Development of a multi-layer chamber furnace for the press hardening of sheet metal blanks for the automotive industry with the aim of improving economic efficiency
Lighter vehicles with improved safety at the same time are requirements with regard to lower fuel consumption. A further requirement is to increase safety in the vehicle, in particular “crash behaviour” during an accident. These requirements can be implemented in the automotive industry by using new materials and manufacturing processes, among other things. Boron-manganese steels, which are processed into safety-relevant structural parts of the vehicle body, such as side impact beams, A or B pillars, door frame reinforcements and sills, by means of hot stamping, are currently of increasing importance.
The aim of the research project is to improve the economic efficiency of press hardening furnaces. This goal is achieved by the first development and introduction of an innovative furnace concept in this field of application. The desired concept is based on novel multi-layer chamber furnaces, the use of which should lead to a significant increase in flexibility, for example by reducing the space required, as well as to improved productivity while at the same time saving costs, resources and energy. This is made possible by the use of gas-heated radiant heating tubes with a small diameter instead of electrical heating and by the equalization of the heating process by means of the furnace’s own movement, which accommodates the (de-)charging of the furnace.
Within the scope of the research project, a reduction of the required space requirement was achieved by using gas-heated radiant heating pipes with a small diameter and a large length. In addition, the targeted resource and energy savings could be achieved by using natural gas-heated radiant heating pipes instead of electrically heated ones and by using the exhaust gas heat for preheating.
The research project with the funding code KF2820603AG3 was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag.