Based in Wichita, KS, H&R Parts Co. Inc. has been producing aluminum parts and assemblies for the aerospace industry since 1955. The company’s 34,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is dedicated to fulfilling orders for the U.S. military, as well as commercial customers. H&R is ISO9001:2015 and AS9100D certified, and it boasts an 89 percent on-time delivery rate.
In January 2019, H&R’s skin stretch press was destroyed by a fire. The company continued on with its business as best it could, but eventually company president Lon Legleiter called Caleb Dixon, a sales engineer at Beckwood Press Co., to see if Beckwood could build a replacement press.
By early 2020, H&R had installed a new 200-ton Triform sheet stretch forming machine from Beckwood. Two years earlier, Beckwood supplied H&R with a Triform model 24-5 fluid cell sheet hydroforming press. This older model has a 24-inch-diameter forming area and produces 5,000 psi of pressure. The new machine, by comparison, forms parts from aluminum sheets up to 0.1875 inch thick and 114 inches wide. It offers 40 inches of stroke, with a 12-by-100-inch mounting table that includes a tilt of ±15 degrees.
The machine’s segmented jaws travel horizontally to allow for a maximum distance between them of 72 inches and a minimum distance of 18 inches. Legleiter says the jaws provide 6,000 pounds of force per inch, and can clamp a wide range of sheet sizes. He especially likes that Beckwood was able to design the press to fit in the existing pit on H&R’s production floor.
H&R uses several other machines to support low-volume, high-mix production of aluminum parts. These include a full range of fluid cell and deep draw sheet hydroforming presses, stretch forming machines, ring expanders and joggle presses.
“We were able to design a [machine] that fits [H&R Parts’] needs and [will] support [its] growing operation for years to come,” says Dixon. “By us designing and building this stretch form equipment around [its] specific requirements, H&R experienced a seamless transition from [its] existing machine [to] this modern [one].”
Beckwood offers a complete line of Triform machines, which stretch metal sheets or extrusions to exceed their inherent elastic limit. The sheets or extrusions are then wrapped and formed around contoured dies and profiles to create the desired shape.
All of the machines allow operators to program pressure and position cycles, as well as synced or independent arm actuation. The machines’ closed-loop control system enables precise and repeatable tension force control (±2 percent of full scale) and arm angle control (±0.5 degree) during operation.
Uniform tension force throughout the cycle minimizes wrinkling. A programmable post-load cycle minimizes material spring back and increases material yield strength. Operators can save proven cycle parameters to decrease setup time.
Manual mode gives the operator direct control over the cycle profile during new part development. Supplemental accessories include heat integration for high-strength alloys, and hydraulic joggle rams for setting bends in the formed extrusions.
Beckwood also manufactures standard and custom hydraulic, servo-electric and temperature-controlled presses. For more information, call 800-737-0111 or visit www.beckwoodpress.com.