We are engaged in hydroforming and hot forming of high-strength materials (high-strength steels, titanium alloys and aluminum alloys) for lightweight constructions. For this purpose, we use our highly advanced machines and technologies to develop resource-efficient processes for the competitive production of tailored components. To optimize the processes, we work with modern simulation and characterization methods.
Our service portfolio includes fast and cost-effective preliminary investigations with laboratory equipment, process and material development and optimization on industrial scale, production of prototypes or small series and sampling trials. We provide a well equipped laboratory with modern analyses machines for the characterization of components, e.g. regarding structure, mechanical and thermal properties.
Hydroforming is an active medium (liquid) based process for forming thin-walled hollow profiles using internal pressure. It is characterized by high degree of freedom design, low tooling-insert costs and high accuracy of the components. Other advantages include the ability to form semi-finished products with different wall thicknesses and to form different materials and hybrid material composites.
We have a state-of-the-art hydraulic forming press with a press force of 25,000 kN for the development of tailored properties that can be transferred straight into industrial application. A flexible hydroforming tool with changeable inserts creates the conditions for a fast and cost-effective retrofitting to the specific requirements of our customers.
Press hardening is a forming process for sheets to produce structural components made of lightweight materials. In press hardening, a distinction is made between the direct and the indirect process. In the direct process, the sheets are heated to a high temperature and then formed in a press and finally hardened directly in the forming tool. With indirect press hardening, a pre-forming is performed as an additional step before heating. After the press hardening, the components obtain not only their geometry, but also very high strength.
With our fully automatic, self-constructed forming press on a laboratory scale (press force 130 kN) we offer the possibility for cost-effective and fast investigations for all process variants of forming (cold and hot forming) including tailored tempering. Furthermore, we develop new types of sheet metal coatings.
For direct press hardening we provide two types of heating process: On the one hand, the conventional furnace heating, which creates a uniform temperature distribution overall the sheet areas. An attractive alternative process the contact heating, where heat is introduced into the metal sheet by means of two heating plates pressed on both sides. This provides very fast and resource-efficient heating. Different temperature zones within the heating plates allow tailored tempering to produce high-quality components. Both heating concepts can be combined.
The forming press is also available for the small-series production of small dimension components. Verification and testing of the developed solutions can be carried out on our industrial scale 25,000 kN hydraulic press.
Contact heating for a furnace-free forming process is based on the principle of inductive heating. The metal sheet will not be inductively heated, otherwise the inserted contact plates on both sides of the heating model. In this way, heat is transferred into the metal sheet directly via the contact plates and not via radiation or convection as with conventional heating methods.
This type of heat transfer allows significantly higher heating rates of up to 200 °C/s compared to conventional methods. The direct contact with the metal sheet enables a flexible, controlled and multi-stage temperature control. After very short contact heating and subsequent cooling, the metal sheets achieve the same mechanical properties as metal sheets after a conventional furnace process. Further advantages of this heat treatment process is the low floor space requirement compared to the large furnaces and furthermore lower investment costs. It also opens the possibility of selectively adjusting local material properties for tailored tempered components.
We have long-term expertise in the field of furnace-free, energy-efficient heat treatment with flexible temperature control and modern analysis methods of the mechanical properties of the structural components.
- Development and forming of hollow profiles
- Innovative coatings and coating processes for hot sheet metal forming
- Efficient hot forming process based on contact heating
- Development of tailored tempering
- Prototypes, small series, sampling trails