AP&T first in the world to produce a production line for hot forming of aluminium with HFQ®
AP&T has delivered the world's first production line for hot forming of aluminium with a new method – HFQ®. The technology enables parts to be manufactured that have low weight, high strength, complex shapes and high dimensional stability in one single step. CIPCO, a 100% subsidiary of Impression Technologies Ltd (ITL), is the purchaser.
The new method, the Solution Heat treatment, Forming and in-die Quenching process (HFQ®), was developed at the Universities of Imperial College London (ICL) and Birmingham (UK) and is now being industrialised in LoCoLite, an EU FP7 project.
AP&T collaborates in the project together with several stakeholders (including ITL and PAB) from European industry and academia (including ICL and Birmingham University) to produce solutions that can help car manufacturers reduce vehicle weight, energy consumption and impact on the environment. The first prototypes produced using the new method have been demonstrated in the LoCoLite project, and in the beginning of 2016, it will be time to install the first production line.
"The new process allows high strength aluminium alloys to be formed into complex geometries through the increased formability, with sharper bend radii and almost total elimination of spring-back. These are significant advantages compared to traditional stamping processes. These qualities are of major interest for the automotive industry, and they give the technology a large potential market," says Dr. Christian Koroschetz, Director Technology Development at AP&T.
The new production line will be used by CIPCO to manufacture lightweight parts for several British car manufacturers, as well as for continued development work of the HFQ® process. Installation and testing will take place in the first quarter of 2016. Production is expected to be underway during the second quarter of 2016.
"In just a short amount of time, we have taken a new and promising technology from concept to functioning production solution. Cooperation with ITL on HFQ® began in 2012. LoCoLite was launched the year after, and we have now delivered the first order. This is a major and important step," says Peter Karlsson at AP&T, responsible for the company's contacts with LoCoLite.
George Adam, CEO of ITL said “We are pleased to be working with AP&T and taking delivery of this world leading equipment for our HFQ® facility in the UK.”
- CIPCO is the result of a collaboration between PAB Coventry and Impression Technologies Ltd and is backed by the UK government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.
- The production line for HFQ® includes, amongst other things, a 6000 kN high-speed, hot forming press, AP&T's Multilayer Feeder Furnace, SpeedFeeders and a process and thermal monitoring system.
- HFQ is a registered trademark of Impression Technologies Ltd.