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

Shapes Achieved through Metal Spinning

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, May 12, 2015

 

Metal spinning is a well-known fabrication process that produces axially symmetric parts. This process is simple and yields high-quality results, and as such, it has become a primary production method for several manufacturers.

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Metal spun parts have proven to be essential to various industrial and commercial applications. A wide variety of shapes and geometries can be achieved using metal spinning.

  • Hemispheres and Spheres are highly versatile shapes. Hemispheres are frequently used in the lighting industry as decorative fixtures and in the communications industry as satellite dishes. Hemispheres can be welded together to create spheres, which provide the strength needed for demanding geological applications.
  • Cones are used in applications that include alternate energy support and soil and concrete testing; in fact, two cones can be welded or soldered together to create slump cone funnels, which are required for concrete testing in the U.S.
  • Flanged parts are crucial when producing diverse air calibration nozzles. The flanged shaped can be altered to accommodate
  • Manufacturers utilize metal spun cylinders for different types of custom piping, tubing, and other products. These seamless cylinders are created using processes such as rolling, bending, and forming; these pieces are commonly used to create pressure vessels capable of withstanding high pressures.
  • Reentrant spun metal pieces are easily identified due to their narrow shape. Reentrant-shaped pieces are primarily used in the food industry—applications include housing for pressure cookers and smokers, different cooking kettles, and individual soup cans. Metal spinning the most cost effective forming solution for this shape.
  • The parabolic shape is frequently used in the communications industry. This metal spun shape is extremely conducive for accurate signal transmissions; antenna reflectors and satellite dishes are prime examples of parabolic products.  
  • Venturi metal shapes closely resemble hourglasses. These shapes are highly versatile; venturi pieces are used for dust collection in the power and bulk solids industry and spray painting in the automotive industry.

Different metal spun shapes are utilized throughout several industries, such as aerospace and defense, waste storage industry power, oil and agriculture, architecture, furniture manufacturing, HVAC, and many others.

Due to the assortment of shapes produced through this process, metal spinning is highly valued in both commercial and industrial applications.

How cost effective is metal spinning? Click here to find out

 

 

 

Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Metal Spinning, aerospace industry, metal spinning components

Metal Spinning Produces Tight Tolerance Components

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Mon, Mar 02, 2015

Depending on the specific form and structure of a component, there can be more than one metal fabricating process that can be used to meet the same end. Although different processes can achieve similar results, there may be greater benefits of one over another.

Metal spinning, a process that forms axially symmetrical parts, is a fairly simple process that produces advanced results. Metal spinning is not traditionally thought of as an advanced process, but technological innovations have enabled the production of components that require extremely tight tolerances.

Combining the past with the present, metal spinning joins together the skills of the craftsmen with the automation of current machine technologies. Since this process forms a metal component on a lathe instead of stamping, cutting, or deep drawing, metal spinning calls upon the expertise of the machinist and the equipment to meet the required specifications.

There are two types of metal spinning options available: CNC and hand spinning. Both processes form a metal disk over a block to produce conical, cylindrical, parabolic, toroidal, venturi, and hemispherical shaped pieces. Also, these processes offer unique benefits, and the combination of the two can create finished products of even higher quality.

CNC spinning machinery enables high production capabilities and allows high strength materials to be formed accurately. It is a highly repeatable process that delivers precision results; automated and CNC spinning that is assisted with hydraulics replaces expensive tooling required for stamping and produces more cost-effective components.

Hand spinning is suitable for smaller runs and all types of industrial and precious metals and alloys. Perfectly finished parts, without stretch marks or wrinkles, are consistently achieved. Hand spinning is ideal for prototyping, products of varying sizes, and architectural and decorative pieces.

The inherent level of repeatability found in metal spinning enables the production of tight tolerance componentry. Due to this fact, metal spinning is just as effective as other fabricating processes.

How cost effective is metal spinning? Click here to find out

 

 

 

Tags: Metal Spinning, Custom Metal Spinning, cost effective metal spinning, metal spinning components

Hand Spinning vs. CNC Spinning: Two Sides of the Coin

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Fri, Mar 14, 2014


describe the imageMetal Spinning (or spin forming) is a process where a tube or a disc of metal is rotated at high speed and transformed into an axially symmetrical object. Metal spinning is usually performed on a vertical or horizontal lathe using CNC controls or hand processing. So, by its very nature, metal spinning is an example of a technology that has spanned a timeframe stretching from the days of hand-tooled craftwork to the modern computer era. How do the two techniques compare, and how do they complement one another? Good questions. Let’s take a look.

During hand spinning, the operator controls both the spinning speed and forming forces. Hand spinning is a craft where the operator subtly works with the material to create a form. This is done through precise motions rather than brute force. A form is created by an operator who can feel the structure of the metal, its grain, its hardness, and its willingness to move in one direction or another. With one hand, the operator uses the spoon to shape the work piece over the block, while the other hand applies the necessary lubricants or additional pressure to assist the process. There are an infinite number of tool designs that can be forged in steel to assist in spinning a variety of shapes.

