FluidForming Case Study: New Valve

Overview: New Stainless Steel Valve Developed

This particular example is a point of pride for the team at FluidForming. Thanks to our revolutionary new approach to metal forming, an entirely new hygienic wedge plug valve was created for use in the brewing industry.

Problem: Existing Valves Difficult to Clean

To prevent contamination, valves used in brewing need to be cleaned and sanitized after each batch to remove unwanted sediment, deposits, and potential contaminants. Because conventionally cast two- and three-piece valves are riddled with pores, crevices, and seams, properly cleaning them can be costly, difficult, and time-consuming.

Furthermore, conventionally forged or cast valves require large blocks of metal for forming, resulting in harmful environmental consequences, material waste, and inferior valves.

Solution: A Whole New Valve Design

Our engineers developed two half spheres with a plate set between them that eliminates machining. Because of our Six Sigma process, the components are compatible with laser welding. The resulting valve has fewer seams and has less porosity, making it harder for harmful bacteria to accumulate. In short, it’s inherently better, safer, more cost-effective, and easier to clean.

FluidForming is an industry-changing and modern take on hydroforming and represents the first major innovation in metal forming technology in more than 60 years. FluidForming technology differs from traditional metalworking processes like hydroforming and die casting in several important ways, all of which reduce product time to market and cost to market, encouraging innovation, ideation, and invention.

Thanks to our rapid prototyping capabilities, the development cycle can be accelerated to less than a week from CAD design to the production of highly accurate, repeatable metal parts.

Valve - Fluid Forming Americas

The self-contained construction of the FluidForming machine, the FormBalancer, allows for much higher forming pressures than traditional hydroforming, which enabled the design of this innovative new valve. With pressures of up to 400 mPA/60,000 psi, greater detail can be achieved and complex geometric shapes, such as those featured in this valve, can be hydroformed. Because of its bladder-free design and high forming pressures, the technology enables even material flow into the die, which results in a stronger component than conventional metal forming processes.

Results:

Although this particular valve is being used in the brewing industry, hygienic valves formed by the FluidForming process have the potential for use in the pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural, chemical, and food processing industries.

Summary: Created an all-new hygienic wedge plug valve for use in the brewing industry, saving costs and creating a clear market cost advantage over legacy products.

Are you thinking outside the constraints of typical manufacturing methods? Do you have the next great idea? Discover how FluidForming enables innovation. To learn more about the FluidForming technology and process and to find out if our reinvention of hydroforming is right for your next innovation, contact FluidForming Americas at (800) 497-3545 or email us at info@ffamericas.com.

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