Posts Tagged tube hydroforming aluminum

Hydroforming Aluminum Vs Stamped Steel

Hydroforming Aluminum Vs Stamped Steel

The rise of hydroforming as a viable manufacturing process which reduces the weight of resulting items is driving two distinct transitions in the industry. One of these is the switching from stamping to hydroforming, and the other is from steel to aluminum.

It is the desire to reduce item weight which is pushing forward the hydroforming of aluminum. Steel has long been the go-to metal for bike, automotive, marine, and aerospace components. However, the need for a more lightweight material arose when the industries began to feel a need for lighter components.

This is where aluminum came in. It is more lightweight than steel, resulting in the component having a 25%-50% reduction in overall weight as compared to the same component made from stamped steel. Once aluminum was able to easily be hydroformed, the transition began. Many manufacturers favor hydroforming over older means of metal forming such as stamping because hydroforming can deliver complex shapes and sizes, as well as requiring less finishing work. This is due to the fact that imperfections which would be present in the surface of the pressed metal when stamping are not present in components which were hydroformed.

The only downside manufacturers must take into consideration is the cost difference. Because aluminum is in such high demand across a wide range of industries, manufacturers could be looking at a cost anywhere from three to five times more than the same quantity of steel.

However, this is a small price to pay for the excellent product which comes from hydroforming aluminum. These superior components are ideal in industries where individual component weight is a variable.

If you would like to know more about hydroforming or friction stir welding, we invite you to visit us at our website. Additionally, you may contact us with any questions or comments about this article and more.

Aluminum Hydroforming Outperforming Steel Stamping

Aluminum Hydroforming Outperforming Steel Stamping

Hydroforming aluminum products has been around for the last few decades in some for or another. In the beginning, it was perfected to manufacture lightweight parts for the automotive industry as cars strayed away from heavier models and progressed towards more economical and efficient versions. But has since branched out to several other industries.

The advantages of aluminum hydroforming are numerous. Including weight reduction, vastly improved design flexibility, space reduction science, reduced jointing, less “downstream processing,” and a large impact on dimensional performance.

By replacing steel with aluminum, advanced hydroforming techniques could be applied to some of the most trusted and widely-used hydroforming methods. Aluminum sheeting, once added to the materials rotation, significantly impacted the stamping application, opening the door for advanced products and design. Then, as the automotive industry began to rapidly request more lightweight products, hydroforming adapted along side it.

As a basic rule that is typically agreed on by experts, and is used as an outline for aluminum hydroforming, there are three factors that contribute to the characteristics of aluminum extrusions.

They are:

Elongation: Most think that aluminum, being a lighter, more malleable material, would exhibit greater formable features than steel. This is contrary to the truth. In fact, steel is more formable than aluminum, but is obviously more weighty. Thus, the elongation factor is paramount to aluminum’s performance and usability over steel in addition to weight.

Materials: That is, alloys and tempers. Aluminum comes in a large variety of both of these characteristics, but the most widely sought after is a material that is strong and stable. Something that aluminum can have trouble with if close attention is not paid.

Shapes: A huge factor for aluminum’s growth in hydroforming is its ability to be formed into a large amount of shapes and sizes. Further, the cross sections that aluminum comes in out rivals steel in every regard (steel typically only comes in one: round).

Using aluminum in the hydroforming process has, and will continue to change how the technique is done. As major industries continue to evolve, so will how products are used, and how they benefit everyone involved.

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Aluminum Hydroforming Leaves Its Mark

Aluminum Hydroforming Leaves Its Mark

As automotive and mountain-biking companies begin to roll out sneak peeks at their 2015 lineups, it is becoming increasingly apparent just how much new advancements in hydroforming aluminum have affected both industries overall. This is pleasing because since aluminum is lighter than carbon and stainless steel, the use of hydroformed aluminium in car parts has opened new vistas of possibilities for increased effectiveness and decreased weight.

Take for example the 2015 lineup from the German biking company Merida. According to a recent article, next year’s lineup boasts more aluminium than ever, including a new Reacto aero bike featuring a very special frame:

The frame in question is made from hydroformed triple-butted 6066 aluminium with a tapered head tube and an integrated seat clamp like you’ll find on the carbon models. It looks like a high-quality piece of work in a very good grade of alloy (road.cc).

Looking beyond the world of cycling to the automotive realm, we see that Ford has certainly taken advantage of new opportunities provided by aluminum hydroforming.

Proof of this can be easily witnessed in their new 2015 line, which includes an all-aluminum body for its new F-150. In fact, the new F-150 was a recent spotlight by Ford’s purchasing chief Hau Thai-Tang, citing that the vehicle is the the first pickup with an aluminum body. As a result, it is on average about sixty pounds lighter. The F-150 still incorporates a steel frame, however, for improved rigidity (Auto News).

With new advancements being made all the time in the area of aluminium hydroforming, we look forward to many more companies taking advantage of these techniques to provide vehicles and machinery that are not only lighter and more durable but are also more cost-effective.

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Three Applications for Tube Hydroforming Aluminum

Three Applications for Tube Hydroforming Aluminum

While most people are only vaguely aware of the concept of hydroforming and its many benefits, even fewer are well-versed in the specifics of tube hydroforming aluminum. The unfortunate truth is that although they often benefit from the results, most people are unaware of how this process actually influences their daily lives.

Three Applications for Aluminum Hydroforming:

  1. Mountain Bikes. We list this one first because it is probably one of the better known applications. Thanks to recent developments in aluminum hydroforming, mountain bike frames are now more sleek and lightweight than ever.
  2. Automotive Body Panels. Within the last few years, the overall emphasis on energy consumption and the desire on the part of auto makers to produce cars that are fuel-efficient have together led manufacturers to desire more lightweight designs in order to minimize fuel consumption. As early as 2012, it was suggested that sheet hydroforming techniques could be used to produce aluminum body panels, which would significantly lighten vehicle weight. We look forward to seeing how these ideas take shape in the days to come.
  3. Medical Device Manufacturing. Thanks to hydroforming technology, medical devices made from aluminium, titanium, stainless steel, and other composites can now be produced with lower cost and higher product quality than ever before. According to a recent article in Today’s Medical Developments, “Sheet hydroforming and the accompanying technologies are helping medical device manufactures prepare for the future. With these technologies, device manufacturers can stay ahead of government regulations, implement a leaner manufacturing environment, and bring products to market faster while delivering higher profit margins.”

Although hydroforming techniques mostly center on carbon steel and stainless steel, we look forward to seeing more applications of tube hydroforming aluminum in the days to come. For more information on this, or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

American Hydroformers provides metal fabricating solutions using the most advanced hydroforming processes available. Our manufacturing expertise includes hydroforming, hydraulic press work, laser cutting and various other metal forming techniques.