proven recipes for future access, leads to rapid new part development and greater part consistency due to the repeatable nature of the process.
– Forming simulations hit benchmark. Forming simulation suites make the process more simple and user-friendly on the front end. Like looking at a recipe and adding ingredients.
Sheet and deep draw hydroforming assist in adding an advantage to a broad spectrum of industries, and we’re proud to be on the cutting edge of the future alongside it. For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.
A prominent leader in hydraulic press and automation sheet hydroforming systems named Beckwood Press Company, has produced a hydroforming press especially catered to aerospace industry parts supplier, Steelville Manufacturing Co, according to an article on digitaljournal.com which outlines the mutually beneficial deal between the two:
The bladder-forming press provides Steelville dramatically increased forming capability, and features a 24″ forming area and 5,000 PSI of forming pressure.
Steelville Manufacturing Co. (located in Steelville, Missouri and formed in 1959), is a parts supplier for many large US aerospace companies, including leaders in the industry like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, among others.
They collaborated with Beckwood Press Co. after the two decided that the speed in which their internal forming capability and overall parts production efficiency was functioning, could easily be increased through the addition of Triform Sheet Hydroforming press.
Triform Sheet Hydroforming equipment provides even and accurate pressure, which greatly reduces production time, and all but eliminates manual hand-work.
Not mention next to no maintenance requirements, which mainly consists of a bladder change process that takes roughly an hour to complete. And because of the size and design of the Triform Sheet Press, the space it occupies on the production floor is minimal.
Before Beckwood and Steeleville collaborated together, Steelville was mainly press brake forming their parts. But since March, when the Triform 24-5BD began operation at their facility, Steelville has already seen a positive impact on all manufacturing operations.
According to Joseph Dust, one of Steelville Manufacturing Co.’s chief engineers who was in charge of the Triform press integration, they had been manufacturing parts for a very long time, which they soon came to find out were almost tailor-made for the Triform press.
The addition of the [press] definitely makes forming parts much easier, [and] the overall time required to make our form tools has been cut in half.
Adding that, just over the first few weeks the Triform press was in operation, they had already produced well over 10 parts, all with reduced manual labor and costs. A timeframe that would have typically seen a part production count of next to 5, or even less.
For additional information on the Triform Sheet Hydroforming Press, click here.
For more details on the collaboration between the two companies, click here.
For more information on how American Hydroformers can help you, to request a free quote, or for related information on how the hydroforming process can revolutionize how you do business, please contact us any time.
What is Sheet Metal Hydroforming?
Sheet metal hydroforming is a metal forming process that is achieved by applying force to sheet metal to alter its overall geometric shape as opposed to added or subtracting any materials. The applied force used in production alters the sheet metal’s yield strength, causing the metal to bend but not to cause failure. Sheet metal can be bent into many complex shapes by using this process.
A great example of how some sheet hydroformers uses this deep draw hydroforming technique is below.
Deep draw hydroforming is a process of sheet metal hydroforming similar to most techniques, but differs in execution. Sheet metal is stretched and bent into a desired shape. This is done when a tool pushes down onto sheet metal, forcing it into a die cavity in a pre-set shape. The tensile force causes the metal to form into a cup shape.
The deep drawing process begins with a blank, a blank holder, a punch, and a die. The blank, or piece of sheet metal, is placed into the blank holder over top of the die. The cavity of which is the shape of the desired part. Then, a tool called a punch moves downward onto the blank and “draws,” or bends/stretches the part into the desired shape, but does not alter its strength.
The parts can have a variety of cross sections, and can have straight, tapered, or even curved walls, but the most common shapes are cylinders and rectangles. The deep draw process is most commonly used with ductile metals like aluminum, copper, and a mild steel. Some examples of deep draw parts are automotive bodies/frames, fuel tanks, cans, cups, kitchen sinks, and pots and pans.
For additional information on how we can help you contact us any time.
Most consumers are already fairly well aware that one of the most common applications of sheet hydroforming is found in the automotive sector. For years, auto makers have taken advantage of hydroforming techniques to make their models faster, lighter, and more attractive.
