Current research projects in production technology focus on the increase of resource-efficiency and follow the approach of a fundamental sustainability of products and processes. Resource efficiency refers to the entire lifecycle of the product, used energy and other resources through to reintroduction into the recycling cycle. In the area of aluminium forming, there is a great improvement potential to achieve higher resource efficiency. Components with graded properties through targeted heat treatment which enable an excellent lightweight construction potential may serve as an example. In the electric mobility sector in particular, sustainable lightweight construction is required, as there are limited energy storage capacities.
Objective and approach
Since there is a link between the production processes and the final material or product properties, new approaches in the production strategy are required. The LOEWE* focal point – ALLEGRO (High-performance components made of aluminium alloys through resource-optimized process technologies) is dedicated to this. Within this project, it is to be demonstrated that aluminum as a lightweight material offers considerable potential and, on the other hand, the entire process chain from the original raw material to the final properties of the component is improved. The focus here is on the development of components with locally adapted properties for optimal functional performance. In contrast to the current production where time-consuming and expensive subsequent heat treatments are necessary, a process-integrated realization of the target properties is to be achieved through novel process chains.
Institutions and companies involved
Participants in the overall ALLEGRO project are the Institute of Materials Science and the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability in Darmstadt, in addition three institutes of the University of Kassel. These include the Institute of Materials Science / Metallic Materials, the Institute of Forming Technology and the Institute of Separating and Joining Manufacturing Processes.
ALLEGRO also integrates the “KMU-collaborative project” WarmAp (hot forming of aluminum sheets for high-performance components of future mobility concepts). In this case, the aluminum sheets should be hot formed compared to conventional, cold forming processes. Thus increased shaping possibilities and alloy/process-dependent optimization of the strength properties can be achieved. The objectives of WarmAp are the implementation and testing of the technological advances made in ALLEGRO in an industry-related environment and the development of new product groups with a significant increase in the complexity of the components. The partners for process implementation and method planning are Werner Schmid GmbH and Hörmann Automotive Gustavsburg GmbH. Filzek TRIBOtech GmbH as an expert in tribological issues completes the co-operating partners list.
The area of responsibility of Hörmann includes the development of a heating concept to achieve a flexible arrangement of the zones of local heating. At the same time, Filzek TRIBOtech is responsible for investigating friction and abrasion phenomena. For this purpose, the existing strip-forming test facility is to be converted for hot-forming conditions to enable long-term tests under the influence of realistic tribological loads.
* LOEWE – “National Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence”
The Institute for Production Engineering and Forming Machines would like to thank LOEWE, the Hessen Agency and the partners involved for their support in the implementation of this project.
- Hessen Agency
- Institute of Material Science TU Darmstadt
- Fraunhofer LBF
- Institute of Forming Technology University Kassel
- Institute of Separating and Joining Manufacturing Processes University Kassel
- Institute of Materials Science / Metallic Materials University Kassel
- Filzek TRIBOtech GmbH
- Werner Schmid GmbH
- Hörmann Automotive Gustavsburg