Press Release: World's first large-scale production line for aluminum hotforming

Achern, 12. September 2022 - The fischer group, a leading global manufacturer of stainless steel tubes and components, expands its product portfolio with innovative aluminum hotforming technology (HFQ) for the production of complex and high strength aluminum components
The fischer group is always exploring new processes in metal processing. In the end, the combined forming and quenching process of aluminum sheets appeared to be of particular interest. Together with its partner, fischer has now successfully industrialized this innovative process for the production of complex and lightweight aluminum components.

Hotforming opens up new opportunities
High strength 6000- and 7000-series aluminum alloys offer the opportunity for further weight reduction in the automotive industry or other users of aluminum sheets. Until now, the production of, for example, chassis components from these materials using conventional processes has only been possible to a limited extent. With the industrial roll out of aluminum hot forming (HFQ), the fischer group now opens up new possibilities in the design and construction of complex and yet high strength lightweight aluminum components.
The process is divided into three main process steps: The so called solution annealing of the shaped blank at approx. 450°C to 550°C, rapid forming and simultaneous quenching of the component in the forming tool, followed by the artificial aging at approx. 180°C to 200°C to achieve the final mechanical properties. For this purpose, has invested in a state-of-the-art production facility at its home base in Achern, Germany, and is thereby a one stop provider for all relevant process steps from aluminum coil to the finished component.

Potential for complex geometries
Aluminum hotforming (HFQ) meets the demand for complex, highly integrated geometries with large drawing depths, steep frames, and tight radii in a single forming operation. At the same time, the highest strengths are achieved. Thus, for alloys of the 6000 series, strengths Rm>390 MPa, and for 7000 alloys even Rm>560MPa are feasible.
The new production line was successfully launched with its first series project in January 2022. fischer manufactures a total of 10 structural components for a new premium EV sedan. A central component in this respect is, for instance, the outer door ring, which integrates the A-pillar, the B-pillar, and the sill achieves a total weight of less than 9kg. This also includes additional reinforcement of the B-pillar and continuous reinforcement of the side sill as an additional measure for outstanding results in side impacts. The technology provides the vehicle manufacturer with a unique combination of compact package, occupant protection, lightweight construction and, last but not least, efficient production.

Individual tracking of components
To achieve high and reproducible process quality, fischer has also introduced a unique system for the monitoring of parts. Each components is allocated an individual serial number and can be tracked along the complete process chain with a so called“Track&Trace” system. All information relevant to each individual component, such as holding times or even process temperatures, is continuously monitored and documented. This ensures that the required mechanical properties are guaranteed for each component, resulting in the highest level of manufacturing quality.

About fischer group Boilerplate:

The fischer group is a medium sized family business with a global presence. The founder of the company, Hans Fischer, developed machines in his garage for the economical production of longitudinally welded stainless steel tubes and thereby laid the foundation for what is now a 50-year success story. The production of stainless steel tubes as well as their further processing is still the core of the company group. Customers from the automotive industry, sanitary technology and heating engineering, or the household appliance industry are offered a complete range of services from bending, flaring, and end machining to hydroforming.
In 2020, the decision was made to enter the new business area of aluminum hotforming and a new state-of-the-art production facility was built for this purpose at the home base in the Baden town of Achern. The fischer group is represented in eight countries around the world with a total of ten manufacturing sites and generated global sales of approximately 750 million euros in 2021 with over 2800 employees.
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