Series Production of Thixoformed Steel Parts
In recent years several attempts were made to transfer the thixoforming technology of steel parts into industrial applicable processes. This paper gives an overview about the progress of a European consortium that established a fully automated thixoforming process for the series production of automotive steel parts. Due to the multi-faceted nature of this technology, problems concerning the development of suitable steel grades and tool materials as well as the development and application of an inductive heating system, a handling unit and of a complex forming tool had to be solved. Besides the development of adapted steel grades and the inductive heating, the handling of the semi solid billets plays a special role because during the manipulation of the parts from the heating station into the tool a loss of heat is unavoidable. Furthermore, scaling of the parts must be prevented. By means of a fully automated process line existing constraints were reduced and the forming process is kept reproducible. Improved silicon nitride composites have been developed as a tool material, which show good mechanical properties in combination with an acceptable chemical stability at the occurring process temperatures as well as in contact with semi solid steel. Basing on the practical experience a comparison of the thixoforming technology to existing processes and an outlook for the future are given.
C.G. Kang, S.K. Kim and S.Y. Lee
B. A. Behrens et al., "Series Production of Thixoformed Steel Parts", Solid State Phenomena, Vols. 116-117, pp. 686-689, 2006