Flowforming Offers Range of Benefits for Aerospace Applications

Flowforming Offers Range of Benefits for Aerospace Applications

Traditionally, the design of metal components and assemblies for the aerospace sector has been widely dependent on several key factors, including the severity of the application, the materials selected, the required tolerance, and the overall weight, safety, and reliability of the final product. In the past decade, additional emphasis has been placed on cost and overall manufacturability to produce these complex components.

Although many processes are currently used in the formation of metal components for aerospace applications, one in particular—flowforming—is reported to offer “greater benefits across the spectrum,” according to PMF Industries, a contract metals fabricator based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Flowforming offers a very high level of design flexibility and provides one of the best and most economical methods of producing high-precision, rotationally symmetrical, hollow parts. It is a cold-extrusion, metal-forming process that creates seamless, cylindrical, conical, and contoured near-net-shaped components from common forms of materials. Material is only displaced, not removed during the process.

Unlike metal spinning and other metal-forming processes that cannot precisely control material thickness, flowforming offers control by design of contours and wall thicknesses, capabilities that are highly beneficial when designing and manufacturing aerospace components. Also, because flowforming does not require elevating the temperature of the material for processing, the part is finished to near-net shape with limited or no distortion. Because the material is cold worked, subsequent heat treating, such as annealing or aging, may be desired.

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