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

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 Affords Fast Turnaround Times

Posted by Samuel Ibrahim, Jr. on Wed, Mar 25, 2015


When deciding on metal fabricating processes for component manufacturing, there are many factors to consider—turnaround time is one such factor that is of particular importance. Delayed project deadlines often result in costly consequences for many companies.

emisphereWhen choosing between different fabrication processes, turnaround can be just as important as the quality of the part. One of the main benefits of metal spinning is the short turnaround time on projects.

Tooling required for metal spinning is produced quickly and easily. The tooling dies of metal stamping or casting can take up to six weeks to manufacture, which can cause project delays. The expedited tooling of metal spinning enables parts to be completed and delivered in only four to six weeks. Tooling that takes less time to produce helps to accelerate the overall production cycle.

Metal spinning tooling can be made from a variety of materials. This flexibility in tooling improves production time and provides design engineers with greater performance features. For instance, geometric and dimensional changes from prototyping through production are easier and less costly than in other metal forming processes. Tolerances can also be adjusted if necessary.

Metal spinning also enables multiple operations to be performed in one set up, eliminating secondary set ups and refining production rates. When complex geometries are required, reducing manufacturing steps immediately improves the time required for each component.

Advancements in lathe technologies enable components to be produced with tight tolerances and extreme repeatability. Retooling of CNC machines is rare, but is a simple and fast process. If specialized tooling isn’t required, production can meet very short turnaround times (two to three weeks).

Since the ease of tooling provides shorter lead times, metal spinning is an ideal production method for axially symmetric parts and components.  This is a highly competitive option for metal forming, and the benefit of receiving completed orders promptly saves a considerable amount of time and added costs.

 

Tags: metal spinning vs metal stamping for prototyping, 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