Manual Metal Polishing vs. Automatic Metal Polishing Services

Posted by Helander Team on Fri, Oct 16, 2020

Metal polishing is a finishing process that uses abrasive materials to improve the surface of precision metal components. Polishing enhances the functional and aesthetic quality of the metallic surface by removing surface imperfections (e.g., scratches and nicks), improving corrosion and oxidation resistance, and/or adding a coarse, satin, fine satin finish.


Metal polishing operations utilize a variety of abrasive tools to achieve the specified finish on the workpiece. This process may also involve multiple stages. Generally, the polishing process starts by producing a coarse finish on the workpiece to remove burrs and other excess material. A series of successively finer grit abrasives are then used until the desired finish is reached.

Metal forming companies employ a variety of methods to complete metal polishing operations. Here, we provide a quick overview of manual metal polishing and automatic metal polishing, outlining the key advantages and typical applications of each.

Overview of Manual Metal Polishing

As suggested by its name, manual metal polishing involves human workers polishing the metal workpieces by hand. It is suitable for softer materials that require a more delicate and sensitive touch to avoid damaging or overworking the surface and for parts with complex or intricate designs, complicated geometries, highly specific finishing requirements, and/or large dimensions. This polishing method is ideal for small volume production runs.

About Automatic and Robotic Metal Polishing

Automatic metal polishing operations utilize preprogrammed robots to polish metal workpieces. By minimizing the need for operators, automated technologies allow for lower labor costs, better employee safety, and faster turnaround. Given the higher upfront costs and automated equipment’s limited responsiveness to delicate, complex, or very large parts, this polishing method is best suited for simple and small parts produced in high volumes. For example, it would not be appropriate for finishing giant nozzles.

Partner With Helander for All of Your Metal Polishing Needs

Manual metal polishing and automatic metal polishing both offer advantages, given the right application - one is not inherently better than another. Determining which type of polishing is right for your project necessitates evaluating your part and production requirements (e.g., part design, part size, production quantity, and expected turnaround time) and assessing which method best suits your needs. If you are looking for an experienced and knowledgeable partner for your next metal polishing project, turn to the experts at Helander.

At Helander, we provide advanced metal polishing services to customers across a wide range of industries. We offer polishing capabilities for all metals, including aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, and steel, to finishes ranging from 36 to 240 grit. Equipped with over 80 years of industry experience and state-of-the-art metal polishing equipment, we have what it takes to deliver polished parts and products that meet the industry’s highest standards.

Our team is fully committed to providing customers with quality polished components for their applications. This commitment is reflected by our adherence/compliance with numerous industry standards and specifications, including ISO 9001:2015, AS9100D, ASME, NADCAP, ITAR, and PPAP.

For general inquiries or questions our metal polishing capabilities, contact us today. To discuss specific polishing requirements with one of our experts, request a quote here.

Tags: metal polishing, new equipment

Tips for a Great Metal Spinning Design

Posted by Helander Team on Tue, Sep 22, 2020

Metal spinning transforms workpieces into axially symmetrical objects. This technique is a lower-cost metal forming option and enables unique shapes – such as parabolic nose shapes, hemispherical, and cones - to be created from singular pieces of metal, as opposed to forming seamed pieces that are structurally weaker. Here we will share some insights about the metal spinning process to help you choose the right materials and other considerations for your next project.

Metal spinning stainless steel

Material Selection

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Tips for a Great Metal Spinning Design

Metal spinning is compatible with a wide range of metal alloys. Each metal offers unique characteristics and performance enhancements. You will need to choose between various base metals and finishes, which will depend on your planned components’ tolerance requirements, specifications, and required strength. By working closely with your part fabricator, appropriate material recommendations and selection can be made.

Below are some of the popular and trustworthy options for metal spinning.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is easy to work with and possesses many beneficial properties for end applications. On the production side, stainless steel is cost-effective, highly corrosion-resistant, heat-resistant, and responds well to various fabrication techniques involved in metal spinning. At Helander, our team can spin stainless steel tubes and discs to up to 0.250” thick. The resulting products are strong and lightweight, in addition to their durability.


Aluminum is frequently implemented in the aerospace, construction, and transportation industries. Some of its aluminum’s most sought-after characteristics include its low price point, lightness, and malleability. This low-density metal can form highly functional parts without weighing down the intricate machinery or equipment with tight weight requirements. It is also known for its corrosion resistance. At Helander, we can fabricate aluminum parts up to 1.50” thick.


