Lighter material equals lower weight
Case: Container for oxygen masks in airplanes
This case is about a container for safety equipment in an airplane.
To lower the flights total weight the container is made of a 0,5 mm aluminium sheet. Aluminium is a sensitive material, but by using a hydroforming process, a light, thin, but strong item is created.
The Benefits of Hydroforming for Thin Materials
The benefit of hydroforming is that the process is gentler and exposes the item to less tension compared to a regular deep-drawing process. In regular deep-drawing a conventional deep-drawing tool is used, which has several contact points between the tool and the workpiece. Here the tool affects the item with more tension at some points on the surface than on other points.
In hydroforming, liquid ensures a more balanced allocation of pressure towards the surface of the item during the movement from the press. In that way the operation is gentler.
Hydroforming also allows for shaping complex geometries in one operation, whereas the same geometry, would have required several steps to shape if using a conventional deep-drawing process. Using less operation steps and processing the item less times also makes the manufacturingprocess gentler.
As hydroforming is a more gentle manufacturing process, it also allow for performing deeper draws on thin materials, without making scratches or irregularities on the units. These abilities makes hydroforming particularly suitable for manufacturing these containers for oxygen masks, with a thickness on the aluminum sheet of only 0,5 mm.