What Is Metal Hydroforming?
Hydroforming is a cost-effective metal fabricating and forming process which shapes virtually all ductile metals such as aluminum, brass, carbon, copper, low alloy steel, and stainless steel. The process consists of a specialized type of die molding which uses high pressurized hydraulic liquid to transform both ferrous and non-ferrous metals into structurally durable and lightweight pieces. The hydraulic fluid is injected from the hydraulic high-pressure pumps into an aluminum tube until the required mold is achieved. Metal hydroforming allows for the creation of complex contours and shapes to be formed. The material can be significantly altered fabricating strong parts with a uniform thickness. This is nearly impossible when using a standard solid die stamp.
Hydroforming equipment consists of a hydraulic forming press, a hydroform water system, a hydroforming tool or die and pressure intensifiers. In the initial stages the components are put together without the need of multiple stampings and welds.
Hydroform presses come in a variety of pressure capabilities and sizes. Because they are built for increased efficiency, they need a high level of working force. The are three types of hydroform presses.
- The single-acting presses are used for conventional sheet and tubular hydroforming. The press capacity is important in order to build internal pressure in the tube, liquids and special controls. If the press capacity is not met a pressure intensifier may be needed.
- The Tandum hydraulic presses enables the material to be hydroformed in a single press. Two dies can work in unison, handling larger work pieces, operating in one press.
- The C-frame press offers 270 degrees of accessibility which enables the handling of longer parts.