Mödling - Austrian industrial furnace manufacturer AICHELIN, specialist for the thermo-chemical heat treatment of metal parts, has developed a new step-chain conveyor furnace. It enables the production of metal sheets for cars with higher quality material strength. This means that material costs and weight of car bodies can be reduced while maintaining or even increasing the material strength. “heatXpress” also saves energy and in Europe, Asia, and the US, it is already operating successfully.
This innovation underscores AICHELIN’s position as a reliable partner for the automobile industry in press hardening. “Press hardening sheets helps automobile suppliers to make their cars more efficient and safer at the same time. Our customers’ positive feedback shows us that we have really hit a nerve with heatXpress,” says Günter Rennhofer, AICHELIN’s heatXpress vice president.
All over the world, car manufacturers are striving to reduce their cars’ fuel consumption. After all, low consumption is a great selling point. And there is the obligation to comply with legally required emission limits, which also means that the weight of cars must be reduced. This, in turn, requires thinner car body sheets. To ensure the same levels of safety, however, the sheets’ material strength must be maintained.In addition to the aluminum-silicon coating of car body sheets, zinc coating is now is use, too. Zinc coating has better corrosion properties than aluminum-silicon coatings, as well as longer tool life. The heatXpress furnace offers great flexibility, which allows the customer to perform press hardening with aluminum-silicon as well as with zinc-coated sheets.
The heatXpress step-chain conveyor furnace has a new drive system allowing for the sheets to be transported through the furnace in a very precise manner. The components are thus heated to a temperature of 900 degrees in the shortest possible time, and then transferred to the corresponding press. Aside from direct and indirect hardening of sheets, pipes and profiles may also be heat-treated in the furnace. The sturdy transport system also allows for the furnace to shut down during longer production breaks, thus saving energy. After a break, the plant can promptly be reheated and ready for the next production batch.
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