Helicopter builder AgustaWestland ordered a new forming press from Avure Technologies to be installed at a plant in eastern Poland, and to produce several hundred thousand sheet metal parts annually. The Flexform™ model QFC 0.7x1.8-800 fluid-cell press generates a pressure of 800 bar (11,600 psi) over the forming 27.5x72-inches area.
Fluid cell forming is a hydroforming technology in which parts are formed over a single tool, using the downward force of a pressurized diaphragm. The sheet material is placed atop a stationary form block, which rests unsecured on the lower platen or working surface. The diaphragm is pressurized with hydraulic fluid, expanding as it exerts equal pressure on every point within the chamber.
Avure Technologies is a Swedish company that describes itself as the world’s largest supplier of ultra-high pressure presses for metal forming. It has installed over 1,700 high-pressure forming systems worldwide, it noted.
The Polish installation will be the tenth for this fluid-cell press design since 2013.
“Avure’s sheet metal forming presses reduce fabrication steps and decrease component costs,” stated the company’s Anders Ringdahl, EMEA regional sales director. “The high forming pressure will allow PZL-Świdnik to achieve tighter parts tolerances and lower per-part production costs.”
AgustaWestland S.p.A., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica, an Italian aerospace, defense and electronics contractor that designs and manufactures a range of helicopters for military and civilian use.
PZL-Świdnik, which AgustaWelland acquired in 2010, is one of the group’s new product development centers. Its products include the AW149 multi-role military helicopter and the SW-4 Rotary Unmanned Aerial System/Optionally Piloted Helicopter (RUAS/OPH.) The latter is based on the Świdnik-produced, light single engine SW-4 helicopter.
The Świdnik plant also produces also the W-3 Sokol, a twin-engine multi0purpose utility helicopter for military use.
PZL-Świdnik’s new press is expected to increase the plant’s forming capacity by 30%, with potential to reduce labor hours and fabrication steps. Higher capacity and better finished-part quality also are expected to address help the plant meet growing demand for helicopter components.