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Sheet metal hydroforming

What is hydroforming?

Hydroforming is an efficient and economical metal forming operation. It is a cold forging process that allows you to obtain light, structurally rigid and robust pieces from malleable metals, such as steel, aluminum and brass.

How is it done?

This technique uses a hydraulic fluid brought to very high pressure to deform the sheet, inserted in a specially designed mold.

The thrust of the fluid causes the metal to adhere to the walls of the mold, thus assuming the desired shape.

The origin

This process originated in the 1950s from the hydrostoulding patent of Fred Leuthesser, Jr. and John Fox of the Schaible Company of Cincinnati.

Originally this process was designed for the production of kitchen taps. Hydro-molding made it possible to obtain less “grainy” pieces, favoring an easier finishing of the metal.

The advantages

Hydroforming now makes it possible to obtain shapes with complex concavities, with a better surface quality, guaranteeing considerable creative freedom to designers.

It also helps to reduce postforming interventions, the number of product components and their weight. All this translates into considerable overall savings, also deriving from lower costs for equipment and auxiliary tools.


The automotive is one of the main application sectors of hydroforming. It facilitates the production of robust, light and rigid one-piece vehicle structures. Hydroforming is therefore particularly suitable for the sports car industry.

It is also used for forming aluminum tubes for bicycle, motorcycle and wheelchair frames and for the production of lighting devices, cookware and brass tools.

Finally, the characteristics of hydroformed metals make them very attractive for the aerospace sector.

Sources: Wikipedia,

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