A new research and demonstration center for hot stamping has been opened by Schuler at its home base in Göppingen (Germany). At the so-called Hot Stamping TechCenter, the company will be showing its customers innovative applications for the future of lightweight vehicle construction. Schuler has invested some 6.5 million euros in the line, which is equipped with hydraulic press, roller hearth furnace, and automation. It was developed at the company’s Waghäusel site.
In the hot stamping (or press hardening) method, sheet steel is heated to 930 degrees Celsius, and cooled and thus hardened in the subsequent forming process. This enables the production of extremely light but highly rigid vehicle parts. Schuler is the global market leader for hot stamping equipment. Due to the growing requirements for passenger protection and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, demand is expected to grow in the coming years.
“Hot stamping is an important method for producing lightweight car bodies and plays an important role in Schuler’s product spectrum,” stated CEO Stefan Klebert. “Our new Hot Stamping TechCenter is proof of both our innovative strength in the field of fully automatic, networked production lines and of our firm commitment to Germany as a high-tech manufacturing location.”
Increased productivity and decreased energy consumption
The 1,600-metric-ton press at the Hot Stamping TechCenter already boasts Schuler’s PCHflex technology. “PCHflex allows a flexible and economical production of hot stamped parts with up to 40 percent higher output performance and consistently high quality, combined with maximum process reliability and availability,” explained Dr. Martin Habert, Managing Director of Schuler in Waghäusel.
The press line is also equipped with EHF technology (Efficient Hydraulic Forming), which drastically reduces energy consumption. Thanks to its condition monitoring system, the wear and tear of machine components can be precisely anticipated.
First line in Schuler’s new machine design
The press line is also the first to feature Schuler’s new machine design, which the company will gradually roll out across its entire product range. The new design aims to symbolize Schuler’s technological lead and ensures a high degree of recognition.
The Hot Stamping TechCenter will mainly be used for the ongoing development of machine technology and lightweight vehicle construction processes. However, Schuler also plans to use the center for customer presentations and training.
Apart from Göppingen, Schuler also has demonstration and reference centers at its German sites in Erfurt, Gemmingen, Göppingen and Hessdorf, as well as in the USA. In contrast to trade shows, TechCenters are open all year round and enable customers to receive individual support and run their own tests. In spring 2016, a further TechCenter will go into operation in the North Chinese coastal city of Tianjin. It will feature a 1,600-metric-ton press with TwinServo Technology (TST).