The Hydroforming Process: How Does It Work?

Posted by Helander on Fri, Dec 10, 2021

www.helandermetal.comwp-contentuploadshydroforming-irregular-parts-img-large-1Hydroforming (Sheet Hydroforming) is a specialized deep draw process that uses high-pressure rubber to shape and form metal workpieces. In sheet hydroforming, a metal sheet is placed over a die before highly pressurized water forces it down and makes it conform to the shape of the mold. In tube hydroforming, a preexisting tube is set between two dies, and water pushes the interior of the tube to expand and conform to the new shape. Both processes allow for the seamless forming of new shapes and parts in common metal alloys without welds. Additionally, the hydroforming process is an excellent choice for developing complicated, irregularly-shaped parts or products. At Helander, we specialize in high-quality metal-forming and manufacturing services to create custom parts for a wide range of applications across different industries including Sheet Hydroforming and Metal Spinning.

Materials Used in the Hydroforming Process

Hydroforming is a popular alternative to traditional metal stamping and welding for many different metal substrates. At Helander, we work with the following metals:

  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a relatively soft metal and can conform to the shape of complex, intricate molds.
  • Brass: Hydroforming processes create a clean, seamless finish that works well with decorative brass pieces.
  • Copper: Hydroforming processes can form a variety of copper tubes to different industry-standard dimensions and custom specifications.
  • Inconel: Inconel is often used for custom parts in high-temperature environments, such as for jet engines parts and other aerospace components. Hydroforming allows for custom asymmetrical parts.
  • Stainless Steel: Hydroforming can easily shape stainless steel, because the hydraulic fluid presses against the metal from multiple different directions, forcing it to change form without stressing or cracking.
  • Specialty Materials:
    • Hastelloy: Hastelloy is an extremely corrosion-resistant metal alloy that is commonly used in applications with a high degree of chemical exposure. Hydroforming ensures components have a weld-free design that limits opportunities for part failure.
    • High-Nickel Steel: High-nickel steels are often used in high-pressure applications, such as liquefied gas storage, turbine blades and fasteners, and more. Hydroforming's seamless forming process makes the parts stronger and more reliable.
    • Waspaloy: This superalloy is strong and hardenable. Hydroforming processes can shape the metal for precision designs and weldless construction for turbines, aerospace applications, and more.

Machines Used for Hydroforming

At Helander, we use state-of-the-art hydroforming equipment in our facility. The three key machines we use for hydroforming processes are:

  1. Clamping cylinder: This component locks the negative molds in place so they don't shift under pressure.
  2. Axis-press cylinders: There are two cylinders, with each one pressing on either side of the tube.
  3. High-pressure hydraulic generator: The machine needs to generate enough force — 400 KPA of fluid pressure, at a minimum — so the hydraulic fluid inside the tube can press it into the mold forms. As soon as the hydraulic fluid is discharged and the pressure lowers, operators can safely remove the newly formed tube.

While the hydroforming process is simple in theory, it requires heavy-duty, extremely precise machinery that can safely generate and handle high pressure levels.

Hydroforming Applications

Tube hydroforming is extremely advantageous, because it allows manufacturers to create precise replications of the same part without needing to weld or join the two halves of the tube. Hydroforming also leaves the part with a high-quality finish that reduces the need for most secondary processes. The parts can be as thin or as thick as the original design demands, and it can have complex joints, threads, and formations. 

At Helander, we serve a wide variety of industries with hydroformed tubes and components, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Cookware
  • HVAC
  • Sanitation
  • Medical

Hydroforming Services From Helander

For precision manufacturing projects, choose hydroforming services from Helander. For over 80 years, we've been providing high-quality manufacturing and metal-forming services to everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries. Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or to start your order.

