Titanium Hydroforming: The Ultimate Guide

With titanium hydroforming, you can make many parts and components. However, you must learn the basic and advanced stages of this metal fabrication process. So, if you wish to learn more about titanium hydroforming, read this guide.

What Is Titanium Hydroforming?

It refers to a punching process of creating seamless and complicated metal shaping for various parts from titanium metal. This process forms lightweight, strong and complex parts, which other die stamping techniques cannot necessarily achieve. The parts formed through this process are used in a wide range of applications across different industries.

Benefits Of Titanium Hydroforming

Minimal Material Thinout
Minimal Material Thinout

This process utilizes the materials effectively, thus reducing unnecessary and costly wastage.

Suitable For Complex Shapes
Suitable For Complex Shapes

It allows you to create different parts with complicated shapes and irregular contours effectively.

Provides Seamless Results
Provides Seamless Results

The parts formed using this process are free from wrinkles, draw marks, and shock lines among other deformities.

Cost-effective
Cost-effective

The tooling costs used in the process are quite inexpensive, and the set-up time is significantly reduced. This ensures you attain best results at considerably reduced costs.

Can Replace Normal Draw Operation
Can Replace Normal Draw Operation

You can replace multiple conventional draw operations by a single cycle in a hydroforming press.

Significant Cost Saving
Significant Cost Saving

It is easy to achieve cost savings by optimizing materials and blank thickness specifications.

Low work-hardening
Low work-hardening

This process does not require intensive strengthening of the metal.

Titanium Hydroforming Tolerance

Tolerances in titanium hydroforming often vary based on the specific application chosen. Besides, the particular size of the component you are forming also plays a significant role in determining the actual titanium hydroforming tolerance. But in general, this process can significantly reduce tolerances compared to what you can attain in conventional stamping techniques.

Titanium Hydroforming Tolerance
Titanium Machining Vs. Titanium Hydroforming

Titanium Machining Vs. Titanium Hydroforming

Titanium machining refers to the process of cutting the material to attain the desired ultimate shape and size by a controlled material removal process. Machining titanium is quite challenging due to its structural properties, thus the need to be vigilant to attain best results. In titanium machining, it is imperative to keep temperatures down, control chipping, leave a lot of room for the tool, and reduce galling.

Titanium hydroforming, on the other hand, is a metal shaping process using fluid dynamics. It is quite straightforward as long as you have the right tools and know the procedures required. Moreover, it forms lightweight and structurally strong rigid pieces of original material.

Titanium Hydroforming Vs. Stainless Steel Hydroforming

Ordinarily, titanium hydroforming allows creation of lightweight shapes, impossible to attain in other stamping methods. When hydroforming titanium, a single sheet of material is punched into the desired shape depending on part design or drawing. The formed component can be up to about 32 inches in diameter.

On the other hand, stainless steel hydroforming involves cutting the metals into blanks and placing them in hydroforming process one at a time over a punch. Hydraulic pressure is applied from the top as the punch rises, and a blank is created into desired shape.

Titanium Hydroforming Vs. Stainless Steel Hydroforming

History Of Hydroforming

History Of Hydroforming
History Of Hydroforming

Hydroforming began in 1900s when the automotive industry started to become popular in the US. It enabled auto-makers to have a better desirable alternative to casting using die sets. Essentially, manufacturing die-set parts required more finishing work and yielded less structurally sound parts, given the excessive handling and metal stretch.

The Cincinnati Milling Machine Company was intensively involved in research and development of hydroforming tools. By 1930s, this company was the chief supplier of metal forming equipment in Europe and US. As the demand for shaped and complex parts bloated, this milling company began the process of coming up with deep draw forming methods. It used lighting reflectors and a wide range of gear case covers.

In 1956, the company was transformed into Cincinnati Milacron; thus, research and development of this process accelerated. Advanced methods of hydroforming began to take shape, and by 1970, this process was formally out of its fledging stages. The modern hydroforming machines minimized the need for excessive metal part finishing. In turn, it reduced parts’ turnover time, enhanced efficiency, and minimized workforce.

Titanium Tube Hydroforming

Titanium Tube Hydroforming
Titanium Tube Hydroforming

It is the process of expanding titanium metal tubes into desired shape using two die halves containing raw tubes. This technique allows designers to be creative and enables them to attain complex shapes that often need a costlier and more complex process. Parts formed using this technique tend to have seamless bonding and increased strength.

Also, hydroformed titanium tubes attain relatively superior functional and aesthetic quality levels to those formed with traditional processes. Moreover, titanium tube hydroforming makes parts that can maintain high surfaces, which is fundamental for finishing purposes. Generally, titanium tube hydroforming process works from the following main perspectives;

  • Placing the tube inside a special die
  • Fluid flowing into the die
  • Tube formation fluid action under pressure
  • Removal of a hydroformed tube from the die.

