How FluidForming is Changing Metal Forming and Industrial Manufacturing
FluidForming is an all-new technology and an exciting alternative to legacy metal stamping and bladder type hydroforming. CEOs, COOs, product designers, and production engineers appreciate the new, flexible, and cost-effective approach to metal forming.
From the production of highly-detailed components to the flexibility that the compact and self-contained FormBalancer universal sheet metal and tube forming machine offers, FluidForming Americas (FFA) is streamlining production and lowering costs across many different industries.
If you’re wondering what makes the new FluidForming metal forming process and technology any different than legacy hydroforming or conventional die stamping, in a nutshell, it all comes down to lower costs and higher quality. FluidForming is an inherently green technology that’s also perfect for rapid, low-cost prototyping. In this example, we’ll examine the advantages of FluidForming and how the technology enabled the production of a better, lower-cost tank end-cap.
A Detailed Look at How FluidForming is Different From Die Stamping or Legacy Hydroforming
Better Surface Quality
In this tank end-cap example, stainless steel, aluminum, mild steel, and galvanized metals can be used. Because of FluidForming’s extraordinarily high forming pressures and bladder-free technology, surface quality is not compromised by the tool or bladder surfaces that are typically used in legacy forming systems.
Since the forming fluid — pressurized recycled tap water — comes in contact with just one side of the sheet metal surface, there are no tooling marks. FluidForming is perfect for pre-finished materials, which improves both aesthetics and consumer appeal. Trademarks, brands, and logos can all be easily incorporated into the design of each part. Post-production finishing work is minimized with FluidForming technology.
Unsurpassed Quality, Accuracy, and Structural Integrity
With a 99.996 first pass yield success rate, FluidForming offers the quality, accuracy, and repeatability that manufacturers can rely on. Post-production costs are minimized, part fit-up is accurate and oftentimes can be completed without the use of fixtures and jigs to hold parts in place. The higher forming pressures also ensure that this tank end-cap boasts greater structural integrity; an important consideration for fuel tanks, for example. The resulting accuracy also minimizes “fit-up” issues, reduces costs to assemble the finished project, and is laser weld ready.
Thanks to dramatically reduced tooling costs, the elimination of sheet metal fixturing, and minimal tooling and equipment wear, production costs for this tank end-cap were slashed. Because the FormBalancer is a bladder-free, closed hydraulic system that uses recycled water instead of costly hydraulic oil, maintenance costs are also much lower than traditional hydroforming or die stamping.
In this example, a thinner and lighter base material was used with dramatically lowered initial costs and made the part even easier to form. Ultimately, this reduction in weight helps reduce the final cost of the finished product and helps conserve fuel costs as well.
These cost saving meant that the tank end-cap manufacturer could focus more on functionality and also had the opportunity to create a value-added part. Taking advantage of FFA’s ability and willingness to incorporate several parts within an existing assembly, waste was minimized and efficiency was maximized.
Benefit from low ownership and production costs thanks to dramatically reduced tooling costs, the elimination of sheet metal fixturing, and minimal tooling and equipment wear. Because the FormBalancer is a bladder-free, closed hydraulic system that uses recycled tap water instead of costly hydraulic oil, maintenance costs are much lower than traditional hydroforming or die stamping.
It’s worth noting that in some instances, the development of new processes or new and improved products may qualify for research and development tax credits.