Questions & answers

Sheet Metal Forming

Quintus is primarily a hardware provider, but do have a very strong application support team, providing training in the Flexform process, including tool design, forming and forming simulation on request.

Flexform is since decades well established within the aerospace industry, both for airframe, engine and space sheet metal part production. The aerospace industry request for high quality parts in relatively small volumes of each, at a high variety, make the technology a perfect fit.

The technology is also a great fit for all industries where prototyping and low volume production is required, such as automotive, busses, trucks, yellow goods, food processing equipment, white goods, building façades etc.

The flexible diaphragm in the fluid cell press allows most kind of forming in block dies, cavity dies and expansion dies. Shallow/small tools may be mixed with high/large tools in one and the same forming operation. Undercuts, intricate shapes, as well as trimming and cutting may be performed by the fluid cell technology. The fluid cell press provides full pressure all over the tool surface, contrary to the rubber pad process where the pressure drops dramatically in the lower section of for example a block tool.

Flexform is a low-cost sheet metal hydroform technology, ideally suited for low volume production. Flexform use only one single rigid tool half and a flexible rubber diaphragm, backed up by high-pressure hydraulic oil. Typical Flexform production volumes range from a few parts per year and per tool, up to a few thousand parts.

Within the aerospace industry the use of high-pressure typically reduce, or even eliminate, the need for labor hand correction and the need for intermediate heat treatments.
In all applications the high-pressure support forming of complex and intricate shapes, at excellent repeatability and part quality.

The life depends on the used tool shapes, but typically in the order of tens of thousands of cycles. For some of the Quintus press models the diaphragm is also repairable, should the diaphragm accidentally be pierced or damaged by an operator error. A diaphragm exchange can be made in a few hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

From thin foil up to ~10 mm sheet metal may be formed, typically however thicknesses of 1-5 mm are used, including traditional aerospace aluminum alloys, stainless and most mild steel alloys. Tough alloys such as Inconel and titanium may also be formed.

Beside the final part quality, the main perceived benefit is the low fabrication cost. This due to the low tool cost involved. The process also allows for several tools and parts to be produced in one and the same forming operation. 50-90% of conventional 2-piece tool cost may typically be saved by using the Flexform technology.

A failure is typically detected because the cycle time and the pressurization time is extended, causing a small leakage only. At worst, at a major failure, the tray may be filled by oil, but this is extremely unusual. The press will automatically decompress and evacuate the oil in the system to the tank. The operator can then close a manual valve at the main oil tank. A worn-out diaphragm is typically changed within four hours, having all replacement parts at hand.

Due to our unmatched high-pressure experience, we trust we can provide the best product available in the market. Our unique wire-winding technology allow high-pressure processing, with numerous of sheet metal fabrication quality advantages, as well as economic advantages. The wire-winding technology also provide an unmatched equipment life and reliability.

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