Automaker Audi AG opened a new heat-treatment system at its Materials Technical Center ("Werkstofftechnikum") at Neckarsulm, Germany, where it plans to develop lightweight materials and cost-efficient treatment processes for lightweight structural parts. It was co-developed with Audi, and to Audi’s specifications, by Tenova LOI Thermprocess.
“The Tenova LOI heat-treatment plant represents an important section in the Audi-Technikum since it is responsible for ensuring the crucial mechanical properties (stability, ductility) of the products,” according to Tenova CEO Erik Micek. “We are particularly proud of cooperating with Audi to develop highly flexible process designs that allow Audi to carry out investigations in multiple directions.”
The modular heat-treatment system consists of a furnace for solution annealing and aging treatment, a fluidized bed furnace; and a quenching device that can be operated with air or water.
“The material development represents the basis for the successful light-weight chassis construction in the Audi works in Neckarsulm. The innovative materials increase the efficiency of our models and are thus an essential components towards electromobility,” explained Neckarsulm plant manager Helmut Stettner.
According to Tenova, it has been developing tempering systems for structural castings with Audi for several years. The new quenching operation introduces new capabilities with its range of cooling gradients. For Audi, it will support development of new manufacturing process and alloys for future series production.