Process Combines Stamping, Heat Treating in Single Operation
Hot Form Quench (HFQ) Technology, a manufacturing process that combines stamping and heat treating in a single operation to produce complex aluminum parts up to 20% lighter than corresponding cold-formed components, has arrived in the U.S. after five years of successful applications in European car models. HFQ Technology heat treats 6000- or 7000-series range aluminum blanks and transfers them to a stamping press, where they are formed at high speed and quenched in the tool.
HFQ Technology will be introduced by Impression Technologies Ltd. (ITL), the U.K. firm that developed the patented process, at the GALM Global Automotive Lightweight Vehicles Manufacturing Conference in Detroit Feb. 21-22. HFQ simulation software enables design engineers to craft one-piece pressings with elegant shapes that are lighter and stronger, with reduced spring-back for environments in which they will function. ITL also provides design services and produces prototypes and limited product runs for customers.
According to ITL, European OEMs are replacing steel and cold-formed body pillar supports, door reinforcement panels and other structural and multipiece assemblies with HFQ Technology components. The company also said it is developing a global network of Tier 1 suppliers to provide OEMs with HFQ pressings.