Volvo get press shop tooling aid from Corus

  • 11-Jan-2009 05:06 EST
Corus XC60 15602_4_13.jpg
Corus' Argus analysis tool has been created to help carmakers attain consistent quality of complex formed body panels. These include the bodyside panels for Volvo's new XC60.

Corus is helping optimize press shop tooling at Volvo’s plant in Torslanda, Sweden, using its experience in strain measurement systems. It introduced its new Argus analysis tool in support of the new XC60 crossover vehicle launch. Argus has been created to help carmakers attain consistent quality of complex formed body panels at the vehicle development phase for high confidence in subsequent volume production, according to the international steel company.

Corus is supplying Volvo with steel for the XC60’s bodyside panels—one of the more complex and challenging components to manufacture because of surface quality finish and formability requirements. Engineers from Corus’ Product Application Center in Ijmuiden, the Netherlands, worked closely with those from Volvo during the tool buy-off and home line tryout stage for the car’s bodyside panels to generate better understanding of how the steel performed during press shop processes.

Using Argus, Corus was able to suggest tooling improvements to help "significantly" reduce press shop setup lead times. Corus engineers measured bodyside panels to check the robustness of the pressing and within hours were able to feed back the first results to Volvo engineers to reduce the time and resources required for successful tool tryout.

Information gathered by Corus using Argus can subsequently be used by Volvo to assess any potential changes that may be required in the production of the bodyside panels—for example, if new grades of steel are considered for introduction during the XC60’s current life cycle. The Argus system is described by Corus as being easily portable, and it can be deployed and used on site in the Volvo production press shop.

Jamie Howles, Support Engineer, Corus Strip Products, Ijmuiden, said: "With the growing use of high-tech steels in today’s automotive press shops, it is increasingly important for carmakers to better understand how steel blanks will deform and flow as they are pressed. This is particularly so for large and complex components such as bodysides."

He said that OEMs increasingly need to find the right balance between quality and time and that through the use of such systems, which combine accurate measurement of 3-D geometry with the latest forming analysis techniques and materials expertise, Corus is able to offer carmakers the ability to reduce lead times during the tryout stages, resulting in a right first-time approach in the production of critical stamped parts.

Corus has deployed on-site strain measurement systems with other automotive customers including the NedCar’s assembly plant in the Netherlands to help optimize final press tooling for manufacture of the Mitsubishi Colt. It also has worked with Ford at the Genk plant in Belgium.

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