Take, for example, the Lincoln MKC, displayed at the 2013 LA Auto Show. One of the MKC’s selling points is, in fact, a product of sheet hydroforming: a completely seamless liftgate.
Instead of punching the sheet metal between two large dies, the sheet is formed around a die using a liquid-filled bladder. By taking away the seams from the rear of the vehicle, it creates an incredibly clean and strong design, while also simplifying assembly. (Auto123.com)
Such innovations in the automotive world involving hydroforming have become commonplace, however.
What may come as more of a surprise would be the recent application of hydroforming to develop Gramovox’s classy Bluetooth gramophone. Built in the shape of a retro gramophone horn, this wireless speaker adds a sense of whimsy to any and all musical styles with the added bonus of a vintage sound produced combining both classic 1920s techniques with modern-day developments, “with the cone spun on a lathe and the neck hydroformed out of metal sheets. The two parts will then be hand welded together” (cnet.com)
With the project to produce these little beauties still seeking support through Kickstarter, it seems unlikely that consumers will see these readily available any time soon; however, it is fascinating to see how blending modern hydroforming techniques with creativity can bring about truly fascinating and useful products.
For more on the unique uses of hydroforming, sheet hydroforming or metal fabrication in general, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to working together with you.
In the 1940s, deep draw hydroforming became the forefront method for developing and manufacturing irregular shaped metal parts. Die style stamping became archaic, as it became inefficient in comparison to the hydroforming method.
The old style die stamping method used heat to draw metal and parts formed using this process took longer to make as the process of shaping the metal uniformly took more time and manpower to develop. Deep draw hydroforming allowed manufacturers to create irregular or asymmetrical parts using a cold forming process. Because hydroformed parts requires less finishing work, less time and manpower is needed to create perfect pieces.
One distinct advantage of deep draw hydroforming is it allows the manufacturer to create and manipulate a variety of metals including aluminum, brass, carbon steel, stainless steel, and alloy. This versatility has allowed manufacturers to meet the demands of a variety of industries including, but not limited to the aerospace industry, the automobile industry, and the HVAC industry.
Top Advantages of Deep Draw Hydroforming
- Many parts can be formed using a one step process
- Irregular shapes can be manufactured in less time due to less finishing work on the final product
- Material stability and durability is maintained during the forming process
- Less machines are used in the process resulting in quicker set up times
- Development costs are significantly reduced
- Abnormalities such as ripping, tearing, wrinkling, and marking associated with traditional die forming is eliminated
For more information about how deep draw hydroforming can save your firm time and money in the manufacturing process, contact us. The experts at American Hydroformers have proudly served the metal manufacturing industry for over 10 years and are dedicated to creating comprehensive metal manufacturing solutions for your firm.
Sheet hydroforming is a process that uses liquid as the medium of energy transfer to form the workpiece. Hydroforming is applied more and more in industry because it results in a better strain state in the workpiece. A deeper draw can be achieved and the friction between tools and blanks is reduced.
The advantages of hydroforming include reduction in weight, increase in stiffness, no damage to the surface of the sheet, and the capability to form complex shapes.
1. Reduction in weight: If strength is not compromised, a reduction in weight is always advantageous in the automobile, airline, and other such industries. The reduction in weight can contribute to an increase in speed. In addition, in building any structure a reduction in weight is advantageous.
2. Increase in stiffness and rigidity: While we might want speed, we also want safety. With the stiffness and rigidity, safety is enhanced.
3. Complex shaped: With sheet hydroforming, many complex shapes can be created without the use of welds which could compromise safety. The use of stamps and hydraulics allows various shapes include concave and convex curves.
4. Good surface finish: We want the reduction in weight with safety. But we also want the aesthetics. This process produces quality surface finishes without the blemishes of welding.
Sheet hydroforming is useful in reducing weight and cost simultaneously by improving structural integrity, strength, and rigidity. Cost reduction includes the elimination or decrease of welds and welding operations. Additionally, production steps are reduced which contributes to the cost reduction.
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