Copper is popular in industrial, commercial, and residential products because of its high degree of functionality and external beauty. It is antimicrobial and effectively withstands corrosion, making it ideal for exterior or high-contact applications. It also possesses excellent heat and electric conductivity. On the production side, copper is very ductile, and manufacturers are able to work with it quickly to produce complex part designs.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is incredibly durable. The higher the concentration of carbon within the metal, the stronger and more rigid it becomes. Carbon steel is also cost-effective, making it ideal for applications that require a high strength capacity and a high volume of parts. Painting and coating this metal is a streamlined process, and it is also fully recyclable.


Composed of copper and zinc, brass offers corrosion resistance, easy workability, and visual appeal. It also conducts heat and electricity well. The addition of other elements makes brass stronger than pure copper. Depending on the specific brass alloy you choose, you are able to add ductility, low-friction characteristics, and malleability to the workpiece.


Hastelloy is built to withstand high stress and corrosion. It can withstand acid damage from sulfuric acids, hydrochloric acids, and much more. At the same time, the metal is easy to work with because of its thermal stability and resistance to stress.


Titanium is stronger than aluminum and offers more tensile strength than stainless steel. Its advantageous characteristics include excellent corrosion resistance, low weight and density, and a high strength-to-weight ratio.

While titanium products come at a higher cost, they are high in demand within the aerospace industry in particular, as the parts are reliable, withstand extreme conditions, and stay within required equipment weight loads. 


Similarly to Hastelloy, Inconel holds up very well even in extreme conditions. It has excellent resistance to both corrosion and oxidation. The metal can also withstand high heat and pressure conditions. Inconel offers superior strength, making it ideal for harsh industrial environments.

When the right metal is selected, it can be spun with high accuracy to your thickness and specification requirements. Finding the right metal before your first prototype or production run can lower total costs and minimize waste.

Metal spun components

Tooling Cost Considerations

As with workpieces, the tooling used in the metal spinning process can be customized to meet the needs of a particular project. Low-volume productions can save money by implementing tools made from less expensive metals. Hardwood tools, for example, make excellent temporary tools because they are less costly and can effectively handle prototype, low-volume, or soft metal orders. Soft tools made from aluminum and softer steels form permanent tools that are intended only for short production runs. For longer production runs or productions spinning stronger metals, the tools must be hardened.

Metal spinning processes employ mandrels, which are shafts or spindles that undergo the relatively soft forces involved in spinning metal pieces. The workmanship and quality of the mandrel has a significant impact on the accuracy and functionality of resulting parts. 

While metal spinning tooling materials do affect total costs, this metal forming service is still more cost-effective than many other fabrication processes. Manufacturers can produce high-quality mandrels through simple turning and machining. This is much simpler than creating dies, using highly manual alternative processes, or using tools that require a long lead time. Overall, the lower costs of spin forming tooling can reduce startup production costs between 80% and 90%.


A tried-and-true strategy to lower total production costs and controlling product quality to the highest possible extent is to work closely with your metal spinning services provider. Communicating with the manufacturer’s team at the start of the project is better able to ensure early success in the prototyping stage and that you choose the right materials for your parts. At Helander, our engineers offer comprehensive advice and services, such as:

  • Tailored size, radius, and thickness recommendations 
  • Adherence to tight tolerance requirements 
  • A balanced design plan that prioritizes both cost and quality
  • In-depth design analysis for additional, honest insights

Tolerance Requirements

Tight tolerance requirements will increase the total cost of any metal spinning project. The fabrication process itself tends to make the metal thinner, so it is important to identify how thin the part can be and still perform as expected and according to specifications. We recommend you identify the differing thicknesses required in the various areas of the part; a sidewall, for example, may need a different thickness than corners. Specifying thickness and tolerance levels only at the critical points can make your project more cost-effective.

Metal spinning offers a great deal of flexibility and can handle different thickness requirements. 

metal spinning cylinder

Define the End Goal

It is important to make sure you begin the part fabrication process with a clear focus on the end result. Spin forming produces circular parts – the technique is truly practical when parts will take advantage of its signature circular shapes. It is also key to consider all aspects of the end application – will it need the great corrosion and heat resistance of Inconel, for example, or are aesthetics more important? This is another point that your chosen manufacturer should be able to address – the engineers at Helander are always happy to provide tailored recommendations.

Choosing the Right Partner

It is essential to work with an experienced metal spinner that offers a comprehensive range of services and excellent customer service. When looking for a part fabricator, keep these criteria in mind:

  • Expertise: Does the manufacturer have quality management certification, industry-specific certifications, and an engineering team with broad expertise?
  • Stability: If you need a long-term partnership for long-term productions, make sure the company is strong financially, focused on growth, has a low employee turnover rate, and regularly invests in the latest state-of-the-art technology.
  • Great customer service: Does the company have an excellent track record of delivering on time, answering customer questions promptly, and accurately predicting their ability to handle lead times and volume requirements?

