What is hydroforming?
When the frame tube of an aluminum wheelchair is bent, the material is stretched, creating stress points on the frame tube. Hydroforming is a complex manufacturing process that's commonly used in the professional cycling industry. First introduced to wheelchairs with the QUICKIE/SOPUR Helium in 2010, It allows the shaping of metals such as T7 Aluminum into ultra-light, structurally stiff pieces. The process involves high-pressure hydraulic fluid being blasted down the frame tube whilst it's fully-enclosed in a die. This means the walls of the tube are not stretched to the same degree as a traditional frame tube, creating a more even-wall of thickness. The result is a significant reduction in weak points, so the wheelchair frame is stronger, lighter and stiffer than other wheelchairs.
Frame material also plays an equally important role. T7 Aluminum is aircraft-grade aluminum. It's super-strong and lightweight - making it ideal for hydroforming thinner frame walls. T7 Aluminum also eliminates the potential of stretch and flex that's found in other materials like traditional Aluminum or Titanium.
Complementing the hydroforming process and high-quality T7 Aluminum, the frame tubing is also ovalized in size (as opposed). Ovalized tubing is stronger and less likely to flex than a round-shaped frame tube on a conventional wheelchair. Take a look; the parts in red are the highest points of stress on a traditional round-tube frame.