The products created by hand spinning cover a wide range: prototypes of beverage cans, mechanical parts for satellites and aircraft, components for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, large parabolic antennas, and so on—many products of all different sizes. The use of hand spinning has many manufacturing and economic benefits.

There are several advantages of automatic spinning, as well. For example, it removes the many uncertainties of operator skill and operator-to-operator variations, making spinning highly repeatable and accurate. After a CNC machine has been programmed (or ‘trained’), it can automatically execute the instructions, hydraulically applying predetermined forces for predetermined lengths of time on precise areas of the blank, creating fairly identical parts. Such machines can automatically shape the part, trim or otherwise finish the edges, and eject the finished part. These programs can also be transferred from machine tool to machine tool, stored for future processing, and easily updated and refined for future runs. The use of highly skilled metal spinners is no longer necessary to run these machine tools. However, an operator must still be knowledgeable about the intricacies of metal spinning, as well as the control software required to run the part.

An ideal machine shop has both – hand spinning as well as CNC spinning capabilities. Manufacturers choosing to work in metal spinning can tap into the high production capabilities of an automated shop floor, but they may also require manual spinning to create more intricate architectural and decorative products. Combining both of these techniques allows for the mass production of the bulk of a product line through CNC automation, while finishing it up with hand spinning, to create a product that is hand-crafted.  Additionally, shorter run productions may be more cost-effective when completed with hand spinning, removing the time it takes to set up and program a CNC machine.

For more, check out our new, free, e-book "Hand Spinning and CNC Spinning."

 

Learn More About Hand Spinning and CNC Spinning

Tags: metal fabricating, Metal Spinning, Custom Metal Spinning, manufacturing, Hand Spinning, CNC Spinning

Safety Under Pressure: Pressure Vessel Shape Matters

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Fri, Jan 10, 2014

pressure vesselThe American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) first published the Boiler & Pressure Code (BPVC) in 1915 in response to the need for safety measures in the production and use of boilers and pressure vessels. In the early 1900s, boilers and pressure vessels – closed containers designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially different from the ambient pressure – were new innovations. These innovations promoted and advanced industrial activity in the U.S., specifically for companies that utilized machines for long-range transportation and heavy lifting.

Safety, however, was an issue. Accidents and fatal disasters were caused by cheap production practices in the early 1900s, careless operations, and temperamental machinery. Because of these issues, the ASME’s BPVC was born and it has played a vital role in manufacturing and industry for almost a century.

Today, the BPVC has been adopted in some form by all 50 states in the U.S. and all provinces of Canada. Additionally, translations and copies of the code are used around the world, promoting pressure vessel safety on an international level. An article posted on the ASME website addresses the importance of pressure vessel safety: “Going by its definition, it is actually very important as the vessel, which comes in the shape of a closed container, is designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure substantially different from the ambient pressure. If it doesn't, the consequences can be fatal.”

Pressure vessels come in all shapes and sizes, each of which can affect the strength andvarious pressure vessels function of the vessel. Common pressure vessel shapes include sections of spheres, cylinders, and cones, with the most common design being a cylinder with end caps called “heads.” The heads of most pressure vessels are often shaped liked dishes, a round/circular design. According to the previously cited ASME article, “More complicated shapes have been more difficult to analyze for safe operation and are usually far more difficult to construct.” Shape can also affect the strength of a pressure vessel, with spherical pressure vessels having twice the strength of cylindrical pressure vessels.

While the shape of a pressure vessel may present production and safety challenges for some manufacturers, that’s not the case for Helander Company. Helander manufactures pressure vessels of varying shapes and sizes, fabricating seamless custom pressure vessel shells through a special hot spinning process that creates vessels made from stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum. The pressure vessels can be manufactured with or without bottlenecks depending on a customer’s specifications, and all pressure vessels manufactured by Helander meet ASME safety standards. For more information about custom pressure vessels, specifications, and manufacturing capabilities, visit Helander’s website.

 

 

See the Pressure Vessels We've Created

Tags: metal fabricating, metal forming, Custom Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, Custom Pressure Vessels, ASME Safety Standards

Achieving the Highest Standards

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, Oct 29, 2013


At Helander, we take pride in what we do. We constantly strive to meet and exceed industry-accepted standards of quality for our metal components, including those for the aerospace and defense industries. As a result, we were recently certified with AS9100 Revision C certification.

The AS9100 certification is a widely accepted aerospace quality standard that made improvements upon an earlier standard, AS9000. Released in 1999 and most recently revised in 2009, AS9100 is now a requirement to do business with a number of major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers all around the world. The certification is essentially a sign of support from the industry’s leading members.aerospace

To obtain AS9100 certification, an organization must implement a quality management system that has a proven ability to produce high-quality parts consistently. The system must also incorporate a procedure that facilitates ongoing progress and improvement, and meet customer expectations while meeting all statutory and regulatory requirements.   

Helander’s aerospace metal components are typically made from titanium, 321 stainless steel, and 7075, 5052, and 6061 aluminum with thicknesses between 0.018” and 0.500”. We offer hydroforming, metal spinning and welding services within a delivery timeframe of 4 to 8 weeks. To learn more about our capabilities or speak to one of our engineers, please visit our website today.

