Hot form quench sets aluminium lightweighting standard

Jun 7, 2019   Technology

Impression Technologies, a specialist in aluminium lightweighting, has released a new white paper introducing the benefits of its ground-breaking new technology: hot form quench (HFQ).

The innovative hot forming process was developed to offer a step change in aluminium forming across multiple industries, including automotive and aerospace.

The drive to reduce emissions and improve efficiency through lightweighting constantly requires manufacturers to find new solutions. The white paper, titled ‘Hot Form Quench (HFQ) Technology: The new international standard for cost-effective automotive lightweighting using aluminium’, outlines how manufacturers can easily and cost-effectively replace steel or low-gauge aluminium components using HFQ. The process cycle time for HFQ is at least as rapid as alternatives such as boron steel processing, enabling the low-cost, high-volume manufacturing demanded in automotive applications.

The white paper describes the benefits and process of HFQ in detail. It also includes examples and case studies that illustrate how the technology can be applied and what can be achieved: a measurably stronger final component, alongside major savings in weight and cost when compared with other common alternative processes.

“The automotive industry is on a constant mission to improve structural strength, integrity, consistency, durability and safety, all while reducing weight and cost,” explained Jonathan Watkins, CEO of Impression Technologies. “This is a very challenging set of goals that requires constant evolution and quick uptake of new technologies and processes.

“HFQ is a unique, patented process that enables low-cost production of high-strength aluminium parts. The benefits of aluminium in automotive applications are widely known, but there have been concerns around cost, strength and production rate. HFQ addresses these with a high cycle rate and the ability to form deep-drawn and complex shapes from high and ultra-high strength aluminium. It is an ideal process for reducing mass and improving efficiency across all automotive applications, from body in white (BIW) and chassis to EV battery enclosures.

“The technology also allows for integration of aluminium parts, with fewer operations required to achieve equivalent designs. It removes the requirement for reinforcement panels and improved dimension control eliminates the need for springback compensation in tool and part design, easing downstream part assembly operations. HFQ conveniently combines heat treatment and pressing, combining solution heat treatment, forming, in-die quenching and age hardening. It is easy to adopt as it can use existing press and tooling technologies and combines with a single draw operation, HFQ enables a reduced investment entry point."

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