Japan’s Futaba Industrial Co. Ltd has developed a low-cost, lightweight lateral body frame for automobiles.
Exhibited at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019, the lateral frame uses only ultra-high-tensile steel plates.
And since it is formed by cold pressing, the frame helps save costs too, reports Nikkei xTech.
Current light-weight body frames are made by combining ultra-high-tensile materials and hot-stamped materials.
According to the Nikkei, hot-stamped materials help realize high strength and durability. In addition, they can be relatively easily formed into even complicated shapes.
They however have one major drawback: they are prohibitively costly to make.
The electricity cost for heating materials becomes high, and the manufacturing cost becomes three times higher than that of cold pressing, notes Futaba.
To solve this issue, Futaba is developing a body frame made only of ultra-high-tensile materials, eliminating the use of hot-stamped materials.
The new body frame is shaped by cold pressing and comes with a tensile strength of 1,470MPa.
Futaba’s high-tensile materials can be made with five or six processes including forming, boring and cutting.
It can be processed using only metal molds and pressing machines, and this in turn lowers manufacturing costs.
After press-forming each part, they are integrated by spot welding and assembled into the body frame. As in the case of the current body frame, it is not necessary to use special welding methods.
The manufacturing cost of the next-generation body frame is expected to be 10-20% lower than that of the current body frame, notes Nikkei xTech.
As for mass, it can be reduced by about 13%, compared with the current body frame.
The new body frame is scheduled to be commercialized in 2022-2023, and Futaba hopes it will be employed in Toyota’s vehicles.
Image and content: Nikkei xTech