Forming based on active media

Economic realization of sophisticated designs and complex structural components

Active media-based forming comprises numerous processes for forming tubes, profiles and metal sheets. Hydroforming (HF) is the most significant technology of this process group. A wide range of materials can be formed either at room temperature, particularly with liquid media, or also at forming temperatures of up to 1,100°C by using gases. In addition to the forming temperature, the strain rate constitutes another process parameter for extending the technological limits and fields of application. This especially applies to superplastic forming. It is characterized by low strain rates – associated with high forming temperatures – which enable effective strains of several 100 per cent. In comparison, electromagnetic forming is a high speed process where the forming process takes place within microseconds.

Temperature also plays a decisive role in several HF process variants. In addition to conventional HF hot forming of light metals, Fraunhofer IWU has also realized a process combination of HF and press hardening. This approach combines the advantages of structural construction and lightweight material design. HF press hardening can be used to manufacture super high strength structural components from closed manganese-boron steel profiles. Another new application consists in the combination of HF and injection molding in one tool for manufacturing hybrid components.

  • Forming of a wide material range possible
  • Forming temperatures possible from room temperature to over 1,100°C
  • Extension of technological limits and fields of application by specifically using strain rate and forming temperature as process parameters
  • Economic manufacturing of components and assemblies by combination with or integration of other processes
    • Heat treatments
    • Injection molding
    • Integration of joining operations

Development of process chains

  • Analyses of markets and trends, technology scouting
  • Development and optimization of existing and new processes
  • Technological and economic analyses of process chains
  • Development and realization of new manufacturing concepts
  • Planning and design of processes, tools and machines

Development and evaluation of forming strategies

  • Feasibility studies
  • Technology development
  • Development of characteristic process values and optimal forming strategies
  • Numerical simulation
  • Manufacturing of prototypes

Quality assurance

  • Process monitoring and control
  • “Intelligent” state-dependent process control

Machine technology

  • HF press DUNKES HS3-1500 (max. closing force: 15,000 kN; max. active media pressure: 120 MPa (gas) or 700 MPa (HFA fluid))
  • HF press Schuler SHP 50000 (max. closing force: 50,000 kN; max. active media pressure: 120 MPa (gas) or 400 MPa (HFA fluid))
  • Peripherals (system for induction heating, chamber furnaces, robots, 10 kW cooling unit and electrical die heating)
  • Pulsed power generator for electromagnetic forming PS103-25 Blue Wave (maximum capacitor charging energy 103 kJ, maximum capacitor charging voltage 25 kV, gradually adjustable capacity 25.6 - 320 µF)


  • CAD: Catia V5, PTC Creo, Inventor
  • FEM simulation: AutoForm, PamStamp, LS Dyna, Abaqus, Deform, Ansys
  • Planning and evaluation of experiments: Cornerstone, Origin, MathLab forming

Testing technology

  • Coordinate measuring instrument PRISMO7S-ACC (ZEISS)
  • Various optical and contact measuring devices for roughness and profiles
  • White light interferometer, ITO Stuttgart University
  • Confocal microscope, ITO Stuttgart University
  • Scanning electron microscope, LEO Oberkochen; stereomicroscope
  • EDX system, Oxford Instruments
  • Optical measuring station UBM
  • Form measuring instrument F2002, HOMMEL
  • Ultrasonic wall thickness gauges
  • Profile projector PJ300