Tags: sheet hydroforming

Complete Guide to Metal Spinning

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, Nov 11, 2021

metal-spinningAlso known as spin forming, metal spinning is a process manufacturers use to craft axially symmetric metal parts without cutting the material. This process is efficient and highly versatile. At Helander, we have spent over 80 years providing superior quality metal spinning services to our customers in the aerospace, commercial, medical, and defense industries.

What is Metal Spinning?

Manufacturers opt for metal spinning when they need to create conical, dished, domed, flanged, flued, hemisphere, semi-elliptical or trumpet shaped parts or hollow components with a circular cross-section.  This metalworking process is unique in that it does not involve removing material from a workpiece to shape the desired component. Instead, an operator will take a metal disc, known as a blank, and transform it by rotating and forming it to a mandrel. The process can be performed either hot or cold, depending on the particular material to be spun.

To start the process, the blank metal is clamped between the follower and the mandrel. As these three parts begin to rotate, the mandrel presses into the blank. This stage of the process can be done manually, with the operator pressing the mandrel by hand, or with auxiliary power. After the mandrel successfully forms the part, the operator may trim the ends and finish it with a spinning tool moving between 300 rpm and 1,200 RPM typically.

Metal spinning is an affordable and efficient process with tooling costs that are often 10 percent of alternative metal forming processes. Additionally, manufacturers create metal spun components in just weeks. The speed of this process provides a higher level of design flexibility, as it is easy for operators to change metal spinning tools as the product design evolves.

Metal spinning is ideal for applications requiring a high level of strength and durability. This process results in high-quality finished parts with no welds or seams. In addition to increasing strength, the smoothness of metal spun parts provides an aesthetic appeal that may be desirable in certain applications.

Types of Tools Used for Metal Spinning

There are three broad categories of metal spinning tools:

  • Internal Tooling: Material is formed over the mandrel.
  • External tooling: material is formed inside of a hollow mandrel.
  • Collapsible: Shapes parts with variable diameters through the use of a removable center core.

In general, spinning tools are composed of either steel, plastic, or wood. The following types of machinery play vital roles in the metal spinning process:

Lathe Bed

This lathe bed is the base of the machinery. It supports all other components during machining.


This forming die gives the blank its final shape. The operator will stretch the blank over the mandrel as it spins, ensuring a smooth final part.


The roller provides the force that shapes the workpiece over the mandrel as it spins. This tool maintains a controlled contact to ensure the final component has a uniform wall thickness. It can be operated manually, but requires a high level of skill and is often automated instead.


Serving as a base for the mandrel, the spindle rotates the mandrel as it forms the final part. The primary spindle is located on the headstock, with an additional spindle located on the tailstock.


This frame controls the RPM of the machinery, supporting the spindle and mandrel throughout the process. 


Located at the opposite end of the machinery, the tailstock provides the pressure that clamps the metal blank in place during forming.


Attached to the tailstock, this pressure pad clamps the workpiece in place as the tailstock provides pressure. The base of the final component will correspond with the size of the follower.

Metal Spinning Materials

The metal spinning process is compatible with many materials, each offering different properties.


Aluminum is the most popular metal spinning material and is the metal of choice for products that must be lightweight and affordable. It is low density and malleable, with strong corrosion resistance.


Naturally conductive and antimicrobial, copper is one of the most popular metal spinning choices. It is non-magnetic, resistant to tarnishing, and aesthetically appealing.


Stronger than copper, brass provides similar antimicrobial, conductivity, and workability properties. It also offers significant aesthetic appeal.


Bronze is slightly heavier than steel, and it performs well in extreme temperatures and high-friction applications. It is very durable and offers impressive electric conductivity properties.

Carbon Steel

Thanks to its durability and cost-effectiveness, carbon steel is very popular for rigid parts. The addition of carbon increases its strength but decreases its malleable properties.


Sometimes referred to as high-strength steel, Inconel offers elevated resistance levels to oxidation, corrosion, pressure, and heat.


For high-stress applications, Hastelloy provides better performance than many traditional metals. This exotic alloy is composed of over 22 different elements. These include copper, chromium, iron, and manganese.

