Sheet Hydroforming vs. Tube Hydroforming

Learn more about these two styles of hydroforming, and explore sheet hydroforming with JMP.

hydroforming | August 28, 2017 |

Hydroforming is the process of using fluid pressure to form a complex metal shape. A press applies the necessary force to the fluid—in this case hydraulic petroleum-based oil —to push the metal against a die punch, forming the intended part. 

Unlike traditional stamping, hydroforming can create complex parts to very precise specifications. In addition, hydroforming can limit the amount of downstream processing needed on a part; with limited metal on metal contact, parts are formed without the scratches associated with stamping, which reduces downstream processing costs. The process of using pressurized fluid is similar across the styles of hydroforming, including sheet metal hydroforming and tubular hydroforming. 

However, the two methods are not interchangeable. Each method is unique and ideal for specific types of parts and industries

Sheet Hydroforming

In the sheet metal hydroforming process, a metal blank is placed on the hydroform press. This blank is the metal sheet onto which pressure is applied, which forces the blank into the shape of the die beneath it. The advantage of this method is its versatility; a wide variety of parts can be formed using sheet hydroforming. This method of hydroforming is most beneficial in industries like aerospace and defense, healthcare, commercial lighting and the land-based power generation. These industries require specialized parts with complex shapes. Especially in healthcare and aerospace, adherence to the specifications of these parts is imperative. Sheet hydroforming provides the precise shapes and surfaces needed for such products. 

Tube Hydroforming

Named for the metal tubes that are used as the basis for the newly formed product, tubular hydroforming is particularly useful in the automotive industry, where the need for tubular parts is great. With this method of hydroforming, the pressurized fluid is applied to the inside of the tube, which pushes the metal out into the die surrounding it. This process can create many different types of tubing and pipes of various lengths, weights and shapes. Dimensional accuracy, stiffness and strength are easily achieved with tubular hydroforming, which creates safer and lighter parts for the automotive industry.  

Hydroforming at JMP

Given our primary industries served, JMP offers customers sheet metal hydroforming services. We have over five decades of experience with this process, and our expertise guarantees that your parts are delivered on-time with exceptional quality and cost effectiveness. 

For more information about hydroforming, or to speak with one of our experts, call us today at 888-868-6535.

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