Stamping manufacturers using hot stamping technology to reduce vehicle weight, fuel consumption, and environmental impact fall into two categories, said Schuler Group Sales Manager Hot Forming Jens Aspacher. “First, there are the newcomers that are forced to step into this technology by their OEM customers. Second, there are manufacturers already hot stamping that face a huge price pressure on the parts and therefore need ways to increase productivity and reduce their own manufacturing costs.”
Aspacher proposes that, although its capital costs remain high compared to conventional stamping, hot stamping is an economical resolution to those pressures, even if it requires longer cycle times and specialized equipment, because it enables stampers to form light, strong, complex, and dimensionally stable parts in one step.
“To ease further adoption of hot stamping, we [OEMs] have to cut cycle times and reduce energy consumption even more,” Aspacher said.
Fagor Arrasate Managing Director of Press Hardening Systems Aitor Ormaetxea also thinks cost pressures are steering the technology’s direction, and believes that press OEMs must lower its costs. “Present challenges for the manufacturing industry are reducing hot stamping’s costs, because it still is considered an expensive process,” he said. Another is ensuring part quality stability, he added.
AP&T is collaborating with a multi-organization group whose aim is to develop low-cost forming of lightweight structures for transportation industries, according to AP&T’s Director of Technology Development Dr. Christian Koroschetz.
Hot Stamping Innovations, Changes
Press OEMs have expanded the technology to help meet stampers’ challenges:
Hot stamping used to form materials other than boron steel, such as aluminum and magnesium
Improvements to provide better control over the hardening process, higher output, and greater efficiency
Option of using either a servo-mechanical press that has been modified for hot forming or a hydraulic press
Secondary processing performed in-die
Read more: What’s sizzling in hot stamping?