Integrated Tube and Double Sheet Hydroforming Technology - Optimised Process for the Production of a Complex Part
The possibility to produce lightweight components with a complex geometry enhanced, in the last decades, the industrial application of the tube hydroforming and, more recently and restricted to specific industrial fields, of the sheet hydroforming technology. The integration in one tool of a tube and a double sheet hydroforming process represents an innovative technology which further emphasises the advantages offered by hydroforming in terms of costs reduction and complexity of the manufactured part. This paper describes the design and the construction of a complex hollow part resulting from the simultaneous hydroforming of two sheets and a tubular component in one tool. The focus is set in particular on the optimisation of the joining zone between tube and sheet pair, whose geometry allows a “metallic” sealing of the gap between the sheets and the tube, i.e. without using sealing components. The contact between tube and sheet pair allows the transmission of the axial force used to support the bulging of the tube to the sheet blanks, thus increasing their draw-in in the die and, consequently, avoiding the occurrence of tearing on the part. The paper describes the optimisation of different process parameters like the shape and the dimension of the blanks, their initial positioning in the tool, the value of the axial force applied to the tubular component and the blankholder force during the preforming and the calibrating stages.
F. Micari, M. Geiger, J. Duflou, B. Shirvani, R. Clarke, R. Di Lorenzo and L. Fratini
M. Geiger et al., "Integrated Tube and Double Sheet Hydroforming Technology - Optimised Process for the Production of a Complex Part", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 344, pp. 477-484, 2007