Comprehensive Metal Spinning Design Services At Helander

Helander continues to build on a legacy of over 80 years of metal spinning expertise. Our team includes incredibly talented engineers, material specialists, and manufacturing technologists who will help you choose the right materials and tooling for your project and ensure the success of the parts’ production. 

We will be able to provide recommendations to maximize both part quality and your cost savings. Contact us today to learn more about our spinning design services. 


Highlighting Our New CNC Metal Spinning Lathe & Capabilities

Posted by Helander Team on Thu, Feb 27, 2020

At Helander, we are able to offer innovative and cutting-edge spinning solutions to our customers by regularly expanding our equipment portfolio. We are pleased to announce the recent addition of a CNC metal spinning lathe with machining capabilities to our equipment line. 

Our new lathe is designed to tolerate hot spinning up to 2,000° F and is equipped with thermocouple feedback and temperature control to facilitate temperature monitoring. Our team can now spin form blanks up to 8 feet in diameter and metals up to 2 inches thick, depending on the metal grade and the temperature applied. These aspects and capabilities make the CNC metal spinning lathe ideal for applications requiring larger components, heat resistance, or precise temperature control.

Compatible Parts & Industrial Applications

CNC metal spinning lathes enable an exceptional degree of design versatility and can be used to produce parts for a wide range of industries and applications. The high level of precision and consistency achieved with CNC metal spinning lathes make them especially well-suited for producing complex components for aerospace and defense operations. 

Several examples of products commonly manufactured through CNC metal spinning include:

  • Exhaust ducts
  • Liners for airplanes or spacecraft
  • Tank heads
  • Pressure vessels

At Helander, we are capable of holding tolerances within +/-0.030 of an inch, allowing us to manufacture complex parts with incredible precision. The many metal alloys we work with include titanium; 321 stainless steel; and 7075, 5052, and 6061 aluminum, with material thicknesses ranging from 0.018–2 inches. 

We also possess a hydroforming facility that is equipped to produce parts up to 20 inches in diameter and 10 inches in height. We are able to accommodate orders ranging from a single piece up to 50,000 pieces annually.

The CNC Metal Spinning Lathe Process

The metal spinning process uses friction created by a high-speed lathe to transform metal into spherical or conical shapes. A flat metal disc or tube known as a blank is rotated on a lathe and pressed against a tool called a mandrel to shape it into the requested configuration. With traditional metal spinning methods, an operator manually controls the spinning process to produce axially symmetrical parts.

While manual spinning methods are still critical and widely used within the metal spinning industry, using a CNC machine to control the spinning process offers excellent intricacy, precision, and repeatability in part production. With CNC spinning, a trained machinist programs an operational sequence on a computer, which will then be used to shape the metal workpiece according to the customer’s specifications. 

Benefits of CNC spinning technology include:

  • Quick and efficient production
  • Short lead times
  • High repeatability
  • Wide range of possible designs, patterns, and details
  • Relatively low production costs
  • Low-cost tooling

CNC Metal Spinning Services at Helander 

CNC metal spinning lathes are among the latest and greatest innovations in metal spinning technology today. Applying computer programming and automation to the metal spinning process enables the quick and efficient production of high-precision parts with reliable repeatability. CNC technology is an ideal fit for manufacturing components used in competitive and demanding industries where precision is critical to safety and performance.

With the addition of our new CNC metal spinning lathe, Helander is more prepared than ever to meet even the most stringent manufacturing requirements of customers from virtually any industry. With more than 80 years of experience in metal forming and fabrication, we are exceptionally qualified to provide carefully tailored manufacturing solutions for applications of any complexity. Given our long track record of successful projects, you can count on us for high-quality products, excellent customer service, and prompt deliveries.

For additional information regarding our metal spinning services and other manufacturing capabilities, check out our ever-expanding free resource center or contact our team today.

Tags: welding, metal polishing, new equipment

Helander’s New Facility & Capability Expansion

Posted by Helander Team on Thu, Feb 27, 2020

At Helander, our over 80 years of metal forming and fabrication expertise have drawn a growing number of customers—ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies—who turn to us for their precision metal part and product needs. 

In response to growing customer demand and unique specifications, we’re happy to announce that we have added a new building to our facilities to address their needs. The expansion allows us to increase our production capacity, as well as expand our capabilities to better serve our customers. 

