ITP Aero, a manufacturer of aviation and industrial engines, installed a high-pressure sheet hydroform press from Quintus Technologies in its recently completed plant in Bilbao, Spain. The press operates at a forming pressure of 1,400 bar (20,000 psi), which is important in jet-engine applications because it ensures close-tolerance parts direct from the press with little or no secondary hand work required. With a work area of 27.6 x 73 inches (700 mm x 1,800 mm), it introduces several production efficiencies, eliminating forming steps, intermediate heat treatments, and manual pre- and post-forming operations.
The advanced hydroform process utilizes a combination of a single rigid tool half, operating in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm under uniform high hydrostatic pressure, to form sheet-metal parts with accuracy and repeatability. This design generates significant tool cost savings and speeds up tool production, especially for intricately shaped components. According to ITP Aero, which needed to develop a new portfolio of products using sheet-metal forming, the press is the result of a research-and-development project evaluating different technologies.