With its light weight and high strength, titanium is a metal used in many industries for high-performance, critical components. However, titanium’s low density (compared to steel), high melting point, propensity to gall and sensitivity to contamination during the welding process can make it difficult to work with. But with hydroforming, an ideal solution for this metal is available.
Hydroforming is a metal forming process that allows the creation of seamless and complex metal shaping for a variety of different kinds of parts. Rather than using both a male and female die to stamp a part from metal, hydroforming utilizes a flexible diaphragm that expands due to hydraulic pressure. This forms the metal to the die and results in a component that is produced to precise tolerances with exceptional exterior surface quality.
Titanium is most often used to make very light, very sturdy metal parts. When component production calls for smooth, complicated shapes — such as in aerospace manufacturing, automotive manufacturing and bicycle manufacturing — hydroformed titanium is especially well suited.
Hydroforming titanium enables the creation of shapes that are not possible in other die stamping methods. During the process of hydroforming titanium, a single sheet of titanium is “punched” or formed into the desired shape, based on the part drawing or design.
A hydroformed titanium component can be up to about 32 inches in diameter. The metal is first cut into blanks and then a punch is formed by putting the metal on top of a ring. A hydraulic chamber is then closed over the sheet metal before pressure is applied to the entire unit.
Hydroforming titanium is a more cost-effective method for forming this costly metal. The process is also more time efficient than other methods, because only two parts are required to carry out the process: the punch and the ring. Time efficiencies are also realized because unlike other metal forming processes, hydroforming only has one step. No additional welding has to be performed to prevent leakage, thus resulting in less inspection. With less inspection time and lower costs, hydroforming titanium is more economical than other manufacturing methods.
In addition to hydroforming titanium, Jones Metal has the equipment, capacity and expertise to hydroform a wide variety of materials that include aluminum, steel, stainless steel, bronze, brass, copper, specialty metals and state-of-the art alloys, including hastelloys, inconels, cobalt and nickel alloys. We can accommodate blanks up to 32.5 inches to form parts with depths up to 12 inches and diameters to 27 inches. We operate at forming pressures up to 10,000 psi, tackling material gauges up to 3/8 inches (steel) and 1/2 inch (aluminum).
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