Group Rhodes (incorporating John Shaw and Chester Hydraulics) has continually been at the forefront of designing and manufacturing SPF/DB presses since the mid 1970’s. Today, Group Rhodes is the only UK Company, and one of only a few operations in the world capable of developing commercially available automatic SPF/DB presses.  International sales success demonstrates that the company continues to be at the forefront of the design and manufacture of this innovative technology. 

Superplastic Forming (SPF) offers engineers a method of accurately forming, single or multiple sheets of titanium into extremely complex, accurate, deep drawn shapes. The process involves heating the component sheet to a specific, accurately controlled temperature. The sheet, or multiple sheets are then formed into a mould cavity or over a male former by the application of controlled gas pressure.

The process greatly reduces the formation of rippling, tearing and thickening of components, which usually occurs when they are cold formed.

Diffusion Bonding (DB) is a joining process achieved by the application of load at elevated temperatures. The resultant molecular bond offers a fully homogeneous joint, which, in many cases, is undetectable under microscopic examination.

The Benefits

The SPF/DB process offers freedom to produce more complex, stiffer, stronger and lighter structures in one piece thus giving improved component integrity. By producing more cost effective manufacture and lighter components typical savings of 30% in cost and 20% in weight are achievable. 

Typical Products Produced

Engine fan blades, outer guide vanes, exhaust structures, canard wings, fuselage panels, wing leading edges.