Following successful tests with high-strength alloys, Schuler is developing hot forming of aluminum sheet for serial production.
As an alternative lightweight material, aluminum becomes increasingly attractive to the automotive industry due to its high strength at low specific weight. High-strength aluminum alloys offer great weight-saving potential for car bodies. The newly developed technology of hot forming of aluminum sheet enables the forming of complex part shapes.
High-strength aluminum alloys present special challenges for the forming process with regard to formability. By cold forming, only geometrically simple parts can be produced from these alloys. A wide variety of aluminum alloys are already processed using Schuler equipment. As a systems supplier, Schuler also provides the necessary dies and process expertise.
With the aid of specially designed forming dies, Schuler has now succeeded in demonstrating the potential of hot forming technology by producing a range of reference parts. The combination of temperature control and forming technology to achieve the desired part characteristics is of crucial importance here.
Schuler has been supplying complete systems for the serial production of hot stamped car body parts made of steel (press hardening) since the beginning of the 1990s. The company is now adapting the technology to meet the special requirements of high-strength aluminum alloys.
“There is already strong interest in the industry for this new technology,” says Johannes Linden, Head of the division Systems at Schuler. “After establishing our expertise in the hot forming of aluminum, it is now our declared aim to also become a systems supplier in this field and deliver everything – from press to automation, die and process know-how – from a single source.”