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The Coming Wave in Product Design: Hydroforming (infographic)

Over the last couple of years we’ve noticed hydroforming, a manufacturing technique once limited to the automotive and airline industries, materializing in the consumer marketplace in a variety of categories including rock-climbing gear and designer furniture.

If it’s not obvious, the word itself means “to form” a material — in this case mainly metal — with water (hydro) pressure. Anyone who has swam in the ocean has experienced the powerful properties of water. In manufacturing, as from the beach, the result is pretty beautiful. Hydroforming allows you to create elegant, seamless, and most importantly, complicated, lightweight, and strong forms out of metal in one step.

It really caught our eye because of its use in cycling. The aerodynamic and structural qualities of hydroformed bike frames have revolutionized that industry. Right now hydroforming’s high cost is limiting, but we’re excited about the potential as the technique becomes more accessible and more of a product design trend.