Stainless Steel

One of the most popular metal spinning materials, stainless steel provides an impressive strength to weight ratio and high levels of corrosion resistance. It is cost-effective and easy to work with.


Slightly more expensive than steel, titanium offers high levels of tensile strength. It is durable, low density, and provides long-lasting performance.

Applications for Metal Spinning

The versatility and cost-effectiveness of metal spinning make this process a popular choice across a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. A few of the most common applications for metal spun parts include: 

  • Aircraft components
  • Foodservice equipment
  • Architectural and lighting
  • Cookware
  • Musical instruments
  • Heavy industrial components
  • Gas cylinders and pressure vessels

Metal Spinning Services at Helander

Metal spinning results in seamless components that are uniform, durable, and incredibly well constructed. This process offers low costs and rapid turnaround times in both small and large runs. At Helander, we have spent over 80 years crafting custom metal-spun components for our customers. We tailor each piece to the specifications of the project, working with parts in a range of diameters and material thicknesses. To further streamline production, we offer a range of in-house welding and finishing services. 

To learn more about our metal spinning capabilities or to work with us on your next project, contact us or request a quote today. 

Tags: Metal Spinning

Satellite Dishes in the Military & Defense and Aerospace Industry

Posted by Helander on Mon, Oct 11, 2021

At Helander Metal, we provide metal forming and other fabrication services to customers in the aerospace, defense, and military industries. Armed with over 85 years of experience, highly capable employees, and advanced equipment, we have what it takes to deliver high-quality precision metal parts and products that meet some of the tightest tolerances and timelines. That’s why customers in these critical industries know they can rely on us to produce components for their devices and systems, including satellites.

RF Dishes at Helander


Helander has made several types of custom dishes over the last 40 years, from 8 foot land dishes, to 6 foot marine dishes, to smaller dishes in orbit.  Many dishes require assembly to support the dish while under load from wind shear.  Helander has made several different types of contour support backing systems, some fastened, riveted and others welded.  Tooling has been made successfully out of hard maple wood, phenolic and steel depending on customer specification and manufacturing techniques.  Most tooling lasts several years and can support long term programs where surface refinishing is desired.  Aluminum grades of 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000 and 6000 series have been deployed in this product line, larger dishes may require welded discs smaller dishes are usually seamless.  Quality certifications also support Helander’s position in this market by maintaining ITAR, ISO and AS9100 audit programs.

Overview of Satellite Dishes in the Military & Defense Industry

Satellite dishes are a key component in military communications systems. They allow important information to be transmitted and received between authorized personnel and parties, even in highly remote locations, which makes them essential to the success of many critical operations. For this reason, military and defense organizations continually push for better and better satellite technology. 

In addition to secure telecommunication systems, other typical applications of military and defense satellite dishes include: 

  • Global positioning systems (GPS). These navigational systems use a network of satellites to ascertain the position of a receiver on Earth, delivering its longitude and latitude coordinates to system operations. They can update forces about the position of moving elements in real-time, allowing for quick updates about and modifications to ongoing military operations.
  • Remote sensing technology. Remote sensing technologies enable military groups to ascertain and track the movement of key targets. The satellites can utilize a variety of technologies to perform these functions, including visible light photography, infrared imagery, ultraviolet imaging systems, radar systems, and audio signal data interceptors. 

Overview of Satellite Dishes in the Aerospace Industry

In the aerospace industry, satellite dishes are typically used for communication purposes. They enable aircraft personnel to communicate with one another, with passengers, with ground crews, and with other aircraft as needed. 

Over the years, aerospace satellite dish technology has advanced significantly. Today, it can offer: 

  • Superior connectivity. Aircraft communication systems can maintain connections without having to actively position and reposition the satellite.
  • Higher data rates. Aircraft can achieve higher data transmission rates (100 to 1000 times the standard rate) with no significant increase in mass or power. 
  • Video transmission capabilities. Both data and video transmissions can be sent from aircraft to other connected devices in locations across the globe.

