Hydroforming: Benefits, obstacles, experience and opportunities 2007-01-2599
The weight reduction in vehicles is a subject of increasing importance at this moment in the automotive industry following the application of ultra high strength steels. Lightest vehicles bring material and energy economy, and also go in favor of the current environmental politics.
The vehicles weight cannot be reduced without engineering changes, reason for new producing methods of lighter steel components are being developed, reducing the amount of the vehicles components. One of these techniques is the Hydroforming.
Hydroforming consists in use the fluid pressure in substitution of the punch in a conventional press tooling to form the desired shape of the components. The technique is very useful to produce entire components that would be made in conventional way for multiples pressed components joined later. For example, a typical chassis set that would be normally made by up to six presses and welded components can be hydroformed as a single part.
Generally the Hydroforming process is an elegant technique. It is also much more robust and practical that many industries will accept. This robustness will assure its increasing use.
It is intended in this work to present benefits gotten in a development made by Benteler for a rear axle and an estimated cost comparison among conventional press process, hot stamping and Hydroforming for B and C pillars.