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Hydroforming Components : Manufacturing Process

Hydroforming is a relatively new process. It is boon to the automobile industry as now automobiles can be made much lighter by using hydroformed components made up of steel. Structural strength and stiffness can be improved and the tooling costs reduced because several components can be consolidated into one hydroformed part.Components manufactured by forming can springback, meaning that they undergo elastic distortion on removing the component from the die. This effect is apparently smaller in hydroformed components.

The process is quite simple - a blank with a closed-form, such as a cylinder, is internally pressurised using fluid.

The fluid is frequently water. The applied pressure is usually in the range 80-450 MPa. Its resultant plastic expansion is confined in a die of the desired shape. It is possible that some parts of the component thin excessively during hydroforming. This can sometimes be rectified, in the case of tube hydroforming, by applying axial pressure to feed material into the bulges, thereby reducing bulging.

Tube Hydroforming

Raw tube loaded in Hydroforming Die Hydroforming Press closes The sealing rods engage the part, seal the ends and fill it with water
Pressure inside the part increases The sealing rods push the tube into the die (endfeed) and the internal pressure is ramped to calculated value. The hydroformed part takes on the shape of the die Final hydroformed part is removed

A – Raw tube loaded in Hydroforming Die.
B – Hydroforming Press closes.
C – The sealing rods engage the part, seal the ends and fill it with water.
D – Pressure inside the part increases.
E – The sealing rods push the tube into the die (endfeed) and the internal pressure is ramped to calculated value. The hydroformed part takes on the shape of the die.
F – Final hydroformed part is removed.