Weight Reduction of Automotive Components by Optimized Heat Treatment Processes
In recent years, the weight reduction of automotive components has become increasingly important. While weight reduction has always been essential for the aerospace industry, numerous other branches are now working on component weight reduction – above all powertrain manufacturing.
The lecture cites various examples which will show that an optimization of the process technology or a change of the heat treatment routine could allow for a weight reduction of the parts while meeting all technological requirements. Besides the use of high pressure gas quenching after gas carburizing or low pressure carburizing (LPC), the optimization of parts geometry and loading is necessary to reduce distortion and weight.
In order to improve the component strength of screws, an austempering process instead of martensitic hardening was carried out. Thus, both dimensions and weight of the screws can be reduced without limiting the technical properties. Furthermore, screws made of aluminum alloys are increasingly often solution-annealed and aged in mesh belt furnaces. These aluminum screws can substitute steel screws and therefore contribute to further reducing the weight of cars.
High strength steel blanks, manufactured by hot stamping, are used in the automotive industry more and more often. The process of hot stamping of steel blanks, the required furnace technology and their applications will be discussed at the end of the lecture.