True to Form: Exhaust End Form Tooling
Exhaust end form tooling is used in specialist manufacturing machines to reliably manipulate exhaust tubes to specific requirements.
End forming tools in pipe and tube fabrication can expand, swage, reduce, notch or curl pipes to create different profiles.
End forming is often used to shape tubes so that they can mate with other tubes. It can also be used to ‘finish’ an exhaust pipe or create a specific look, profile or resonance.
Highcross Designs specialises in the design and production of specialist tooling for the automotive exhaust market.
Our team will design, manufacture and tests tools, matching them to specific customer requirements. If something has gone wrong with another supplier, we can also adjust specifications and improve outcomes.
The simplest and most widely used type of exhaust end forming is called ram forming.
In this process, a tube is held in place by ram forming jaws – which act as a clamp preventing movement in certain areas – while a hydraulic ram applies pressure to the tube, manipulating it into the desired shape.
When you are using ram forming, there is a high risk that the hollow tubes or pipes will buckle or break under the pressure of the hydraulic press.
This process requires special tooling that’s placed either inside or around the tubing to stop the material buckling and to make sure it forms correctly.
Ram forming can be used on exhaust pipes of lots of different sizes, but once the tools have been created there isn’t much flexibility to change the design, which is why it’s important that tools are made correctly the first time.
This type of forming can manipulate tubes in a lot of different ways.
Exhaust tubes will often need to be swaged to ensure that they fit together smoothly. Swaging is the continuous deforming of hollow cylinders by mechanical action to change their diameters.
It is usually only applied to a portion of the length of a tube or pipe – contracting or expanding to provide a tight fit around another tube or component.
Exhaust end forming can also be used to apply different finishes, like a flared opening or a smooth curled finish on the end of an exhaust pipe.
In one recent project, Highcross Designs worked with an exhaust manufacturer to create a curled finish on an exhaust pipe.
The manufacturer grew frustrated with their current supplier when the exhaust pipes kept bending and collapsing under pressure from the hydraulic press.
This is a common challenge with hollow tubes and exhaust tooling and knowing how to correct it requires specific technical knowledge and experience.
Our engineering team worked closely with the client to understand the problem, the machine environment and the desired results.
Taking the original forming tool as our starting place, we redesigned the part to minimise the internal pressure on the exhaust tube.
When installed, the end-forming tool peels back the end of the exhaust pipes to create a curved edge that’s safer and more aesthetically appealing than the sharp metal edge.