Impression Technologies, a member of the SMMT, is bringing to market its revolutionary new technology for forming Aluminium. The company is backed by Imperial Innovations Group plc , a leading technology commercialisation and investment group. The technology, known as HFQ, enables lighter, stronger solutions to the challenges faced by the world’s automotive and transport industries, and has the potential to materially reduce carbon footprints, and increase recycling.
The world automotive and transport industries need to make a step change in their use of Aluminium if they are to meet the environmental challenges of reducing energy consumption and meeting carbon emission targets. Aluminium is difficult to form into complex shapes due to its limited ductility. Current technologies are inadequate to meet the challenges faced in producing sophisticated shapes and structures for high volume applications.
Professor Lin of Imperial College, together with Professor Dean of the University of Birmingham, has developed the Hot Form Quench (HFQ ) technology which solves these problems and opens the door to a new generation of solutions for the automotive, aerospace and rail industries. Impression Technologies Ltd. has been created to commercialise this technology and its associated know-how.
In this patented process, Aluminium sheet is heated above its Solution Heat Treatment temperature, formed while hot, and quenched in the press. This process allows pressings to be formed which are lighter, deeper and with tighter radii than has been possible to date. The potential applications are wide ranging. The process is quicker and more cost effective than the alternatives, results in superior metallurgical properties, and allows stronger and lighter structures to be formed.
The market for passenger car vehicles alone is some 60 million vehicles a year, and the opportunity for components which might be formed using this technology is of the order of €10bn in passenger cars alone on a global basis.
Impression Technologies is talking to a wide range of potential partners and expects to enter into trading, licensing, and partnering arrangements with several in the coming months.
Dr George Adam, Chief Executive Officer of Impression Technologies, said:
“HFQ enables the production of lighter, stronger and more sophisticated structures in Aluminium than has been possible to date cost effectively. It creates new opportunities for car manufacturers to improve the performance of their vehicles whilst reducing their carbon footprint.”