Tube Hydroforming Step By Step Process
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. When compared to traditional metal stamped and welded parts, hydroformed parts are lightweight, have a lower cost per unit, and are made with a higher stiffness to weight ratio. The processes can also be utilized in the single stage production of components; saving labor, tools, and materials.
Tube Hudroforming Step By Step Process
- If the shape contains bends that deviate from a straight line, the raw tube is loaded into the tube bender. This bends the tube giving it the necessary curvature in order to fit into the dies.
- The bent Tube is then typically placed in either our 200 or 500 ton pre-form press. These presses will initiate the forming and shape change of the part and assist in the hydroforming process.
- The part then goes to a hydroforming press. This press will pressurize the water inside the tube and give the part its final shape and look. (Fig A.)
- Newly hydroformed parts go through a parts wash as required to ensure precision laser cutting or stenciling.
- Finally, the part is taken to the laser center for specific cutting, etching, or trimming purposes.