The production version of the Chevrolet SSR uses a frame with fully hydroformed steel side rails. The hydroformed frame features great strength and stiffness, relatively low weight and precise quality.
Ted Robertson, chief engineer for the Chevrolet SSR said: “A traditional stamped frame with this amount of strength and rigidity would weigh roughly 20% more than this one. That strength allows the frame to take on the road inputs, which lets the suspension do its job precisely.”
Hydroforming is a process of shaping steel tubes through the application of water at extremely high pressure. It replaces traditional stamping processes, preserving more of the steel’s strength and stiffness as it goes through the forming process. Hydroforming is done at low temperatures to retain the material’s strength throughout the forming process, unlike high temperature processes which decrease material strength.
Hydroforming is also efficient and environmentally friendly, dramatically reducing overall material usage and scrap.