Metallurgy Research Centre

  • 27 de noviembre de 2020

RIB-ON Project approaches new hot stamping die materials to be used in the manufacturing of airplane components

The RIB-ON project, framed within the H2020 Clean Sky 2 program and developed by the company BATZ and AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre, develops innovative tooling concepts to manufacture prototypes and short series of high-performance aluminium parts for the air&space sector.

With the aim of improving the sustainability of the aeronautic sector by developing advanced components and manufacturing processes, RIB-ON focuses in the development and manufacturing of an innovative modular hot stamping die concept for wing-ribs of different lengths and shapes, manufactured in high-performance aluminium. 

Oriented to the manufacturing of prototypes and short series, the RIB-ON project presents a new paradigm for the development of hot stamping dies. As explained by Ph.D. Garikoitz Artola, AZTERLAN researcher and project coordinator, “special working conditions are given so we are exploring new alternatives to the usual hot stamping steel materials”.

The usual approach when developing tools for hot stamping technologies is to look for an optimal balance between cooling, toughness and wear resistance. Cooling is needed to achieve high production cadencies, so the die surface temperature is maintained within the desired range. Because the cooling of the tools is mainly achieved by means of internal cooling channels, toughness is a necessary feature to avoid cracks in these critical areas, where thermal stress is generated. Lastly, wear resistance is a must for any forming tool to keep the geometry of the end parts within the required tolerances. In this context, hot work steels are the main choice for the tools used in the hot stamping industry.

Nevertheless, “the production rates given in the manufacturing of prototypes and short series, such those approached by RIB-ON Project, are not as demanding as on high serial production. Therefore, the cooling strategy could be simplified and could avoid using cooling channels. With these elements out of the equation, the toughness requirement is much lower”. These specific conditions broaden the field of potential materials` selection “to new alternatives, such as cold stamping steels or even ductile cast iron”.

Focused in this direction the consortium formed by BATZ and AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre has performed a technical analysis to choose the fittest tooling materials for the different hot stamping production paradigms of aluminium. This research work includes two thermally treatable aluminium families (2XXX and 6XXX) and three tooling families (hot stamping steels, cold stamping steels and pearlitic nodular cast iron) as well as three operation temperatures.

Thermal routes rib-on

Wear tracks on studied alloys at different temperatures

Will be part of the upcoming CHS2 conference

The results of this developments will be presented in the CHS2 congress, a world-level technical event and a reference for hot stamping technologies that will be celebrated in Barcelona in June 2021. This renown international working frame will offer an excellent opportunity to share the tooling materials criteria developed by the RIB-ON Project consortium.

RIB-ON Project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 755493.