Hydraulic Press Machinery for Aerospace Manufacturing

At Beckwood we are proud to be a leading press supplier for some of the largest and most advanced space manufacturing companies in the solar system. From ground-level operations to expeditions beyond our atmosphere, aerospace manufacturing facilities rely on Beckwood presses to make every mission a success.

Forming parts for the aerospace industry requires advanced machinery with the highest degree of positional accuracy, force control, and the capacity to handle large sheets to form complex parts. Whether the challenge at hand is hot forming titanium, deep drawing high-temperature engine alloys, or compression molding composite components, Beckwood provides the ideal process for your aerospace manufacturing needs.

Our presses and forming machines are designed to tackle the unique challenges faced by the aerospace and space manufacturing industries. Learn about how our high-quality machinery can take your aerospace forming to new heights:


Create Near-Net Aerospace Components with TRIFORM

Our versatile TRIFORM™ equipment can be used to create near-net aerospace parts and space equipment like fuselage panels, fuel tanks, engine components, and more in just a single operation. Across the board, these presses are proven to improve part quality, minimize defects and scrap rates, reduce production steps, and ultimately streamline production.


Sheet Hydroforming Presses

Going beyond traditional press equipment, Beckwood has the expertise in specialized aerospace manufacturing equipment thanks to the ingenuity of our TRIFORM Engineers. Beckwood’s Triform™ sheet hydroforming presses thrive in low-volume, high-mix production environments where tool changes occur frequently and manufacturing processes are continually refined. Sheet hydroforming presses use a pressurized rubber diaphragm and a single, un-mated tool to create near-net-shape parts in just one cycle. Triform’s proprietary In-Sight tool even allows you to view forming progress at any point throughout a cycle and adjust the recipe to achieve optimum forming results. This feature greatly expedites R&D and reduces costs and scrap.

TRIFORM Deep Draw Sheet Hydroforming Presses

Like fluid cell sheet hydroforming, deep draw sheet hydroforming uses a pressurized rubber diaphragm and a single unmated tool to form complex shapes. However, as the name suggests, deep draw hydroforming allows for deeper parts to be drawn- in some cases, up to 12” tall. These machines can easily be converted to double as fluid cell hydroforming presses as well by replacing the flexible draw ring with a solid one. Compared to conventional press tooling, deep draw sheet hydroforming presses reduce overall tooling costs by up to an astonishing 90%.


TRIFORM Ring Expanders

A ring expander forms symmetrical, ring-shaped parts commonly used in the aerospace industry for turbine engine manufacturing. It works by using hydraulic pressure to push a set of expanding jaws against the inside surface of the ring, which causes it to expand. Hydraulic ring expanders are typically used to size piston rings for final use in an engine, where they must be precisely dimensioned to provide a proper seal between the piston and cylinder wall. Overall, hydraulic ring expanders are an effective tool for expanding metal rings quickly and uniformly, with minimal risk of damaging the ring or causing uneven expansion. The ring-expanding process minimizes material thinning and virtually eliminates the stress point issues associated with traditional rolling and machining. These rings can be made from a variety of high-strength materials including Inconel, Hastelloy, and Titanium, among others.


TRIFORM Stretch Forming Equipment

Stretch forming is a type of metalworking most commonly used in aerospace manufacturing. This process can produce parts of varying complexity, from a simple curved part such as an aircraft skin to one with intricate geometries consisting of non-uniform cross sections. Most leading edge parts, joined structural sections, and contoured trim are created using a stretch forming machine. The main advantage of the stretch forming process is the ability to form large metal sheets and extrusions into complex shapes in a single cycle. Work hardening is a byproduct of the stretch forming process resulting in parts with a higher tensile strength and minimal springback. Since sheet and extrusion stretch forming machines use a single die, mated tooling is not required–saving up to 50% on tooling costs compared to traditional forming methods. Additionally, parts are free from scratches and scuffs, so secondary finishing is not required.

New to ring expanders and stretch forming? Explore how these specialty forming machines help save time by producing near-net parts with unmatched precision.

Hot Forming & Superplastic Forming Presses

Beckwood hot forming and SPF presses provide ultimate precision, optimal temperature control and uniformity, and extreme process repeatability that is critical to success in aerospace manufacturing. Platens can be fabricated from ceramics, stainless materials, or other exotic metal alloys depending on the specific application requirements.  Automated insulated door systems can be provided to efficiently contain the heat within the forming chamber, while also allowing adequate access during part or tool loading and unloading sequences.

