GKN Driveline Bruneck AG in Italy is modernizing its hardening shop with two low-pressure carburizing (LPC) plants from ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH. GKN will utilize the equipment to develop and produce E-powertrains. ALD delivered a ModulTherm plant consisting of a mobile quenching module and five treatment chambers, as well as fully integrated peripheral tempering and preheating furnaces. The plant can be expanded up to 10 treatment chambers depending on demand. ALD also delivered a SyncroTherm plant that will be used for parts that are especially susceptible to distortion. According to GKN, the process combination of LPC and subsequent high-pressure gas quenching (HPGQ) allows the company to optimally adjust the parts’ properties.

The GKN group has been concentrating the development and European production of E-powertrains at its Bruneck site in South Tyrol, Italy, over the last three years. Dating back to the 1960s, the hardening shop consisted of several conventional pusher-furnace systems. It has now been modernized with ALD vacuum furnaces.

In comparison with conventional combustion engine transmissions, the transmissions installed in modern electric cars are exposed to significantly higher speeds and torques. Therefore, the mechanical and metallurgical properties, as well as the dimensional accuracy of the highly stressed parts, have to meet particularly high requirements. GKN intends to meet this challenge with the ModulTherm and SyncroTherm plants, which were both started up in the second half of 2020.