The ALVA2 project - working together to increase robustness and predictability of hot forming aluminum
Industrial research and development is driven by regional market needs in 3 to 5 years. Although long-term industrial success is often built on a detailed understanding of the application, the industry itself is often limited in its research capacity and analytical instrumentation. Universities and research laboratories, on the other hand, can provide in-depth characterization methods and highly educated and skilled engineers. This gives them a huge potential to support industry needs, for instance in the ALVA2 project consortium on hot forming of aluminum.
Aluminum – a critical yet challenging material
Hot forming of aluminum is receiving increased attention in the automotive industry – in particular due to the need of modern vehicles for lightweight design, improved fuel economy, and robustness. The low density of aluminum and its ability to be formed into complex geometries make it a very attractive material. However, there are key aspects to hot forming of aluminum which are not adequately understood, such as the frictional and wear behavior during interaction of the tool and the aluminum workpiece at high temperatures. Understanding this is important to optimize hot forming processes for product shape and quality, equipment maintenance and process economy
Tetrabond deposited on trimming dies for sheet aluminum forming
Joint tribological research project into hot forming of aluminum
For this reason, IHI Ionbond and our partners from industry have joined forces with Luleå Technical University to establish ALVA2, a project consortium with competences covering all tribological aspects in hot forming aluminum, including tool steel, lubrication and surface coatings. Between August 2019 and July 2022, the consortium successfully raised the level of understanding about tribological phenomena in hot forming aluminum. Part of their success was in developing and implementing advanced friction modelling into forming simulations.
New testing approaches and new insights
During the project, a newly designed strip-pull test was used to investigate frictional and wear behavior under adjustable and repeatable conditions close to the application. The project team gained substantial insights into the interaction of tribological stresses, coating solution, tool, workpiece material and lubricant, which will help the involved industry partners to develop the next generation of coating solutions for hot forming aluminum.
The results of the strip-pull tests show that the right coating material, with a high adhesion resistance against the workpiece, and the suitable surface quality of the coated tool ensures minimal friction over the entire range of relative velocity of the test – from breaking away when starting up to reaching the constant maximum relative velocity between tooling and workpiece material.
We are looking forward to the final project report.
Check the website from RISE – Research Institutes of Sweden – for more information or download the factsheets for our premium coatings:
Would you like to learn more about the key findings from the project? Or discuss your hot forming application and how Ionbond can help you to increase your production process and product quality?
Don't hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Ing. Tobias Brögelmann, Ionbond’s Global Segment Manager Forming and Molding Tools via our contact form below.
Ionbond™ 42 coated forming tool
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