During the hot forming process, both the tool and blank achieve a preheat temperature up to 2,000°F to increase the plasticity and elongation characteristics of the material. The introduction of heat allows for the formation of high-strength materials at significantly lower tonnages when compared to cold forming without the risk of cracking, spring-back, or residual stress.

SPF uses extreme temperatures in conjunction with argon gas to bulge form high-strength alloys into complex shapes in a single step. During an SPF cycle, preheated blank material is clamped between a die and a plate. Argon gas, injected through the die into the forming chamber, pushes the blank into the die. The resulting parts have a fine surface finish and are near-net-shape, eliminating the need for secondary finishing.

Hot forming and SPF presses are both available in hydraulic or servo-actuated options, so you can choose what powers your press. Beckwood is currently the only manufacturer to offer servo-actuated hot-forming presses.

Want to learn more about what a hot forming press can do for you?

Claim your copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Hot Forming Titanium today.

Compression Molding Presses

Compression molding presses utilized heated or cooled platens to achieve a desired forming temperature. They are extremely versatile tools which can be used to shape a wide range of materials from lightweight composites to high-strength alloys. This makes them excellent for aerospace manufacturing facilities which often produce a low volume of high-variety parts. We can manufacture custom compression molding presses for:

  • Thermoforming
  • Injection Molding
  • Composite Forming
  • Extrusion Forming
  • Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)
  • Powder Compacting
  • HDPE Sheet Making
  • UHMW Sheet Making

Custom Hydraulic Presses for Space Equipment

Beckwood specializes in engineering and building custom presses for every aerospace manufacturing challenge. This often means designing solutions that do not fit within a standard configuration in order to meet the unique needs and space requirements of specialized manufacturing facilities. A custom press engineered for your specific application and production facility will give you a competitive edge and prove its ROI faster than you might expect. In addition to custom frame styles, custom-engineered presses can also improve accuracy, efficiency, safety, and uptime depending on the options chosen during the design phase.

A win for you is a win for us. Discover how one aerospace OEM won more contracts by expanding their space equipment manufacturing capabilities with a custom hot forming press.


Linear Servo Press Technology

Aerospace manufacturing processes like complex draw work and stamping high-strength alloys require tight process control. With Beckwood LSP™, you can easily program ram position, travel distance, and speeds for maximum productivity. With instant feedback for diagnostics and data acquisition to record and measure torque, force, position, and time, no press offers more precision or better part quality. With presses ranging from 125 – 500 tons, Beckwood LSP™ offers the highest tonnage capacity of any linear servo press available. High precision, uptime, reliability, and unmatched forming flexibility are pillars of this world-class press technology. The use of a servo motor and linear motion system allows for greater control over the pressing process, including the ability to adjust the press force, speed, and stroke. This makes linear servo presses ideal for stamping of high-strength steels, complex draw forming, progressive die forming, assembly, and any application that requires high precision and/or accuracy.

For low-tonnage part forming and assembly operations, consider our line of EVOx servo-electric presses. With options for actuator size, frame type, dwell time, heated platens, safety features, and more, these machines can be configured to suit your process needs. The EVOx is available in a tonnage as low as 2.5 tons to as high as 50 tons. Positional repeatability to within ±0.0005″ is made easy with this machine designed for high accuracy and high precision.

Rubber Pad Presses

Rubber pad forming is an alternative to sheet hydroforming which has a lower initial startup cost. Like sheet hydroforming, rubber pad forming uses a single unmated tool and an elastomeric diaphragm to form parts. This allows for immense forming versatility in environments where low-volume, high-mix workloads are common. One benefit of rubber pad forming is that most hydraulic presses can be converted to a rubber pad press with the simple addition of an enclosed, elastomeric pad box. Unlike sheet hydroforming processes, rubber pad forming will almost always require additional secondary finishing operations.

Aerospace Machining vs. Pressing

Aerospace machining is often hailed for its complex shaping capabilities, but the process often comes with a hefty manufacturing cost. While CNC machining is highly efficient, high costs arise in the form of the time and labor spent programming the machining path, the time spent machining, and possibly the worst offender is the cost of wasted material. Machining is reductive in nature, meaning that pounds upon pounds of highly valuable alloys can be wasted in the machining of just one part.

With some calculated DFM, many parts that would seem ‘ideal’ for machining can be made to a higher quality with a hydraulic press, servo-electric press, or hydroforming machine.

Find out how a manufacturer of airplane components consolidated their biggest production bottleneck from a 6 step annealing process to just a push of a button with a TRIFORM deep draw machine.