AP&T part of cooperation project regarding sensors used during hot forming of high-strength aluminum
The car, aviation and space industries increasingly require stronger and lighter components which can contribute to more energy-efficient utilization and a higher degree of safety. To meet these requirements, a larger percentage of components currently manufactured from steel need to be produced from lightweight materials such as aluminum.
AP&T is the first company in the world to develop a new type of flexible production line that enables complex-shaped parts to be formed from several different types of high-strength aluminum.
“Process monitoring plays a decisive role in terms of ensuring a consistently high level of product quality 24/7. Accurate process control is a prerequisite for achieving the desired formability and strength, and an optimized process also contributes to higher productivity. Monitoring also allows the customer to document the product’s quality. Process monitoring for hot forming of aluminum, however, requires different sensor systems than those used for steel,” says Otto Kragt from AP&T’s R&D department.
In a recently conducted Swedish cooperation project, AP&T, a company called Termisk Systemteknik from Linköping and University West in Trollhättan examined whether data collected with different types of image sensors can satisfy specific needs. The project has promoted better understanding of sensor systems for measuring the temperature of aluminum under the conditions found at real production facilities where high-strength aluminum is hot formed. The results formed the basis for the design and development project on the production line.
During the project, Termisk Systemteknik developed a calculation model for predicting the impact of various factors on measurement accuracy. University West examined how emissivity in aluminum changes at different temperatures and with different coatings. Termisk Systemteknik, University West and AP&T have jointly examined how different measurement systems work and under which circumstances they are useful in terms of determining, with sufficient accuracy, the temperature of aluminum plates with varying emissivity.