Block Forming - Simple Shapes, Economical Tooling and Shorter Lead Times
Jones Metal specializes and relishes in the more difficult deep draw hydroforming and stamping jobs, but mastering the basics is just as important. Block forming, also known as rubber pad forming, may be the simplest metal forming method, but executing the more straightforward procedures is just as important in an industry where precision is everything.
In hydroforming, the metal is being moved and applied pressure creates the client’s desired shape. With block forming, metal is first placed on a form, and then it’s bent into a certain shape. As the hydroforming machine or hydraulic press applies downward pressure, the metal is bent down into the chosen structure. At Jones Metal, we will use hydroform presses for parts needing up to 32 inches in blank diameter, and for the larger parts, Jones uses its hydraulic press.
The procedure may sound transparent, but there are a few modifications that need to be made in order to prevent wrinkling and breakage where the excess material remains. There are no “true corners” in products that are block formed, because the pressure stresses the tolerance capabilities in the newly formed area. Instead, cut reliefs are manufactured into the metal as preventive measures.
Only one piece of tooling needs to be designed for block forming. The block is typically made of polyurethane or sometimes even wood. Polyurethane is more economical than steel, and the material is much easier to produce a die from. The limited tooling requirement decreases the cost significantly for companies looking to produce simple shapes at an economic cost. The lead time is also reduced as a result of the controlled preparations.
With block forming, we are able to control critical dimensions and inside dimensions, and shallow shapes especially benefit from the process. Something that other companies may struggle with is finding a way to compensate for the outside dimensions that can’t be controlled. On the outside, metal can easily break and it is more inclined to draw a springback. However, Jones Metal pays attention to these potential problems that can disrupt production and counteracts them.
Block forming may be simple, but there is still an art to mastering it with precision each time. Jones works with each project with the same professionalism and expertise. For low cost and timely production of simple metal shapes, contact Jones Metal.
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