High-Pressure Warm Forming for TitaniumJune 29, 2018
A new process from Quintus Technologies, high-pressure warm forming (HPWF), combines high pressure with a moderately elevated temperature and promises more rapid, cost-effective and precise forming of titanium parts. HPWF, according to Quintus officials, paves the way for more widespread adoption of Ti-6Al-4V, a titanium alloy prized in manufacturing for its high strength, light weight, formability and high corrosion resistance.
For example, “In the aviation industry alone, market projections call for close to 35,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft to be built over the next two decades,” says Sture Olsson, the company’s global business development manager for sheetmetal forming, noting that these new models will consume less fuel and comprise a lighter environmental footprint. “The lightweight properties of Ti-6Al-4V are integral to a fuel-efficient design strategy.”
HPWF reportedly removes barriers to fabrication that previously limited the use of Ti-6Al4V to specialty applications due to the high cost of current forming methods. The scrap rate for conventional milling can approach 70 percent, and hot-forming processes, where temperatures surpass 1300 F, require an oxygen-free process atmosphere and entail several steps.
HPWF significantly improves on these methods, claim company officials, by introducing an induction-heating system to warm the blank-and-tool package to approximately 520 —well below temperatures requiring a protective gas—just before entering a Quintus Flexform press. The press applies uniform high pressure (20,000 psi) to a flexible rubber diaphragm in conjunction with only a single rigid tool half to form complex sheetmetal parts to final shape.
A complete HPWF cycle, from heating and loading to forming and unloading, reportedly takes less than 5 min., and forming at relatively low temperatures enables quick cooling. Overall, efficiencies generated by the new process dramatically boost the production capacity for Ti-6Al-4V parts, increasing throughput by a factor of five over traditional hot-forming processes, report Quintus officials.www.quintustechnologies.com
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