Metal spinning and hydroforming are two of the most utilized industrial processes in manufacturing a wide-range of products from satellite dishes, gas cylinders, lighting hardware, to musical instruments, and more. Understanding each method and its benefits will help you decide which metal forming technique best suits your application.
What Is Hydroforming?
Sheet hydroforming is a metal fabrication technique that leverages pressurized fluid to form and shape ductile metal into desired components using pre-shaped plates or dies. Hydroforming is a quick, efficient, and affordable metal forming method that reduces wastage while guaranteeing structurally robust parts and components.
Hydroforming offers many advantages over other methods, such as stamping, especially when shaping intricate, exceptionally complex, or asymmetrical components. Hydroforming is ideal for shaping carbon and stainless steels, copper, aluminum, bronze, and brass.
Helander provides hydroforming for various industries, including aerospace and defense, commercial food equipment, satellite communications, medical equipment, and more.
What Is Metal Spinning?
Metal spinning is the forming process used to make hollow parts, typically with a circular cross-section. Metal spinning transforms a metal disc or tube, known as a blank, by rotating it on a lathe and pressing it against a tool, called a mandrel, which forms the blank into a conical, toroidal, or other round shape.
Metal spinning can be done in automatic CNC machines, hydraulic-assist machines or by manually hand spinning. Spinning equipment is chosen based on production volume and intricacy of the part. Spinning can also be performed hot or cold, depending on material.
Hydroforming or Metal Spinning?
Hydroforming and metal spinning are top-notch fabrication techniques, used in a myriad of industries to produce vital parts and components. Each method has its unique advantages and the method you choose will largely depend on the specifics of your application.
Advantages of Hydroforming
Hydroforming is a smart alternative to conventional methods, such as stamping, for a variety of reasons, including:
- Fast & Efficient: Hydroforming takes about 20 seconds to form seamless, structurally sound parts within +/- 0.003” tolerance and reduces the need for secondary finishing operations.
- Complex shapes: Hydroforming is ideal for creating complex , unusually-shaped parts.
- Cost-Effective: Hydroforming is suitable and cost-effective for short, medium, and large production runs. Hydroforming is ideal for prototyping due to the high versatility in regard to design changes.
- Sustainable: Hydroforming produces little to no scrap, especially when compared to metal stamping.
Advantages of Metal Spinning
Metal spinning offers advantages for a versatile, streamlined process, including:
- Design Flexibility: Metal spinning can change quickly to accommodate evolving product designs, allowing for maximal flexibility whenever a need arises.
- Seamless, High-Quality: Metal spinning produces smooth, durable parts without seams or welds for components that require superior strength and aesthetic.
- Lower-Cost Tooling: Compared to the tooling in alternative forming methods, like stamping, casting, & forging, metal spinning tools are typically 10% of the cost.
- Short-Lead Times: The metal spinning process allows for significantly shorter turnaround-times. Tooling and spun components can be available within weeks.
Hydroforming & Metal Spinning Applications
Both hydroforming and metal spinning techniques are used in a range of industries, including:
- Aerospace & Defense – satellites, aircraft components
- Commercial Food Equipment & Cookware – cook surfaces, seasoned pots & pans
- Architectural Design – light reflectors, fixtures
- Energy – solar, steam, & wind energy equipment, as well as fuel cells
- Industrial – OEM partner for HVAC, filtrations & separation, pressure vessels
- Medical – medical imaging housing, laboratory equipment
- Oil & Agriculture – oil drilling, piping
- Vehicle Components – hot rod components, wheel rimes, steel housings
Helander: Your Partner for Metal Spinning and Hydroforming Solutions
For over 80 years, Helander has provided high-quality metal forming and fabrication services to businesses of all sizes. Our unique portfolio of advanced equipment and talented team of engineering, manufacturing, and quality experts provide metal spinning and hydroforming solutions to support the needs of your business. We will work with you from design through delivery to ensure you receive top-tier components.