High Energy Hydro Forming

Innovative metal forming technology


3D METAL FORMING is the global leader in METAL FORMING of very large and complex, double curved,  shapes for the Aerospace, Architectural and Energy/Big Science Markets.

For the Aerospace Industry in particular we can form both Near-Net-Shapes out of thick plate and Final product shapes out of sheet metal.

Especially our capability of Low Cost forming complex shapes out of thick plate is an “Enabling Technology” for designing and manufacturing Monolithic Integral Aerospace Structures eliminating the need for (sub)assembly.

Example Monolithic Structure  applications  are:

  • Nose Fuselage;
  • Wing skins;
  • Doors;
  • Door surrounds;
  • Area Rule panels.

Furthermore parts currently machined out of thick block material can be manufactured more economical if machined starting from our Near-Net-Shape.

The same process is used for manufacturing Near-Net-Shapes in ie. Invar for the product facing surface of moulds for composite parts.

The metal forming process used is High Energy Hydro Forming were we ignite High Energy Material under water  while the resulting water wave pushes the blank onto the male or female die. Because we use a High Velocity Forming technology it brings benefits like forming in T4 condition which can save Heat Treatment steps in comparison to conventional  forming technologies as : Press Forming and Spin Forming.

Our production is capable of producing parts at a rate of  #75 a month.

Advantages of our Enabling Technology for the Aerospace Industry are:

  • Overall Cost reduction >> 30%;
  • Weight reduction >> 20%.

Criteria for potential applications are:

  • Large amount of different parts / high assembly cost;
  • High “Buy to Fly” ratio (ie thick block machining);
  • Assemblies of several Forgings;
  • Fatigue issues (no holes in monolithic part);
  • Weight issues;
  • Grain flow direction issues.

Typical Examples of Thick plate forming Blank sizes are:

  • L = 6 m., W = 3 m., Thickness 100 mm., AA7181;
  • L = 3 m., W = 3 m., Thickness 80 mm., AA7050;
  • L = 2 m., W = 1,5 m., Thickness 120 mm., AA2139;
  • L = 2,5 m., W = 2 m., Thickness 80 mm., AA2050.

Machining can either be performed under 3D Metal Forming responsibility or can be performed by the customer.