Gestamp HardTech is a solid and utilitarian yet sophisticated press hardening facility located in Luleå in northern Sweden. Their business involves manufacturing press tools and stamping metal components using huge press devices. When connecting a tool to the press, there are numerous connection points that need to work for different media. In order to simplify this connection process Gestamp uses a multi-plate from CEJN.
HARDTECH GESTAMP has a long tradition in press hardening, with 40 years in the business. This experience has given them considerable expertise in the field of calculations and tolerances that cannot be easily replicated. In the beginning, fairly simple components were produced, often using cold stamping, such as bumpers for the car industry. As demand for lighter parts increased, due to emission requirements, Hardtech was several steps ahead, and today they offer metal components for vehicle bodies, chassis and moulding tools. “The trend is continuously towards larger and more complex components, demanding multiple technologies,” says Hans Larsson, Tool Design/Development Manager at Hardtech Gestamp headquarters in Sweden.
PRESS HARDENING currently represents one of the most advanced lightweight solutions used for car body structures, for example.Steel blanks are heated up until they are workable, then shaped and cooled rapidly in the press, resulting in a transformed and hardened material. Some components might need different kinds of characteristics, such as soft and hard areas. This demands a combination of warm and cold stamping in order to control the crash properties of the component. The challenge is to retain the hard areas without any cracking.
“The cooperation has worked out very well with the high level of competence and quick response from CEJN”
- Hans Larsson, Tool Design/Development Manager, GESTAMP
COOPERATION WITH CEJN. Before working with CEJN, Gestamp would manually connect a series of single couplings when connecting a tool to the actual press “This was time consuming, hard and dirty work,” states Hans. Gestamp decided to look for another solution and turned to CEJN. When they met with CEJN they immediately saw the advantage of not having a language barrier. “CEJN understood immediately and in less than three months we had the solution we were looking for,” he explains.
The solution is a multi-plate that automatically links the press and tool together using five connections including hydraulics, cooling water and compressed air. “The solution has worked out fine and the plate is docked automatically. This is a huge improvement, as there is no need for the operator to wrestle with all the couplings, which saves time and money,” says Christer Allard, Tool Engineer. He continues: “All the tools that we produce for our new presses have the CEJN Multi-plate”.
According to Gestamp, the quality of the product has been optimal, as it has outlasted the life span of their tools, which is around 7 years. There has also been an improvement to the plate during the working process, eliminating the possibility of cross connection, called Poka Yoke. “The cooperation has worked out very well with the high level of competence and quick response from CEJN,” says Hans.
1. CEJN Multi-plate on tool. 2. Tool mounted on press in action. 3. Stamped components coming out of the Press. 4 Christer Allard, Tool Engineer, proudly shows a chassis constructed using a combination of techniques, leaving red areas hard and blue areas soft and workable for the customer.