Helander Team

Recent Posts

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 are adding a new building to our facilities to address their needs. The expansion will allow 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 planned 28,000-square-foot facility will serve as the new home for our welding and polishing departments. The additional room provided by the expansion will allow us to increase our automatic polishing capabilities and introduce new, highly anticipated heat treating capabilities. In addition to housing these operations, the new facility will also feature: 

  • 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 will open up in our current building, turning our dedicated QC area to a QC Lab. We’re taking advantage of this extra room by expanding 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 will give us the room to optimize our manufacturing operations to increase productivity and efficiency. Additionally, they will allow us 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. 

Welding

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 will allow 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

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