What is tubular hydroforming? Tubular Hydroforming is a cost effective way of shaping pliable metals such as aluminum, brass, and low alloy stainless steel. The process has been used since the 1950’s. Due to new advancements in technology and equipment in the industry, tubular hydroforming has only recently become a viable method for mass production. Modern machines now have independent control of various aspects of production such as, internal pressure, axial feeding, and counter-pressure. The control of these combined variables gives tubular hydroforming the upper hand in metal forming over older, more dated machinery and techniques.
The Pro’s and Cons of Hydroforming
Tube hydroforming has allowed engineers to optimize their designs through cross sectional reshaping and perimeter expansion. This, combined with the ability to inexpensively create the holes that are required for vehicle subsystem interfaces, hydroforming has become a critical technology for structural components in mass-produced vehicles. Some of the advantages of this process include;
- The reduction of overall weight of the part via optimal design and thickness of the parts walls.
- Lower production cost as a result of fewer parts.
- Fewer secondary operations needed.
- Drastically reduced waste.
- Parts are more structurally sound with improved strength and stiffness.
Like with anything there are a few drawbacks to the hydroforming process, these include;
- Slow cycle time.
- Cost of the equipment.
- Lack of extensive knowledge of the process and tool design.
Both advantages and disadvantages should be weighed when considering the hydroforming process for a part. Of course as this process becomes more widely used, several factors will have to be addressed. Some of these factors include;
- Choosing a proper industrial lubricant that does not break down when subjected to high pressures.
- Material selection and overall quality of the tube to be hydroformed.
- Reducing time required for a single tube to be hydroformed.
In all, hydroforming is a production process that offers many advantages and produces exceptional components for use in cars and in industrial machinery. The process continues to grow and develop, creating a bright and vivid future for itself as a go to production method through companies such as American Hydroformers. Next time you think, so what is tubular hydroforming? Please feel free to contact us at our website.