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Oct 7, 2020

Why Is Process Flow So Important in Metal Forming & Manufacturing?

At FluidForming Americas, our process flow defines our approach to customer service and quality.

Note: This post about our Process Flow is an adaptation of an article published on LinkedIn on October 6, 2020 by Paul Benny

Recently, FluidForming Americas (FFA) was approached by the world's leading kitchen appliance manufacturer to help with the development of a high-performing kitchen appliance. (You can find the full case study here.) Yes, we provided expert Finite Element Analysis (FEA), part simulation, and flawless, production-ready prototyping. But our streamlined Process Flow paved the way for success and helped ensure client satisfaction.

The FluidForming Process Flow

We were charged with finding the optimal material and material thickness and then prototyping side, back, top, and bottom panels for three microwave oven cavity sizes. Thanks to our process flow, the development and iteration process at FluidForming Americas was highly integrated with the manufacturer's design team.

Our Process Flow defines our approach to customer service and our commitment to quality.

Step 1: Value Engineering

Upon receiving the purchase order and part drawings, then engineering team at FluidForming Americas ran the design and material properties through a FEA. This crucial step helped ensure that the components — and the specified materials and material thicknesses — would perform well during the FluidForming formation process. During the FEA simulation period, FluidForming's engineering team provided regular feedback to the client's appliance design team. This enabled the designers to make changes and improve the component before incurring tooling, material, and production costs. With each design variable change, FFA ran an FEA analysis and provided feedback to the manufacturer. This highly iterative process saved time, money, and improved product performance.

Step 2: Tooling

A total of 11 tools were generated. Because FluidForming requires the use of a single tool -- and the prototyping tool can be used as the production tool -- tooling costs are typically 50-90% lower than legacy die casting tooling costs.

Step 3: Approval

Once we have the approval of our clients, we start the presses.

Step 4: Production

Part FluidForming was conducted on a FormBalancer 25 universal sheet metal and tube forming hydroforming press with a clamping force of 2,500 tons with a bed size of 800 mm x 800 mm with a maximum draw depth of up to 300 mm.

Step 5: Shipping

It's that easy and that efficient.

FormBalancer universal sheet metal and tube forming presses — up to 2,000 mm x 1,300 mm with a draw depth of up to 650 mm — are available for purchase or lease. FluidForming Americas also manufactures precision components for clients at our facility in Hartsville, Tennessee.

With our Process Flow front and center, the FFA engineering team quickly responded to the client's engineering, design, and testing needs on a tight timeline that included quick design iterations. FFA's responsive production team and customer-first approach to manufacturing enabled expedited prototyping with a 99.996% first-pass yield rate.

About The Author

Paul Benny is the CEO of FluidForming Americas and Tennessee Spring and Metal. Both companies take pride in producing top-quality, American-made products. Paul and the entire FluidForming team works closely with manufacturers, product designers, engineers, and inventors to manufacture the most innovative, durable, and precision-driven products in today's marketplace.