The art of hydroforming is a process wherein metal is fabricated and formed to exact specifications. This allows the shaping of metals such as steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass. The process as a whole is a cost-effective and specialized type of die molding that utilizes highly pressurized fluid to form metal. Generally there are two classifications used to describe hydroforming, which are sheet hydroforming and tube hydroforming.
Sheet hydroforming uses one die and a sheet of metal. Then, the blank sheet is driven into the die by high pressure water on one side of the sheet forming the desired shape.
Tube hydroforming is the expansion of metal tubes into a shape using two die halves, which contain the raw tube.
Hydroforming is used to replace the older, more costly and wasteful process of stamping two part halves and welding them together. It is also used to make parts both more efficiently by eliminating welding as well as creating complex shapes and contours. Parts created in this method have a number of manufacturing benefits including seamless bonding, increased part strength, and the ability to maintain high-quality surfaces for finishing purposes. When compared to traditional metal stamped and welded parts, hydroformed parts are lightweight, have a lower cost per unit, and are made with a higher stiffness to weight ratio. The processes can also be utilized in the single stage production of components; saving labor, tools, and materials.
ACMT has hydroforming capability up to a 25” work cube, forming the most complex configurations in airframe and engine components.