Impression Technologies Limited (‘ITL’) and Fagor Arrasate (‘Fagor’) are combining their expertise to offer a complete high volume technology and 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 characterisation, 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 has been used by premium marques such as Aston Martin and Lotus since 2016, and is being designed into several new global electric vehicle platforms, including upper body structures, closures and electric system enclosures. Interest in the application of HFQ for vehicle light-weighting, particularly in electric vehicles, is growing rapidly, creating demand for new high volume aluminium hot forming (HFQ) press lines in the main automotive production regions of Europe, China and North America.
The non-exclusive partnership offers tiers and OEMs a unique combination of materials, design, process optimisation and manufacturing line capability for the high volume production of ultra-high strength 6x and 7x series aluminium HFQ components. ITL will lead all activities relating to HFQ component design, simulation (including alloy selection and characterisation, if necessary) and process specification; and 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. 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 the tier 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. FAGOR – ITL partnership is addressed to all those companies that are willing to make a real step forward in the stamping light-weighting technology. This new agreement, which we announce with excitement, presents a game-changer collaboration in the field, a preferent technological partner for the industry to hit the requirements of the light-weight stamping.”
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Notes to editors on Impression Technologies Limited (ITL) and HFQ Technology
ITL is a rapidly growing light-weighting solutions company specialising in ultra-high strength aluminium sheet structures simulated and formed using its HFQ hot forming technology. This unique technology offering is supplied to OEMs via an accredited network of licensed tiers, who are in turn supported by providers of accredited equipment, joining solutions, tooling, design software and alloy supply partners. OEMs, in some cases may install their own HFQ lines.
HFQ Technology is a proven solution for 6000, 7000 and 2000 series alloys for the automotive, aerospace and consumer markets where lighter, stronger and cheaper components are required, whilst maintaining high dimensional and residual ductility performance. The HFQ® technology press forms hot aluminium blanks at high speed, which are quenched in the press tool, followed by artificial ageing to achieve full strength. Applications include A & B pillars, closure inners, battery enclosures, seat back/pans and aerospace lip skins. ITL has strong capabilities in simultaneous engineering and simulation of body structures, able to model formability with very high precision and set optimised manufacturing configurations for any applicable alloy. Highly recycled alloys are also being developed for the HFQ process.
Structures using HFQ have been in serial production vehicles since 2016. Whilst still a relatively young company, ITL has established high volume HFQ manufacture lines serving automotive OEMs, including fischer group in Germany and Jet Wagon in China. The manufacturing tier network is poised to expand in all regions, including North America to meet the growing adoption of HFQ by OEMs, particularly for electric vehicles.
Notes to editors on Fagor Arrasate
Fagor Arrasate is a world leader in the design and manufacture of tailor-made solutions for material forming to produce complex parts in steel, aluminium, composites or thermoplastics.
Fagor Arrasate operates globally and has references at most major automotive OEMs and tier suppliers, processors of coils and blanks in steel and aluminum, forged parts or electric rolled steel producers, as well as manufacturers of home appliances and metallic furniture.
With six plants worldwide, the company distributes its products to more than seventy different countries with installations at most major automotive OEMs, Tier suppliers, processors of coils and blanks in steel or aluminum, forged parts or electric rolled steel producers, as well as manufacturers of home appliances and metallic furniture.