Ford has managed to automate boron steel forgingNovember 13, 2018
Borin steel is about five times stronger than normal steel that goes to stamping exterior body panels. Formerly, manual labor had to be used for the manufacture of boron steel parts, but Ford was able to fully automate the process.
Modern car bodies can combine dozens of different types of steel and alloys (including aluminum) and dozens of different manufacturing processes for manufacturing parts – from injection molding and extrusion to printing on a 3D printer. In the production of bodies of mass cars, however, stamping still dominates, but the introduction of high-strength steel grades into their design poses new challenges for technologists. As part of the modernization of its plant in the German city of Saarlouis, which spent 600 million euros, Ford was the first company in the world to fully automate the hot stamping of body parts made of boron steel. Billets heated to 930 degrees Celsius are placed in the form of a 1500-ton hydraulic press with robots, stamping and cooling take only 3 seconds, then excess metal is removed from the parts with lasers.
Boron steel is considered the strongest of those used in the automotive industry. It is mainly used to form a cabin safety cage, which should take a blow in an accident without deformation and protect the driver and passengers. At the new Ford Focus, boron steel made in particular the front and middle pillars and door amplifiers, and the photos show the process of making one of the crossbars. Ford claims that it was largely due to the fourth-generation Focus boron steel that received the highest Euro NCAP safety rating of 5 stars. Rating now, however, is now largely determined by active safety systems, but in the crash tests, the new Focus really showed itself well, except for testing the front seat to protect against whiplash injuries that the car failed – the borderline orange level of danger is the risk of fractures .