Hydroforming Copper Yields Precision

Hydroforming Jan 06, 2014

Forming metal into a complex or unnatural shape can alter or reduce its positive qualities. Some metals, however, are better suited for the hydroforming process and the industries it serves. Copper has proven to be one of those elements. This red-toned metal’s natural properties provide the strength and formability requirements needed to shape it with precision.  Jones Metal takes a deeper look at copper’s properties and why it is so versatile.

One of the many advantages to copper is its electrical and thermal conductivity. Its conductivity goes hand in hand with the softness that makes it easier to handle and process. More rigid or brittle materials require an additional amount of care in the hydroforming process.

In regard to its formability, copper has high ductility. A ductile material possesses the ability to absorb and distribute strain efficiently in a compact area, so there is less risk of damage to the metal during the forming process.  After the final piece is manufactured and released from the hydroforming apparatus, copper tends to make a slight adjustment from the tooling. Jones Metal is cautious about this springback recovery and compensates for it to create the precise dimensions needed. In fact, Jones Metal’s exceptionally tight tolerances are one of the reasons why its hydroforming process is so precise during each run.

Copper is also malleable. Malleability is the quality that allows a material to be pressed permanently into a shape without breaking or cracking. This differs from ductility in the sense that ductile properties allow metal to stretch without damage and malleability allows metal to deform under a specific amount of compression. This is especially useful for the ballast housings and outdoor covers for electrical boxes Jones commonly produces for the lighting industry, amongst other flatly shaped items produced.

Overall, hydroforming copper is just like working with the other metals Jones uses. It has its own advantages and special qualities that must be considered for precise results.  From high production runs to small complex runs, Jones has the experience and know-how to provide our customers with a polished finish, reduced cost and ideal research and development work. Send in your drawings and specifications online and we will help you make the most precise items for your industry. You can also contact Jones Metal for any specific questions on hydroforming copper.

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