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Forming in the automotive industry

As a partner to the automotive sector, thyssenkrupp Steel offers a wide array of high-tech materials and cutting-edge technologies. They include innovative solutions for the hot and cold forming in particular of ultra-high-strength steels.
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Starting material

Different grades of steel are available in coil form at the start of the production sequence. The automobile industry uses these materials to produce chassis components in a multi-step process.

Blanking press

Blanking is the first step in the forming process at the customer’s plant. The steel material is still in the original condition in which it left the thyssenkrupp Steel mill.

Laser welding

With certain components, the supplier joins various steel grades with different properties to create blanks. These vary in thickness and may have different mechanical properties and coatings.

Cold forming by the smartform®process

smartform®technology, patented and licensed by thyssenkrupp Steel, makes it easier to use ultra-high-strength cold formed steels with strengths up to 1,200 MPa. This technology allows manufacturers to produce more quickly, with greater dimensional accuracy, and at lower cost – and it can be adapted for existing press lines.

Conventional cold forming

Deep-drawing the shaped blanks reduces the material’s thickness by five to ten percent. A high level of ironing and consequently the use of conventional blanks with a flange is necessary to compensate for springback of the component.

Heating process

The sheet metal blanks must first be heated to between 880 °C and 950 °C to allow forming and subsequent hardening of the material at the customer’s plant.

Tailored Tempering

The full strength range of a steel grade is exploited in this step. Different strengths can be achieved in one and the same component using different temperatures and cooling rates inside the die.

1,500 MPa after hot forming
650 MPa after hot forming
Conventional hot forming

The heated shaped blanks are formed in the customer’s die and then rapidly cooled. The sudden change in temperature produces a targeted transformation of the microstructure which causes the material to harden.

1,500 MPa after hot forming

In many cases, the component will need to be trimmed to the final geometry by the customer following forming. This can be done mechanically or by laser.

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