 

Download our AS9100D Certificate

 

 

References:

SAE International: //www.sae.org/about/

SAE International, AS9100C: //standards.sae.org/as9100c/

Helander, Metal Components for the Aerospace & Defense Industries: //www.helandermetal.com/aerospace-defense-industry-applications-components.html

 

Tags: Custom Metal Spinning, Custom Fabrication, aerospace industry, AS9100, AS9100 Certification

The Case for Metal Spinning and Metal Hydroforming

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

Metal Spinning is a process by which a disc or tube of ductile metal is rotated on a spindle and formed into an axially symmetric part. Through the use of heavy forces and high speeds, the metal will deform and “flow” to form the desired shape around a mandrel, a kind of mold that is shaped to the interior geometry of the planned part. This process allows metal to deform evenly, without any wrinkling or warping, to create a smooth, even, and seamless surface. The processes’ heavy forces also realign and strengthen the grain structure, significantly increasing the tensile properties and fatigue resistance of the base material.

Metal Spinning offers a series of compelling benefits for prototype and specialty work. High precision tolerances are easily attained on a wide variety of metal materials and designs. Mandrels are easily manufactured using traditional lathe and mill work, and considering that they are not subjected to excessive force in normal use, may be made of nonmetal materials. CNC control, hydraulic assistance, heat for hot working, and toolholders can all be incorporated into the metal spinning process. Overall, Metal Spinning permits an unparalleled level of flexibility, speed, and efficiency without sacrificing the precision and accuracy delivered by traditional processes.

For designs that are not conducive to spinning operations, Metal Hydroforming provides similar benefits and efficiency gains, effectively replacing work performed by machining or dies. The sheet hydroforming technique replaces one of the rigid dies used in conventional stamping with highly pressurized hydraulic fluid, contained by a urethane diaphragm, to force the sheet metal into a one-sided die cavity. Since the diaphragm, which is essentially acting as the female die, has no distinct shape, its dynamics allow it to take on the shape of any conceivable geometry. Complicated shapes with concavities are now possible in a single press cycle, reducing the amount of follow-up work and required forming operations. Produced to net shape, a single hydroformed component can often replace multiple parts, resulting in assemblies with fewer parts, higher strength, and less cost.

Metal Hydroforming brings many advantages over the typical die press processes that it replaces, especially in the context of prototype and specialty work. New part designs only require replacement of the lower die, which is usually made of cheaper cast iron and not expensive tool steel. During pressure application, friction and stress on the sheetmetal is significantly diminished, resulting in more consistent stressing and increased material drawability. Supplemental finishing operations are not necessary as the material is not marred as it is in standard die operations. Simplicity, efficiency, and service life are all upgraded significantly with Metal Hydroforming.

With the combination of these two processes, a new, and far better, system for prototype and specialty work is realized. Metal Spinning and Metal Hydroforming provide a definite pathway for one-off productions, design formulation, scratchwork, and design qualification, and simultaneously provide a full replacement for expensive, time-consuming traditional methods. Furthermore, both processes may work with just about any cold formed metal, and are easily reconfigured for high production work without any sacrifice in quality. Once the prototype becomes the new product, Metal Spinning and Metal Hydroforming are flexible enough to become the manufacturing system for it.

Helander is an experienced provider of those two services, able to add Metal Spinning and Metal Hydroforming capability to your production paradigm. Helander’s engineers, manufacturing technologists, and material specialists can provide in-depth analysis of component design, advise you on the feasibility and practicality of using metal spinning or hydroforming to form your component part, and can completely manage the production thereof within their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Contact us today to let us help you decide what’s best for your bottom line.

 

Want to know more?
Download our latest eBook Metal Spinning and Hydroforming - The Stamping Alternative.

Metal Spinning & Hydroforming eBook

Tags: metal fabricating, metal forming, Metal Spinning, hydroforming, Custom Metal Spinning, Metal Stamping

Helander and Union Station

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Tue, Sep 04, 2012


Chicago’s Union Station
 has been a Windy City landmark since 1925. Located just outside of the famed Chicago Loop, it takes up almost 9 ½ city blocks and is the hub of all train travel in and out of the city. Recently, we were approached with the unique opportunity to work on a very interesting project for the station. The owners decided that in order to increase security at the station, it would be a good idea to install concrete barriers to keep trucks from coming too close to the building.

Helander Blog8Instead of just slapping up those ugly Jersey barriers that you’ve probably seen around, officials came up with the idea to adorn them with light towers that would be both decorative and secure. To do so, they hired us to manufacture custom steel lighting covers to top these safety/light towers, making them blend in with the overall neoclassical style of the station, which in turn will please both commuters and officials. Using our advanced custom metal spinning, Helander was able create the perfect light covers for each tower and because we used high quality steel, the covers will resist rusting and last for a long time to come. Starting this month, if you live in the Chicago area or will be passing through the station, you can check them out for yourself.

                                       Read Our Blog

 

Tags: Custom Metal Spinning, Union Station, Concrete