Steelhead Composites announces new capabilities in metal forming outside aluminum

Tuesday June 5, 2018 0 comments Tags: Golden, Steelhead Composites, Andrew Coors

GOLDEN -- Steelhead Composites, a leader in composite overwrapped pressure vessels, announced it has grown internal capabilities in metal forming outside of aluminum by successfully manufacturing cylinders using carbon steel, seamless stainless steel and titanium.steelhead-logo

"We have been rethinking how we approach metal spin-forming, modifying machinery and investing in tooling which now allows us to form a wide variety of metals either as standalone cylinders or composite overwrapped pressure vessels," said Andrew Coors, Steelhead Composites CEO.

"We are proud to be able to offer this capability to our product offerings or as a contract service."

Spin-forming is a metal forming process in which a metallic tube is turned into a "bottle" with necked ends often with no welds or seams. The tube is rotated fast on a spindle and heated with gas torches while being gradually formed into the desired shape.

A servo-controlled robotic arm with a forming wheel contacts the tube and forms the necked ends. Spin-forming does not remove any material.

Steelhead said this is critical to industries such as aerospace & defense, which can capitalize on removing processes and potential failure points from welding in the variety of applications in which cylinders are used.

"Our standard products use aluminum liners which we then reinforce with composites," said Dr. Kaushik Mallick, Steelhead’s head of engineering, "but aluminum is not optimal for all applications.

“We use advanced material analysis and design capabilities, allowing us to now manufacture a broader suite of seamless cylinders with characteristics optimized to the customer's application."

Steelhead is now producing steel-lined composite overwrapped vessels for high-cycle-life applications while still cutting significant weight from systems using traditional steel vessels.

Steelhead said it has also successfully formed seamless stainless-steel vessels for corrosive applications. Finally, Steelhead said it is manufacturing seamless titanium liners, moving towards titanium-lined composite overwrapped pressure vessels for aerospace applications under their AS 9100 – Rev D quality system.