New and Enhanced Capabilities at Our New Facility

The new 28,000-square-foot facility serves as the new home for our welding and polishing departments. The additional room provided by the expansion enables us to increase our automatic polishing capabilities and to introduce new, highly anticipated heat treating capabilities. In addition to housing these operations, the new facility also features: 

  • A warehouse space to help us stock larger quantities of parts for customers
  • A bigger conference room and meeting area for hosting new and existing customers
  • A showroom to highlight past successful projects to customers and partners

Quality Control Expansion

With the completion of the new building, more space has opened up in our current building, turning our dedicated QC area into a QC Lab. We’re taking advantage of this extra room by having expanded our existing Quality Control department and inspection area, allowing us to better ensure the quality of the parts and products we produce. Our new QC enhancements include:

  • Addition of a second FARO ARM CMM which allows for an additional 1.5 feet of reach, with Blue HD laser scanning capabilities. Our Blue HD laser scanner can now take millions of reference points vs hundreds of reference points.
  • FARO ARM CMM capabilities: 9’ reach which can be used in conjunction with our other CMM.
  • New open floor plan that is climate/temperature controlled.
  • Display of customer samples + customer gauging, as well as a proper inventory section for customer tooling/samples.
  • 300% growth to our polishing department and a larger welding facility.
  • Addition of an annealing/heat treating oven that can heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit

Altogether, our two facilities now give us the room to optimize our manufacturing operations to increase productivity and efficiency. Additionally, they provide us with the opportunity to enhance the quality of our services for existing customers and increase our production capacity to support future customers’ needs. 

Metal Polishing and Welding Services at Helander

We offer a wide range of metal forming and fabrication services, including metal polishing and welding. 

Metal Polishing

Using advanced manual lathe and turntable polishing equipment, our metal polishing department achieves surface finishes from 36 to 240 grit. We accommodate virtually every requested type of metal, including aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, and steel. Our partnerships with reputable finishing service providers allow us to offer other secondary services, such as anodizing, electropolishing, painting, plating, and more. 


We also provide welding services to suit all kinds of material, part, and production requirements, including:

  • Aerospace welding
  • Automated seam welding
  • Cylindrical welding 
  • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) or metal inert gas (MIG) welding
  • Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding
  • Soldering

In addition to our welding capabilities, we regularly conduct in-house certified weld testing services to ensure the quality and integrity of our welded parts. These services include dye-penetrant testing and hydrostatic testing.

Helander: Committed to Quality

For over eight decades, Helander has maintained a reputation for high-quality metal formed and fabricated products. The expansion of our facilities allows us to grow and enhance our manufacturing capabilities, enabling us to further build on our legacy of excellent quality. 

For more information about our metal forming and fabrication solutions, browse our free resource library

To learn more about our new facility and added capabilities—and what they mean for our customers—contact us today.

Tags: facility expansion

All About Our Custom Tank Heads

Posted by Helander Team on Wed, Jan 08, 2020

At Helander, our metal spinning and sheet hydroforming processes produce a range of durable tank head imageand high-quality metal parts. Tank heads especially are a perfect fit for our metal forming processes. We produce our tank heads in a number of dimensions and shapes, depending on each client’s specific needs. This blog will discuss how Helander makes tank heads and the advantages of using custom-made options instead of choosing stock tank heads.

Customizing Tank Heads: Metal Spinning and Sheet Hydroforming

Metal spinning and hydroforming are both efficient, fast, and precise processes—all of which are qualities that produce top-of-the-line tank heads.

Metal Spinning

Metal spinning is a metalworking process that creates high-performance, axially symmetrical parts. The process transforms a metal disc or tube by rotating it and forming it to a mandrel, clamping it to a lathe, and producing a round shape. Some of the advantages of metal spinning include:

  • Lower costs to alternative forming methods
  • Shorter lead times, with the components available within weeks instead of months
  • Maximum design flexibility, as they can easily be changed to work with evolving product designs
  • Seamless, high-quality construction that produces durable and smooth objects without seams or welds

Metals that are compatible with metal spinning include:


Hydroforming is a fast and efficient process that produces structurally strong components with minimal material waste. It is a reasonably priced technique that is the preferred method for shaping intricate components from ductile metals. The advantages of hydroforming include:

  • Reduced overall time and costs of designing and creating the mold due to the use of a single form surface tool
  • Easy access to resources, as the force that shapes the steel uses water, which is widely available and cost-effective
  • Fast changes to the design of the mold, such as a few days, since the process requires just the single tooling

Compatible metals for hydroforming include:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Aluminum

At Helander, we implement advanced sheet hydroforming techniques and tools to produce tank heads that require a diameter of up to 20” with a depth of up to 10”. Our team produces tank heads of up to 100” in diameter for larger projects. These tank heads have a metal thickness of 2” for aluminum, 0.375” for steel, and 0.250” for stainless steel. We can produce sturdy and durable tank heads in many shapes, including elliptical, curved, and circular.

