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Aug 14, 2018

5 Advancements in Hydroforming for 2018

Although hydroforming as a method for metal forming has been around for more than 60 years, recent innovations and advancements by FluidForming Americas are changing the way industries think about sustainability, profits, product design, prototyping, and manufacturing.

Advancement 1: FluidForming brings sustainability to hydroforming

For years, environmentally harmful hot chamber die casting has been the go-to metal forming option for the automotive, marine, and aerospace industries. High-pressure die casting produces harmful emissions, greenhouse gases, dust, and waste pollutants. Even tradition hydroforming, which relies on hydraulic fluid as the forming liquid, has harmful environmental ramification.

FluidForming’s FormBalancer machine, which relies entirely on highly pressurized recycled tap water as its forming liquid, is the greenest, most sustainable metal forming method available to manufacturers today. Other environmental benefits of FluidForming include:

  • Uses recycled tap water with forming pressures of up to 400 mPA/60,000 psi
  • Low energy consumption
  • Low noise operation
  • Nested, modular die structures greatly reduce costly forming dies requirements &  enable us of 3-D printed and composite materials as die forms
  • Lighter, studier parts result in improved product performance
  • FluidForming replacing environmentally harmful foundry cast or plastic parts with metal
  • Rejected waste heat can be recovered and recycled

Advancement 2: FluidForming lowers capital costs and increases profit

The acquisition costs of the FluidForming FormBalancer machine are comparable to legacy, bladder-based hydroforming machines; however, the FormBalancer’s total cost of ownership is significantly lower. The universal sheet metal and tube forming machine does not require any additional foundational reinforcements, it relies on recycled water as its forming fluid, requires significantly less energy to operate, and its overall factory footprint is minimal.

The FormBalancer machine is available to lease or own.

Advancement 3: FluidForming lowers production costs

Reduce Tooling and Die Costs

Legacy die casting equipment and dies are very costly. Because the FluidForming technology seamlessly weaves in CAD and additive technologies, die costs are slashed. Unlike traditional metal stamping, for example, in which two dies are needed, The FormBalancer requires just one die and can accommodate 3D-printed dies.

Shrink Your Time-to-Market Projections

Because FluidForming dramatically streamlines the pre-production process by integrating 3D dies and nested die structures, a product’s time-to-market is minimized. Changeover times between component runs are minimal.

Instead of waiting weeks or months from ideation to production, FluidForming produces high-quality, production components in a matter of days. Prototype die form is production tooling.

Minimize Post Forming Labor Costs

Our high forming pressures virtually eliminate warping and springback, which minimizes post forming fixturing and clamping. Our Advanced Finite  Element Analysis feature even allows for the evaluation of part design prior to tool build.

Maintenance Costs are Minimal

When compared to traditional, bladder-based hydroforming, die casting, or sheet metal stamping, the cost of maintaining the FormBalancer machine is minimal. In traditional hydroforming, the bladders used to contain the hydraulic forming fluid routinely fail. Not only does this slow production times and increase costs, but cleanup is messy and inconvenient.

Advancement 4: FluidForming is the future of metal forming

New additive manufacturing (AM) technologies are breaking down barriers to metal printed parts and traditional manufacturing and metal forming industries scrambling to find ways to integrate AM into their dated, 19th- and 20th-century technologies.

The FormBalancer, which can produce several components simultaneously in just minutes, readily accepts AM printed tools made from plastics, graphite, or metal. FluidForming fills the gap between costly and time-consuming single part-per-day machines and die stamping’s thousands of parts-per-day. It’s the perfect solution for prototyping and low- to moderate-volume production.

Advancement 5: FluidForming enables creativity, ideation, and innovation

Thanks to the technology's rapid prototyping capabilities, product designers and engineers are free to dream and to innovate on the fly. Companies that utilize the FluidForming technology benefit from vastly reduced lead times and low tooling costs; which results in fast product development cycles. Thanks to the seamless integration from CAD to 3D-printed tools, it's easy to make minor adjustments to a component until you achieve perfection!