Learn More About Heavy-Duty Satellite Dishes From the Experts at Helander

Want more information on the role satellite dishes play in the aerospace and military and defense industries? Ask the experts at Helander Metal! We’ve supplied metal formed and fabricated components, including satellite parts and products, for over 80 years. If you have any questions or concerns about them, contact us today. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to answer or address them.

Metal Spun High-End Commercial Cookware Components

Posted by Helander on Mon, Oct 11, 2021

What Is Metal Spinning?

AdobeStock_309675261Metal spinning, sometimes referred to as spin forming, is a machining technique that creates axially symmetrical parts from metal tubes or discs. This process works by rotating the metal workpiece, forming it to a mandrel. Once clamped to a vertical or horizontal lathe, the force and rotation will shape the workpiece into a cone, tube, toroid, or other rounded shape. 

This process accommodates a wide range of materials, as it can be performed either hot or cold. It is also possible to perform metal spinning both manually and automatically, depending on the necessary volume of production. While metal spinning is well-suited for a variety of industries, it is particularly advantageous for crafting cookware.

How Is Metal Spinning Used to Create Cookware?

To create custom cookware through the use of metal spinning, the manufacturer will begin by placing a piece of sheet metal against a mandrel, with a tailstock holding it securely in place. The manufacturer will then begin rapidly spinning and applying force to the workpiece. This will result in a rounded, axially symmetrical final piece of cookware.

Benefits of Metal Spinning for High End Commercial Cookware

Metal spinning is highly versatile and practical, making it an ideal choice for high end commercial cookware. The following are a few of the biggest advantages of this process.


Compared to alternative design options such as stamping and tooling, metal spinning is a highly affordable process. The manufacturer can choose the optimal material based on the project's budget and the desired properties of the cookware. Spinning tools are also more budget-friendly than tools required for other forming methods, and create significantly less material waste.

Easy Design Alteration

Metal spinning offers the ability to make parts seamless which eliminates welds and seams that can become food traps. . This makes it easy for manufacturers to create clean seamless cookware products.. There is no need to create new molds or dies for each new design; changing metal spinning tools is a straightforward process, giving manufacturers immense design flexibility.


The main efficiency of metal spinning is that it is chipless forming.  That means we do not waste material, we can size the blanks in order to minimize machining and the scrap metal that comes with it.

Easy Creation of Symmetrical Parts

Cookware is often symmetrical, and is thus a good fit for the metal spinning process, which naturally creates rounded, symmetrical products. Metal spinning is particularly ideal for creating the following shapes:

  • Bowls
  • Pans
  • Conical lids
  • Round cook- tops

Easy Creation of Seamless Parts

This process creates parts without seams. While this is beneficial in many types of products, it is particularly ideal for cookware. Seamless products are incredibly strong, and are able to withstand higher internal and external pressures than products with seams. This added strength from the manufacturing process means that the final product can be made from a more lightweight material without sacrificing performance or durability.

Polishing (Post-Spinning)

An additional consideration when creating commercial cookware is the fact that the FDA requires all cookware to be polished. This helps ensure consumer safety, as it prevents debris and food residue from building up on the surface of the metal. Eliminating cracks and other imperfections is an important hygienic step. Additionally, polishing the cookware after metal spinning is excellent for aesthetic appeal, as it creates a smooth and attractive finish.

Metal Spinning at Helander Metal

At Helander Metal, our experts work closely with you to create custom cookware tailored to your exact specifications. We are able to accommodate a wide array of material thicknesses and part sizes. Our machinery can work with parts up to 100 inches in diameter, as well as 60 inches between centers.

Metal spinning offers rapid turnaround times and affordable costs, and is ideally suited to create strong, lightweight cookware that meets FDA guidelines. To learn more about our metal spinning capabilities, contact us or request your quote today.

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

(click to expand)

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