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Hydroformed Car Parts are Lighter, Cheaper, Study Says

Hydroforming metals produces lighter vehicle parts in a less expensive way than state-of-the-art stamping and welding processes, according to research by pressure sequence hydroforming company Vari-Form.

The engineering study shows that hydroforming front end, body side, and rear floor structures achieves, on average, an 11 percent piece cost reduction, a 14 percent tooling cost reduction and a 7.3 percent weight reduction, when compared to stamping and welding.

These cost and weight reductions are leading automakers to consider hydroforming for a variety of structural applications, Vari-Form says. The company says that its process is particularly applicable to manufacturing load-bearing structural parts that need to withstand rigorous safety and durability testing without adding weight to the vehicle.

In November, Royston Jones, president and global CTO of engineering and design consultancy Altair ProductDesign, wrote in an Environmental Leader column that automakers are putting increasing emphasis on lightweighting vehicles. By lightweighting a car’s body by one kilogram, designers estimate they will save another kilogram on secondary components, Jones wrote.

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