Shrink & Stretch

Some types of sheet metal parts formed by hydroforming, rubber pad forming, or fluid cell forming require special treatment to adjust angles, produce the required contour tolerances, or to finely shape or smooth them. For this type of next step, Jones Metal Products applies a technology to formed parts that is available in-house with the power nibbler. The process is hands-on and the work of a skilled operator.

The nibbler works with a planishing hammer and 2 sets of tools, one for shrinking a part, the other for stretching. Templates serve to guide plus or minus adjustment of angles. Made of hard polyurethane, this tooling is made in-house for each distinct part-type requiring adjustment.

Parts that are long and shallow-shaped often benefit from a stretching and straightening process to adjust angles. The fuselage on a jet engine is one part that is moved to the power nibbler for this treatment. The part is moved in sections 10 to 12 inches at a time until the precise bend measurement is achieved. Removing wrinkles on the surface of a long and shallow part involves the shrinking application, which also means working the part through the machine section by section.

Applying the Nibbler After Heat Treatment

Shallow-shaped and long parts often require annealing. During the anneal, some metals “grow.” Jones Metal engineers know this and make adjustments at the power nibbler. A six foot part could lengthen by up to ¼ inch with several anneals. The power nibbler, moving section by section along the part, shrinks it to the specified length. A final trim is often executed at one of Jones Metal’s CNC- controlled machining centers.

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Hydroforming, Aluminum Heat Treating & Deep Draw Stamping