In the field of industrial manufacturing, there’s no guarantee that a product will become a success. During or following the fabrication process, engineers may discover that the product won’t be able to perform in its intended application, or that it will fall short of consumer expectations.

Having an inferior product is further compounded by long production runs — the manufacturer will just end up with a yield that is destined for the scrap heap. If this has happened to you before, consider prototyping your next product.

Prototyping is often seen by designer engineers as a luxury because of the costs involved, but we offer hydroforming prototyping services that are equal parts economical and effective.

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Metal Forming for Your R&D Process

Our Hydroforming Process

Hydroforming is an ideal process for prototyping runs for several reasons. In addition to being cost-efficient, hydroforming is useful for creating metal parts that have highly irregular, complex shapes and sizes — parts that cannot always be produced from metal spinning. The pressurized hydraulic fluid used in hydroforming allows greater flexibility, allowing us to create a virtually unlimited variety of shapes.

Using CAD and CAM technology, our engineers work closely with you during the design process of your prototype; the design can be revised based on your notes or observations at any time. We can also make recommendations to improve the characteristics of your part — should you require a more resilient or aesthetic product.

Helander utilizes a state-of-the-art 20” hydroforming press for prototyping projects. Our fully programmable hydroforming press can operate up to 10,000 psi, with a max punch tool diameter of 15” and a draw depth capacity of 12”.

We can produce parts of large sizes with diameters ranging from 1” to 30”, and with part thicknesses ranging from 0.030” to 0.250” — we can also adhere to the tightest tolerances, such ±.003” (standard for aircraft parts).

Our hydroforming press can be used in one of two modes: deep draw mode or fluid cell process mode. Deep draw mode is used to form parts with more curved geometries, while fluid cell process mode allows us to produce several parts during a single run, or fewer parts as needed. We are also capable of producing one-off parts; depending on the quality and design of the part, you can choose to continue or discontinue the current prototype run.

Prototyping with hydroforming is a simple process that requires low tooling costs, due to its urethane bladder that acts as a universal female die. Hydroforming tooling costs can be up to 90% less expensive than those of similar processes.

Metals Used

We are capable of hydroforming several types of metals for limited or small production runs. Some of the typical metals used include:

  • Stainless Steel(s)
  • Carbon Steel(s)
  • Titanium
  • Copper
  • Bronze
  • Inconel®
  • Hastelloy®
  • Brass

Industries Served

We offer prototyping services for many industries: aircraft/aerospace and defense, HVAC, medical and health, oil and agriculture, architecture/commercial lighting, filtration and separation, commercial and personal vehicles, and others.