A Low-cost Automotive Component Production Process
Hot Metal Gas Forming was first conceived as a low cost alternative to forming steel tubular components for automotive structures. The idea was simple, place a pre-bent tubular structure into a die cavity, inductively heat it and then expand the tube to the inside cavity shape using gas pressure. A proposal of the same name was developed and proposed to a NIST-ATP solicitation, and funding was secured in the fall of 1998.
The first technical paper on the Hot Metal Gas Forming process was given to a packed audience at the SAE conference / International Body Engineering Conference in September of 1999. A copy of that paper is attached below.
Leadership & Collaboration
Lead by William (Bill) Dykstra, Hot Metal Gas Forming is an outgrowth of the super-plastic forming process used in the aerospace industry for forming low-volume aluminum and titanium structures and the hot blow forming process used in the plastics industry for high-volume commercial products such as beverage containers.
The objectives of the program were to
Verify Feasibility of the process (simple laboratory tooling)
Build a prototype mass production system using tooling and equipment
To prove out low temperature enhanced plasticity techniques at high strain rates