A British consortium has been awarded $12.8 million to develop complex, high-strength, lightweight aluminium car parts.
The RACEform (Rapid Aluminium Cost Effective Forming) project is led by Impression Technologies and backed by the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC), reports The Engineer.
Other partners include Brunel University’s Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), Imperial College London, Gestamp Washington UK, and Innoval Technology.
The million dollar grant will be utilized to scale up and validate Impression Technologies’ Hot Form Quench (HFQ) process for the high volume production of high strength aluminium sheet alloys, asserts Dr Roger Darlington, BCAST’s director of technology.
According to Darlington, the technology holds great potential in forming very complex pressed parts using high strength aluminium alloys that would otherwise be infeasible.
The technology could also eliminate a component from springing back during stamping, apart from opening new design opportunities for vehicle designers and architects, such as slimmer structural pillars.
The RACEform endeavor could further reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption, and increase recycling in the automotive and metal forging industries.
Recycled sources of sheet aluminium represent a 95 per cent CO2 saving over sheets from primary sources and the HFQ process offers a chance to unlock addition CO2 savings by recycling aluminium alloys from scrap sources such as End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs), reports The Engineer.
“We are delighted that APC has chosen to back our HFQ Technology,” said Impression Technologies CEO Jonathan Watkins. “We look forward to working together with the consortium members in collaboration with our OEM and aluminium partners to further develop the HFQ Technology for mass production and to establish the technology as a global industry standard.”
Image credits and content; The Engineer