Using innovative phs-directform® developed by voestalpine, press-hardened steel parts in hot-dip galvanized steel strip can be manufactured using a direct process. As a result, highly corrosion-resistant, lightweight components for the automotive industry can be formed and hardened in a single process step.
Over the past years voestalpine has made a name for itself with the production of press-hardened steel parts in hot-dip galvanized steel strip (phs-ultraform®). The phs-ultraform® product offers the advantages of lightweight construction, corrosion protection and greater safety in automotive applications. Globally, most press-hardened components are produced using the direct hot forming process. Thanks to its new innovation, phs-directform®, voestalpine is also able to produce ultra-high strength parts with cathodic corrosion protection using this direct process. At its site in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, in close proximity to many automotive customers, voestalpine opened the world’s first phs-directform® facility in July, 2017.
Differences between the indirect and direct process
voestalpine is the only manufacturer in the world capable of producing galvanized parts using both the indirect or direct process:
- In the indirect process phs-ultraform® blanks are formed using the conventional cold-forming process and then cut. The cold-formed parts are then heated before being hardened and the component geometry fixed.
- In the new, direct process the blanks are hot-formed before being given their final geometry and hardened using a cooled tool, all in a single process step. The key unit here is the pre-cooler which cools the blanks to around 550 °C before press-hardening.
Advantages of phs-directform®
The press-hardened steel parts in hot-dip galvanized steel strip are ultra-high strength, lightweight construction body-in-white parts with the following characteristics:
- Highest level of cathodic corrosion protection
- Easy to assemble
- Ultra-high tensile strength: strengths of up to 2,000 MPa
- Safety: outstanding crash performance (ductility)
- Economy: 25% reduction in weight and consequently lower fuel consumption
Automotive customers profit from all these advantages by using phs-directform®. The direct process also offers the additional advantages of:
- A single forming tool
- Optimal use of material resources
- Fewer process steps
- Less tool maintenance, and
- Simple furnace technology
Applications for the direct process
The direct process is ideal for small runs and relatively simply parts geometry. Using phs-directform®, small numbers of simple parts can be produced economically. The process can be applied in existing hot-forming facilities.
A single source for material and forming competence
voestalpine can now draw on 10 years’ experience in galvanized press-hardened steels. Customers benefit from access to a single source, for everything from steel strip production through to the finished press-hardened part:
- Materials competence in the Steel Division
- Forming competence in the Metal Forming Division including production of parts by specialized Division companies
For more information on phs-directform®