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“Steel manufacturers need to know our processes.”

“Steel manufacturers need to know our processes.”

Ilda Hujdur is a production engineer in hot forming at Volkswagen. She explains the most important aspects of the technology.

Why do you use hot forming in Kassel?

Hot forming provides both impact resistance and lightweight construction. To that end, we employ steel from the MBW® family produced by thyssenkrupp; it maintains its high strength when formed, allowing hot-formed components to be designed with thinner dimensions and consequently reducing the weight of the chassis.

What happens during the hot forming process?

First, the steel blanks are heated to temperatures of 880 to 950°C in a roller hearth furnace. They are subsequently formed in the press and simultaneously cooled while the tool is closed. This rapid cooling changes the steel’s microstructure, making it particularly strong.

Which components is hot forming best suited to?

Hot forming is best for highly-complex structural components in vehicles that are relevant to impact resistance, such as B-pillars. The high final strength of the material allows for the construction of pillars that are comparably thin and, consequently, very light, but still impact-resistant. What’s more, they are cost-effective in comparison to other materials. We can also create different strength zones in our B-pillars using specific tools, allowing them to meet various needs – different resistance to deformation in different spots.

In your view, what constitutes good primary materials?

To achieve the best results, steel manufacturers need to be intimately familiar with the customer’s hot forming process and know the specific requirements for any given component. VW strives for the optimum in terms of time and quality, so we determine – in advance – the precise properties that any steel to be used must have. We then search our existing portfolio for suitable materials and figure out how best to combine the different types of steel in the chassis.

Do you feel like you receive good advice and support from thyssenkrupp?

Oh yes, they provide an extremely high level of expertise, and here at our location, we really value their willingness to maintain a candid, trusting partnership.

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