Custom vs. Stock Tank Heads

You can buy stock, off-the-shelf tank heads in bulk, but many businesses have a specific and custom design and model in mind which proposes a need for custom, specialty tank heads. The most notable advantage of custom tank heads is the certainty that it will fit. Using exact measurements for the tank head, there is a perfect fit every time, which decreases the back-and-forth time and energy that is spent acquiring stock tank heads.

At Helander, we offer custom tank head production per customer design and specification. That being said, we do not keep stock of tank heads because our tank heads are all custom made.

Contact Us for Custom Tank Heads

Helander has more than 80 years of experience in producing custom metal parts, and we provide our metal forming services to everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We ensure customer satisfaction through quality, on-time delivery, customer service, and ethical behavior, and we comply with all customer and regulatory requirements.

We are a custom manufacturer of tank heads with certifications, including ISO 9001:2015, AS9100 Rev. D, and ASME Section 8, Div. 1. We are proud to produce custom tank heads that meet the highest industry standards and exceed our customers’ expectations.  To learn more about the custom tank heads and capabilities at Helander, contact us today.

Tags: Metal Spinning, hydroforming, Custom Metal Spinning, custom tank heads, sheet hydroforming, metal spinning components

Advantages of Hydroforming for Aerospace Applications

Posted by Helander Team on Tue, Nov 19, 2019

Hydroforming is frequently and advantageously applied within the aerospace industry. The typically high complexity of aerospace components necessitates a fabrication technique that canaerospace-cap-edited-500x477 effectively produce the desired shapes and forms. Metal sheet hydroforming provides an economical manufacturing solution for parts with asymmetrical or complex geometries and irregular contours as the process requires fewer passes to produce the desired part than a comparable matched die stamping process.

Hydroforming is suitable for limited production runs of metal parts with irregular contours that cannot be formed by stamping. Additionally, unlike metal spinning, hydroforming allows fabricators to process extremely thin metal sheets and maintain original metal finishes.

Virtually all metals that can be cold formed can undergo the hydroforming process, including:

  • Aluminum
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon
  • High-strength, high-temperature alloys

In addition to the wide range of suitable materials, hydroforming offers a number of unique advantages for the aerospace industry. The following blog post will provide an overview of these advantages.

Unlimited Geometric Possibilities

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Advantages of Hydroforming for Aerospace Applications

As opposed to matched die stamping which requires mated male and female dies, the only tooling that sheet hydroforming requires is a punch (to serve as the male die) and a ring (to hold the blank in place). A rubber diaphragm and pressurized forming chamber function as the female die component. As the urethane bladder does not have a distinct, solid shape, it can take on the shape of any conceivable geometry. This quality allows for the formation of more complex forms with concavities that would be difficult, if not impossible, to produce using standard solid die stamping.

Compared to conventional stamping techniques, hydroforming enables fabricators to form difficult shapes and irregular features within a single press cycle. This process characteristic reduces the number of forming operations required. Additionally, as hydroformed parts can be produced to net shape or near-net shape, a single hydroformed component is often able to replace multiple parts, resulting in assemblies with fewer parts, higher strength, and lower costs.

Combined, these process qualities make sheet hydroforming an ideal manufacturing solution for shorter press runs of uniquely shaped parts used in aerospace applications.

Superior Surface Finishes

In addition to its virtually infinite geometric possibilities, hydroforming also produces parts and products with superior consistency, strength, and surface finishes.

  • Superior consistency. Compared to deep draw stamping operations, the uniform application of pressure during sheet hydroforming operations creates less friction, reducing the amount of strain and stretching experienced by the material and, ultimately, increasing its drawability. These qualities facilitate more consistent and even wall thickness formation.
  • Superior strength. Less strain on the workpiece material also leads to parts with greater structural integrity. This quality allows fabricators to produce more lightweight and thinner parts with the same performance parameters as a stamped alternative, which reduces material and manufacturing costs.
  • Superior surface finishes. Due to the decreased friction and absence of rigid tool contact, sheet hydroforming creates blemish-free formed parts with smooth surface finishes that do not require additional finishing operations, such as polishing or buffing. Process capabilities for precision fabrication ofcontoured and flat surfaces and utilization of exotic materials also reduce the number of surface imperfections requiring further finishing. By minimizing the amount of finishing operations required, the hydroforming process decreases the total cost of production.

