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Sapa Profiler AB has for a longer time worked with research and development in hydroforming. It is a technique which offers unique possibilities to design complex elements.

Image: hydroformningHydroforming hollow profiles can, in a simplified way, be described as expanding the profile in a tool by pressing it out with the help of emulsion under a very high pressure. The tool, a hydroforming press with locking forces up to 10,000 tons, has the same geometry as the finished component and is locked during the entire hydroforming process.

Hydroformed aluminium profiles provide excellent possibilities to design complex elements. Especially by using bent profiles it is possible to obtain very interesting shapes with a unique combination of weight and strength. Apart from this, the use of hydroformed pipes makes it possible to reduce or completely eliminate welding and other jointing methods.

In order to get a perfect result of the forming process it is required to control the properties of the material. Together with our experts at Sapa Technology we work hard on controlling the material properties so that the customer can get exactly the product form that is required.

Some advantages of hydroformed profiles

  • The cross-section of the profile along its length can be varied
  • Complex shapes can be made – one element can replace several ones
  • Very good shape accuracy
  • Low weight
  • Aesthetically attractive forms

Already in 1995 Sapa Profiler AB realised that the hydroforming method had a wide area of application and a good development potential. Together with, among others, Volvo and Ford several research and development projects have carried out in the recent years in order to produce hydroformed components for the automotive industry.

In the year 2000 a competence centre for hydroforming was established in Vetlanda. The purpose of the centre is to continue the development of the technology. In the autumn of 2002 the first serial production of hydroformed elements took place there.

The competence centre makes use of a simulation based on the FE method in order obtain perfect hydroformed profiles. The finite element method reveals the critical points and makes it possible to perform tool corrections even before hydroforming takes place in reality.