Concept

LightBlank’s aim is to develop and fully implement the manufacturing route that enables the next step change in light-weighting of sheet metal panels.  The partners will develop and deliver a material-efficient production method and the associated supply base for aluminium Friction Stir-Tailor Welded Blanks for forming by the solution Heat treatment Forming and in-die Quenching hot stamping method (FSTWB-HFQ). For the first time in the world this technology combination will provide low cost mass-production-capable manufacture of lightweight aluminium formed products, in a single sheet of varying thickness, for automobiles, rail stock and aerospace. Previous research identified the FSW process as the most promising welding technology to meet end user requirements. Together with HFQ it will enable the manufacture of complex shapes from one sheet of high-strength aluminium alloy of varying thickness, whilst retaining the full mechanical properties of the alloy. This combination will enable the production of one-piece complex high-strength, light-weight, reduced investment aluminium panel parts economically and to the required industrial quality and repeatability.