The above advantages lead to hydroforming being the manufacturing technique of choice for critical aerospace parts and components that require superior surface finishes.


Economical, Streamlined Prototyping

Hydroforming provides a quick, low-cost prototyping solution. Compared to the tooling used in similar manufacturing processes, hydroforming tooling can be up to 90% less expensive.

At Helander, we use a state-of-the-art 20-inch hydroforming press for our aerospace prototyping projects. We can produce parts with diameters between 1–30 inches and part thickness ranging from 0.030–0.250 inches to ±.003 inches tolerances.

During the design phase, our engineers use CAD and CAM technology to produce prototype models for our client’s products. At any stage of the production process, clients can provide notes or observations for design revisions. Our team can also offer recommendations for part improvements if the client needs a more aesthetic or resilient product.

Our hydroforming capabilities, combined with our commitment to maintaining open client communication, results in superior quality metal components for precise aerospace application needs. For more information about our aerospace-specific capabilities and services, contact us today.

Contact Helander Today

Hydroforming provides several advantages in the manufacture of aerospace parts and components, including greater geometric possibilities, superior surface finishes, and more economical, streamlined operations.

For over 80 years, Helander has offered industry-leading metalworking services. Our hydroforming capabilities enable us to meet our clients’ needs and the stringent manufacturing, engineering, and precision requirements of the aerospace industry. To learn more about our hydroforming services and capabilities for aerospace applications, contact us today.

Tags: Metal Spinning, hydroforming, Custom Metal Spinning, sheet hydroforming, metal spinning components

Hydroforming vs. Metal Stamping

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Mon, Sep 17, 2018

Benefits of Hydroforming vs. Metal Stamping

Hydroforming is a specialized type of die forming that uses high-pressure fluids to form ductile metals such as stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, or aluminum into a particular shape. The process involves first placing a sheet of metal over a predesigned molding tool. The tool can be a mechanically driven mandrel or a solid female die.

cnc-machining01-largeA hydraulic fluid (either oil or water) is then pumped into a chamber behind a flexible, high-strength rubber diaphragm at high pressures. The pressure of the liquid on the rubber diaphragm either counters the force of the rising mandrel for deep drawing applications, or can force the metal into the female mold to produce relatively flat convex and concave shapes.

Hydroforming is capable of producing intricate shapes that would be otherwise impossible or unfeasible with progressive die stamping. This technique can also produce metal components with a high strength-to-weight ratio, at a faster rate, and at a lower per-unit cost than conventional metal stamping.

Advantages of Hydroforming

Hydroforming uses a single form surface tooling which can be either male or female. The use of a solitary rigid tool reduces the overall time and costs associated with the design and manufacture of the mold. The force used to shape the steel is derived from water, which is a widely available resource and has negligible cost implications. Additionally, since only a single tooling is required, design changes to the mold can be incorporated within a few days without significant impact to the manufacturing cost or schedule.

As the rubber diaphragm is filled with pressurized liquid, it presses against the metal sheet, causing the compressive forces to distribute evenly and consistently across the surface of the metal, thus improving formability and appearance. The additional distribution of strain across the metal section increases strain hardening and, therefore, produces a product with enhanced strength properties. The increased strength obtained from hydroforming also has the added benefit of significantly reducing spring back, especially in closed sections such as tubes.

During tube hydroforming, the material can be precut to the desired dimensions before being sent to the hydraulic press. As a result, the part is formed with little to no wastage (usually 0-10%). Moreover, the ability to precut and preform the metal into desired shapes means that complex profiles can be made with a high degree of repeatable accuracy, within strict industry tolerances. The reduction in secondary operations such as cutting and welding means less handling, less machinery, and reduced cost. 

Some Challenges of Metal Stamping

Metal stamping, though useful for a broad array of applications, has several disadvantages when compared to hydroforming. Upfront tooling costs can make short production runs expensive, ineffective, and unfeasible overall. The tooling in metal stamping consists of a male (core) half and a female (cavity) half. The time and cost to produce both halves of the tooling can lead to increased manufacturing costs and longer lead times since more time is needed to design and develop the tooling.

Metal stamping also generally requires that the metal sheet overlap the stamping die by a specified amount to allow the die to punch through and form the material. This process can result in material wastage of 20% or more, depending on the application.

