One of the disadvantages of today's high-strength steel body panels is that they can't be drawn as deeply in a metal press as the more pliable, thicker panels of yore without cracking leading to less flexibility for stylists. However, by using hydroforming, which stresses the metal less than a traditional stamping process, panels can be drawn up to 40% deeper than with traditional methods. The downside? Hydroforming a panel takes up to a minute, as opposed to a few seconds on to a conventional stamping press. Still, for low-volume vehicles like the Pontiac Solstice, this doesn't present much of a problem. The Detroit News has the lowdown on the process, which uses one stamping die and 3,000 psi to work its magic. Autographed copy of Lock Up The Wolves not included.
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