Nevertheless, here are the core elements surround the different stages in titanium tube hydroforming;

  • The shape should never contain bends. Ordinarily, such bends often deviate from straight line.

Thus, if it has any bend, it should be loaded into the tube bender. This makes it easy to bend the tube and provides it with the ideal curvature to fit into the dies.

  • Next, the bent tube is typically put in a 200 or 500-ton pre-form process. Such presses initiate forming and shape change of the specific part and help the hydroforming process.
  • The part then moves to a hydroforming press, where the press will pressurize water inside the tube and giving the component its ultimate shape and look. At this stage, precision is imperative since it guarantees accuracy for reliability and efficiency of the part.
  • Newly hydroformed part is subjected to intensive wash as required. This is important because it ensures precision stenciling or laser cutting as required.
  • The last phase of this process involves taking the formed part to a laser center for respective post-forming operations. Such operations usually vary depending on the exact type of part required. The notable post-formation processes executed at the laser center include cutting, etching, and trimming among others.

Titanium tube hydroforming is an ideal technology for making a wide range of the following components;

  • Shaped tubes
  • Variable profile tubes
  • Conical tubes
  • Tubes with derivations
  • Variable radii/diameter tubes

Nevertheless, this technology provides a wide range of advantages, making it an ideal method to choose.

It simplifies and reduces additional operations and also minimizes the amount of special equipment.

Moreover, it reduces the overall operational cost and allows the creation of holes during the process.

Titanium Sheet Hydroforming

Titanium Sheet Hydroforming
Titanium Sheet Hydroforming

It is a hydroforming process involving a bladder forming and hydroforming where fluid contacts the sheet. This process uses a single die, and a sheet of metal and a blank sheet is driven into the die by high-pressure water. Often, titanium sheet hydroforming process is commonly used for producing flat panels. Also, this process allows metal to be formed with a regulated degree of tightness and deformation.

The high pressure water is often on one side of the metal sheet forming the required shape. Sheet metal is expanded into the metal die by hydraulic pressure and ensures an even distribution of the strain across the material’s surface. While at it, the punch comes in handy for re-deforming the material into a flat panel design.

The process, thus, enhances chances of crafting consistent characteristics and dependability. It would be more appropriate to consider hydraulic bulge testing for titanium forming operations since deformation mode is bi-axial instead of uniaxial.

Controlled pressure distribution on surface part during forming can be used to regulate sheet thickness and postpone localized necking. Additionally, using a single-form surface tooling saves time and cost for the tooling manufacture. The setup procedure for titanium sheet hydroforming is relatively simple since tooling can be rapidly mounted and self-centered.

Application Of Titanium Hydroforming

Automotive Industry
Automotive Industry

Modern cars use a wide range of functional and mechanical parts formed through titanium hydroforming process. Of course, this is important because the process produces accurate and complex parts suitable for such applications.

Aerospace Industry
Aerospace Industry

Most components used in aerospace equipment require high precision and tight tolerance. Thus, this process comes in handy in manufacturing such parts and ensuring you get the best results cost-effectively.

Medical Components
Medical Components

Numerous medical appliances have parts made using this particular process. In essence, the lightweight and strength of the final parts this technique offer make it a suitable choice for such appliances.

Sporting Equipment
Sporting Equipment

Different machines used in the sporting industry, such as treadmills and other gym equipment, are produced using titanium hydroforming. Typically, such parts are strong thus can withstand the unfavorable mechanical and environmental conditions likely to be exposed.

Household Appliances
Household Appliances

Several electronics and other household items are made using titanium hydroformed parts. Such items include sink faucets, chair/table legs, and a wide range of appliance handles.

People Also Ask:

Can Titanium Be Hydroformed?

Yes.

It is hydroformed to create very light, intense, and complex parts.

What Is Hydroforming Technique?

It is a metal forming process that depends on application or pressurized liquid media to form a defined workpiece shapes from sheet metals or tubular materials.

What Are The Advantages Of Hydroforming?
  • Minimizes development costs
  • Produce clean, smooth parts without any manufacturing defects
  • Reduced material thinout
  • Waste reduction
  • Requires fewer welds
  • Reduces weight and tooling costs
How Does Tube Hydroforming Compare To Sheet Hydroforming?

Tube hydroforming is commonly used in applications requiring complex shapes, like curved sections or hollow tubes with numerous shapes.

Sheet hydroforming comes in handy where large flat pieces are required in a specific shape.

More Resources:

Titanium Fabrication

Hydroforming

Hydroforming Process

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