Furthermore, design changes are difficult and costly to implement in metal stamping. For changes to take place, an entirely new die may need to be constructed. Redesigning and reconstructing the two parts of the mold can delay production time and, by virtue, increase the manufacturing cost

Learn More

Although metal stamping still certainly has its place in the manufacturing industry, hydroforming far surpasses this traditional forming method in numerous areas. If you would like to learn more about hydroforming services from Helander and how they can benefit your application, feel free to contact our technical team.


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Helander Set to Attend the 2018 Design-2-Part Trade Show

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, May 08, 2018

The team at Helander is thrilled to announce that we will be attending the 2018 Greater Chicago Design-2-Part trade show from Wednesday, May 9 to Thursday, May 10 at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill.

My Post (6)Held regularly for over 40 years, the Design-2-Part Show is the largest trade show for design and contract manufacturers in the United States, bringing together leading engineers and product manufacturers as they search for the best suppliers of custom components and contract manufacturing services.

Attendees will be able to seek out high-quality suppliers while exploring the newest technologies and innovations for solving common manufacturing challenges. Anyone looking to reduce manufacturing costs, find better-quality products, and ensure faster delivery times can expect to meet face-to-face with many potential partners, including those who offer full-service design, prototyping, and custom manufacturing capabilities.

Helander Exhibition

Helander is proud to be exhibiting at the Greater Chicago Design-2-Part Show, where we’ll be highlighting our expertise in precision metal components such as metal hemispheres and metal cones, airflow nozzles, pressure vessel shells, tank heads, and magnetic and rotary pumps. Select parts and components will be on hand for attendees to view.

Our team will also showcase our wide-ranging custom manufacturing services, including metal spinning, sheet hydroforming, CNC machining, tooling design, and welding. Attendees will be able to explore options for their specific applications, and our expert team will be hand to answer any questions.

Learn More

Allowing job shops and manufacturers to connect directly with OEM engineers, managers, and buyers, this year’s Design-2-Part Show will offer many valuable networking opportunities — plus the chance to view the latest, most cutting-edge innovations.

Ready to learn more about the upcoming 2018 trade show, or looking to discuss Helander custom precision metal manufacturing services? Reach out to the team directly.

Looking to join us at this year’s event? Register for free today!


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3 Automated Technologies that are Changing Metal Forming

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Wed, May 02, 2018

As manufacturing automation continues to rise in popularity, metal processing services are more reliable and affordable than ever. In fact, many companies across the industry, including Helander, are beginning to incorporate automated controllers and machine learning systems into their manufacturing facilities.

metal forming capabilitiesThis equipment allows us to quickly and easily complete key tasks, such as monitoring and adjusting pressure, temperature, and other elements during critical metal processing activities. This results in greater accuracy and precision, ensuring superior reliability. Plus, since processing errors are no longer a risk, no time is wasted remedying mistakes or recalibrating — ultimately saving money and time for our customers, as well.

Helander is starting off strong in 2018, with the recent addition of some new cutting-edge automation equipment. This sophisticated machinery allows us to offer three new services for our clients: automatic welding, CNC spinning, and automatic polishing.


Automatic Welding

Automated seam welding is unique in that it applies the MIG (metal inert gas) welding process in a precise, automated setting in order to create full-penetration seams. Automatic welding can be done for a wide range of common materials, including aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel. The process creates airtight joints very quickly, allowing for quicker, streamlined production.

This welding process offers many other advantages, as well. First, it’s airtight, and provides a high level of accuracy, ensuring that the weld is both reliable and precise. It’s also very versatile, and can be used to manufacture both single-seam and parallel-seam welds for cones, boxes, and flat sheets. And since automatic welding can be performed at high speeds, we can complete large runs with very quick turnarounds to fulfill customers’ exact needs.

This type of automated welding is ideal for roll-formed, strip, and flat sheet metals. Helander can employ automated seam welding for several different types of metal, including stainless steel, aluminum, steel, copper, Inconel®, titanium, and brass. Automated seal welding is ideal for joining both similar and dissimilar metals.


CNC Spinning

Computer numerical control (CNC) spinning is a metal spinning process often used for high-quantity production runs. In these applications, CNC spinning allows for better consistency than traditional processes, such as hand spinning. And because the CNC method makes use of a mechanized motor, it can be used for materials that are less malleable and more difficult to spin.

CNC spinning can be employed for a wide range of metals — including copper, brass, stainless steel, carbon steel aluminum, and titanium — to produce welds for various industries, including the decorative, architectural, medical, and aerospace sectors.

