Automotive partnership for Hot Form Quench (HFQ) solutions

Impression Technologies and Fagor Arrasate have entered into a partnership to offer production solution for hot formed aluminium structures.

Impression Technologies and Fagor Arrasate have entered into a partnership to offer production solution for hot formed aluminium structures.

ITL, based in Coventry in the UK, is the originator and global leader in hot forming of aluminium through its patented HFQ technology process, which is the culmination of 20 years of know-how development covering advanced alloy characterization, simulation models, tribology and process settings unique to each part and alloy. Fagor is a global supplier of tailor-made solutions for sheet metal stamping serving a wide range of market sectors, including automotive.

HFQ technology for lightweight construction

HFQ technology has been used by exclusive brands such as Aston Martin and Lotus since 2016, and is being used to manufacture various components for electric vehicles, including upper body structures, closures and electric system enclosures. The interest in the HFQ technology for lightweight construction, particularly in e-vehicles, is growing rapidly, creating demand for new high-volume aluminium hot forming (HFQ) press lines in Europe, China and North America.

The non-exclusive partnership offers automotive suppliers and OEMs a unique combination of materials, design, process optimisation and manufacturing line capability for the high volume production of ultra-high strength 6xxxx and 7xxxx aluminium HFQ components.  ITL will lead all activities with regard to HFQ component design, simulation (including alloy selection and characterisation, if necessary) and process specification. Fagor will take responsibility for the design and delivery of a competitive and HFQ accredited high volume production solution. Automotive tiers (or OEMs that wish to have their own HFQ capability) have the freedom to work with each company independently or request a single turn-key and accredited HFQ production solution led by Fagor, with access to HFQ technology and ongoing technical support from ITL.

A partnership for automotive lightweight design

Given the critical interdependency between design simulation and process parameters to achieve the required mechanical and dimensional specifications, the technical integration provided by ITL and Fagor will provide customers an optimised capability solution and reduced engineering burden.

Jonathan Watkins, CEO of Impression Technologies, commented: “I am delighted to announce this new partnership with Fagor Arrasate, one of the leading press line manufacturers, whose skills and capabilities complement those of ITL. We have had a record number of enquiries and our combined full service offering will facilitate the adoption of the HFQ technology and the creation of a robust global supply network.”

Unai Lopez, CEO of Fagor Arrasate, added: “Coping with new technological challenges is part of the DNA of Fagor. The Fagor ITL partnership is addressed to all those companies that are willing to make a real step forward in the stamping light-weighting technology.”