The manufacturing of auto parts is reduced to a single step

Oct 21, 2013

Following years of research, the technology involving thixoforming, in other words, the shaping of metals in a semi-solid state, is beginning to yield results. CIC marGUNE, the Co-operative Research Centre for High-performance Manufacturing, is exploring the possibility of modifying the current process to manufacture parts for the automotive industry, thanks to thixoforming technology. This research is being conducted in collaboration with CIE-Legazpi and Mondragon University.

The current process to manufacture parts for the usually consists of three or four steps. CIC marGUNE, CIE-Legazpia and Mondragon University are exploring the possibility of modifying this process by basing it on thixoforming technology. "The aim is to produce the final part in a single step, which would bypass the whole process in between," pointed out Mikel Intxausti of the company CIE-Legazpi.

From the lab to industry

As yet there is no manufacturer that uses this process. That is why the engineer Jokin Lozares is working with a clear aim in mind in the laboratory of Mondragon University: to be able to transfer thixoforming from the laboratories to industry. On a laboratory scale they have already managed to reduce to a single step what in industry currently requires three or four.

"Thixoforming technology is not a new technology; it has been worked on for many years but until now it has not been possible to make sufficient progress," said Iñigo Loizaga, Chairman of CICmarGUNE and coordinator of the line of research.

Thixoforming is a process in which the material is kept between a liquid and solid state and is shaped in that semi-solid state. All this offers certain advantages with respect to the conventional method of forging. Firstly, savings are made in terms of material. "To produce the same part, thixoforming technology uses about 20% less material than forging, since no surplus material is obtained in the new process, and the final part with the desired geometry is obtained directly," explained Jokin Lozares. "What is more," he added, "a process that takes three or four steps right now in industry is cut to a single step, and allows infinitely more complex geometries to be achieved."

Until now, the experimental tests have been focussing on a car part that is fitted to the car's rear suspension. Specifically, it is the part that is attached to the wheel and the car's disc brake, the part that ensures that the rear wheel turns. "We can see that even by coming up with a process in which we want to break the equipment to see how long it lasts, the equipment is lasting longer than expected. As yet it is not enough to be a totally industrial , but we have to go on conducting research and advancing, because thixoforming appears to have a future," pointed out Loizaga. "We are even looking at the possibility of working with materials more advanced than steel with the aeronautical in mind mainly," he added.

Explore further: Faradair team determined to make hybrid BEHA fly

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nanowire made of diverse materials may become marketable

Oct 18, 2013

A South Korean joint industrial-academic research team has developed the technology to put forward the commercialization of nanowire that is only a few nanometers wide. It is expected to be applied in various fields such ...

Yeast uses CO2 to boost bioethanol production

Sep 10, 2013

Introducing four genes from bacteria and spinach has enabled researchers at the Delft University of Technology to improve the production of bioethanol with yeast by using carbon dioxide. Their findings were ...

Producing steel strips in an endless process

Aug 08, 2013

An especially energy-efficient production process for sheet steel is now being used in China. Siemens is providing a Chinese steel manufacturer with two plants that work according to the Arvedi-ESP (Endless ...

Recommended for you

Faradair team determined to make hybrid BEHA fly

16 hours ago

Aiming to transform their concept into a real success, the Faradair team behind a six-seat Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA) have taken this hybrid aircraft project into a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. ...

How polymer banknotes were invented

Nov 26, 2014

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and CSIRO's 20-year "bank project" resulted in the introduction of the polymer banknote – the first ever of its kind, and the most secure form of currency in the world. ...

Enabling the hearing impaired to locate human speakers

Nov 26, 2014

New wireless microphones systems developed at EPFL should allow the hearing impaired to aurally identify, even with closed eyes, the location of the person speaking. This new technology will be used in classrooms ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.