Project Objectives

Overview

The LightBlank project aims to develop and demonstrate the HFQ/FSW technology for the production of automotive, rail and aerospace aluminium pressings on a HFQ production line from sheet supply to full-scale parts. 

Research & Development

FSW

  • To develop effective FSW procedures for high quality welding and subsequent HFQ forming to give appropriate mechanical and aesthetic¬† properties.
  • To assess opportunities for local inclusion of different Al alloys in auto, rail & aero structures via FSW and the ability of the FSW process to generate effective joint microstructures and performance for successful HFQ forming.
  • To develop advanced cost effective tooling systems for rapid production of a range of Al FSW TWBs.

HFQ

  • Development of thermally coupled material and process models for FEA simulation of HFQ process.
  • Optimisation of HFQ process to maximise mechanical property restoration of the welded area of the tailor welded blank.
  • To develop forming tooling that allows for the different sheet thicknesses and the movement of weld lines during HFQ forming.
  • To develop HFQ technology for forming pre-joined sheets where the response of the individual elements may differ due to differing material composition or thickness.¬†

Implementation

  • To optimise the FSW/HFQ manufacturing processes and process parameters through assessment of material properties and test samples performance.
  • To produce industrially relevant demonstrator components based on end-user products and HFQ/FSW approach.
  • To undertake a full cost analysis to confirm weight reduction and commercial benefits for end-users.
  • To develop a set of design rules for complex shapes formed from FSWed blanks and processed with HFQ into complex shapes.