Flexform™ Fluid Cell Presses
More versatile and cost-effective than hydroforming presses
Fluid cell forming is a low-cost sheet metal forming process designed for both prototyping and lower volume parts production. Avure Technologies has designed, built and installed more than 150 Flexform fluid cell presses for major manufacturers worldwide, including Airbus, Ford, Boeing, Daimler-Benz, Bombardier, BMW, Embraer and Volvo, along with a growing number of component suppliers to the aerospace and automotive industries.
Often compared to sheet hydroforming presses, Flexform fluid cell presses employ ultra-high pressure to form a wide variety of complex shapes. The concept is basically simple: a sheet metal blank is placed over a single shape-defining tool half. Tools and blanks are loaded into large forming trays on tables that shuttle in and out of the press. Parts are placed in the tray with no need for fine alignment or fixing in place.
The upper tool half is a flexible rubber diaphragm which is pressurized by pumping in oil. As pressure increases, the diaphragm forms the blank uniformly around and into the tool. When the set pressure is reached, the oil is decompressed and pumped out of the press and the
diaphragm returns to its rest position. Formed parts are removed, and new blanks are loaded for another cycle. Pressures up to 1,400 bar (20,000 psi), an equivalent press force as high as 150,000 tons, ensure close tolerance parts direct from the press with little or no secondary work required. It is often possible to form and trim in a single operation. Bulging or expansion forming can also be performed with Flexform fluid cell presses.
Cost-Efficient Precision Forming
- Savings from 50 to 90 percent in tooling costs compared to stamping presses
- Complex shapes formed to close assembly tolerances, often in a single operation
- Multiple parts per cycle for increased throughput and productivity
- Quick tool setup and fast cycles for shorter part lead times
- Versatile process forms virtually any sheet metal up to 16mm thick
- Design flexibility permits combining of smaller parts into large seamless components
- Smooth surface finishes free from scratches or gall marks