Details of a new and significant process developed by international steel company Corus and applied in the manufacture of the Jaguar XF sedan are now emerging.
The ability to provide a mix of materials and blanking-tool expertise during early stages of the car's development helped the company secure a major contract to supply Jaguar with complex pressed blanks. They are coming from three press-blanking lines and are for 24 important parts of the XF.
As a major supplier, Corus worked closely with Jaguar during the early phases to supply and evaluate a variety of blank shapes based on the initial model designs with toolmakers in the U.S. and across Europe. During the trials, Corus engineers also used their material expertise to assess how different grades of steel performed. The work helped Jaguar select the most appropriate grades of steel for various component applications.
"The result of these extensive trials and Corus’ early involvement with Jaguar was the development of blanking tools that were fit for purpose," said Alan Hutchinson, General Manager of Corus’ Automotive Service Center. "Importantly, we helped Jaguar ensure optimal design of the finished blank shape and size and provided advice to help achieve the optimal method of pressed blank production."
Following extensive trials, the Service Center developed a tool of more than 4 m (13 ft) in length, which it sourced from the U.S. It is able to manufacture the specific blank required for the front side outer member, a key part for the XF model. Corus also sourced an additional nine tools from across Europe and again assessed them to ensure that they would be capable of meeting Jaguar’s quality standards.
Corus stated that early development support and recommendations during press tooling trials helped Jaguar keep startup costs to a minimum and ensure that production launch dates were met.
The 24 parts involved are manufactured on three dedicated lines at Corus’ Wednesfield facility and delivered directly to Jaguar. Corus is also supplying the roof panel blank—a full-finish exterior part.
Corus has made significant investments in downstream facilities at the Service Center to enhance its press-blanking line capability so it can meet increasing demand from OEM customers for tailor-welded blanks and full-finish skin panel blanks ready for assembly. It also supplies precision tailor-welded blanks for the new Mini Clubman.
The Service Center has a comprehensive range of dedicated automotive processing facilities, featuring a range of press-blanking lines from 150 to 600 t (165 to 660 ton). These include multistrand blanking lines, trapezoidal/radial blanking lines, a slitting line, and a number of pack turners. It also has a dedicated laser-welding facility, which it claims to be the first in Europe to have the capability to manufacture production volumes of advanced, second-generation, non-linear Nd:YAG (neodymium-yttrium aluminum garnet) laser-welded blanks.