Tube hydroforming (THF) is a metal-forming process that uses a pressurized fluid in place of a hard tool to plastically deform a given tube into a desired shape. In addition to the internal pressure, the tube material is fed axially toward the die cavity. One of the challenges in THF is the nonlinear and varying friction conditions at the tube-tool interface, which make it difficult to establish accurate loading paths (pressure versus feed) for THF. A THF process control model that can compensate for the loading path deviation due to frictional errors in tube hydroforming is proposed. In the proposed model, an algorithm and a software platform have been developed such that the sensed forming load from a THF machine is mapped to a database containing a set of loading paths that correspond to different friction conditions for a specific part. A real-time friction error compensation is then carried out by readjusting the loading path as the THF process progresses. This scheme reduces part failures that would normally occur due to variability in friction conditions. The implementation and experimental verification of the proposed model is discussed.

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