Allowing for high-volume runs with great precision, CNC spinning offers numerous benefits. First, the use of an automated machine ensures higher accuracy, as success isn’t dependent on operator accuracy. Through sophisticated programming, we’re able to ensure that the spinning motion is correct and completely repeatable throughout the entire run. In fact, because the work envelope of the spinning lathes is so consistent, we can program our CNC spinning machines to create thousands of copies — that are more or less identical — from just a single form.

CNC can produce a wide range of shapes including bell-shaped, spherical, and tubular forms, which we can design and manufacture very quickly. CNC spinners also have very short lead times, meaning we can easily switch to new jobs after completing a run; all we have to do is change the form and program. In addition, CNC spinners can operate continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And since CNC spinning allows for rapid production rates, it’s very effective for prototype creation — especially compared to traditional machining methods, such as stamping.

Not only are CNC spinners very time-effective, they’re also much more cost-efficient than many other machining processes. These cost savings are a direct result of the shorter lead times and highly effective use of materials; CNC spinners produce minimal waste and have very low upfront tooling costs, especially compared to those of deep drawn stamping or metal pressing processes.


Automatic Polishing (Surface Finishing)

Automatic polishing utilizes programmed robots to complete critical surface finishing tasks. Our automatic polishing systems can provide a range of different finish options, and we make frequent use of automatic polishing, in particular, for various applications — including assemblies, decorative items, recreational products, and threads. Whether clients require a rough or fine finish, automatic polishing can be done on almost any metal, including stainless steel, steel, copper, brass, bronze, and aluminum.

As with automatic welding and CNC spinning, automatic polishing offers several unique benefits, including major cost and time savings for our customers. Because our automated polishing systems reduce the need for manual labor, clients save significantly on labor costs. Plus, automatic polishing can be completed in half the time as manual polishing — putting finished products into clients’ hands much more quickly.


Learn More

For over 80 years, Helander has been producing high-quality metal products for customers across a wide range of industries, and we’re thrilled to introduce these new capabilities to our line of metal services. To learn more about our new automated services and discuss how they can help with your unique application, reach out to the team today.


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Helander Heads to the 2018 American Manufacturing Summit

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Fri, Mar 23, 2018

Helander is thrilled to announce that we’ll be exhibiting in booth 50 at this year’s American Manufacturing Summit (AMS).

An annual gathering of leading industrial and manufacturing professionals, this exciting conference allows for the exchange of ideas regarding industrial operations optimization, innovative manufacturing practices, and supply chain management techniques. Various events and lectures will be held, and attendees will have the chance to network with top leaders while browsing new products, services, and innovations.

AMS Events and Offerings

This year’s event will be held March 27-28 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Ill. The 2018 Summit will focus on the role of industry leaders in streamlining factory floor operations, supporting lean manufacturing, and automating production processes. Collaborative business models will also be explored, and attendees will hear from experts on how to increase profitability in today’s ever-shifting industrial landscape.

All top influencers in the manufacturing industry have this conference circled on their calendars; offering unique insights into market trends, technological innovations, and best industry practices — as well as valuable networking opportunities — attending AMS is a must for those committed to staying ahead of the curve.

One-to-one meetings will be included in this year’s lineup — allowing professionals to network and exchange ideas in a more personal setting — as well as a highly curated exhibition floor and a Marketing 365 initiative, helping companies extend their brand reach with content sharing, blog posts, and original content generation. Various educational lectures and seminars will be held, with specialized focus on today’s most important topics.

Helander at AMS

Helander is proud to be among the exhibitors at this year’s American Manufacturing Summit. Our team will be presenting various precision metal components and highlighting our unique services. Whether attendees are in the market for satellite dishes, airflow nozzles, pressure vessel shells, or tank heads, we’ll have something to show them.

Showcasing our metal-spun part capabilities, we’ll be highlighting our ability to work with a wide range of materials, such as sheet metal, tubing, plate stock, mild and stainless steel, hybrid alloys, copper, aluminum, and brass. Our metal stamping and spinning, sheet hydroforming, CNC machining, and hydroforming services will be clearly laid out for attendees, and team members will be on hand to answer questions and provide assistance as needed.

At Helander, all of our services, from metal spinning to hydroforming, make use of the latest advancements in precision technology and adhere to the strictest environmental standards. Our products are found in a huge range of industries and applications, including automotive, aerospace, high-end furniture manufacturing, civil engineering, and food and beverage.

Learn More

To learn more about the upcoming American Manufacturing Summit or discuss Helander custom precision metal manufacturing services with an expert, reach out to our team.

Want to join us at this exciting event? Register for free today or meet us in booth 50!