European Auto Parts Supplier Installs Chamber Furnace Heat Treat Line

From Austrian Furnace Builder Aichelin we have this report of a new installation for the company at auto parts supplier “Hirschvogel Group“. As a special bonus feature which compliments this press release our second news item for today is a summary about the firms heat treating capabilities. This second report appeared after a visit by “The Monty Heat Treat News” in 2018.

“Hirschvogel Group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solid-formed and further refined components made of steel and aluminum, recently commissioned a new heat treatment plant from AICHELIN at its main plant in Denklingen/Upper Bavaria. This fully automatic chamber furnace line is a special beacon in Hirschvogel’s decarbonization strategy, as the heating is CO2-neutral.

Hirschvogel Group has not only set its sights on a CO2-neutral future but has already translated it into concrete action. For the expansion of the hardening facility at Hirschvogel Umformtechnik GmbH, for example, the company opted for a heat treatment facility with electric heating that is operated exclusively with green electricity. The system was supplied by AICHELIN, one of the world’s leading manufacturers in  the heat treatment industry. The fully automatic double continuous chamber furnace line ensures high output with maximum flexibility and is impressive in many respects.

The size alone of around 900 m² of installation area is considerable. This includes pre- and post-cleaning systems, a preheating furnace, two high-temperature furnaces and two tempering furnaces, as well as two endothermic gas generators, including all the necessary tables and tracks.

The technical design of the plant is the foundation for meeting the challenging requirements of CQI-9. The maximum batch size with a mass of up to 2,200 kg should also be emphasized. The entire plant is controlled fully automatically and can thus be operated with minimum staff. In addition, AICHELIN’s FOCOS 4.0 process control system contributes to optimal operation by assisting in the creation of heat treatment programs. FOCOS 4.0 then communicates these to the process controllers and issues a tamper-proof heat treatment certificate.

“A supplier’s technical expertise has utmost priority for us in the decision-making process. AICHELIN easily met the requirements and was reliably available to our project team almost around the clock. Also, with regard to our Green Lean Smart strategy, AICHELIN’s technical solutions align with our goals,” explains Stefan Lube, Head of the Semi-Hot Forming Profit Center at Hirschvogel. Another criterion was intelligent networking, which AICHELIN covers with the digital assistant #jakob. “With this predictive maintenance solution, which is unique on the market, we benefit from high plant availability. As a result, we also provide the corresponding supply reliability for our customers,” concludes Lube.

The complete coverage of the heating power requirement by electrical heating presented a particular challenge due to the limited space available. AICHELIN took on this challenge and implemented the task perfectly together with its sister company NOXMAT. Specially developed band heating elements with up to 22.2 kW power per element are used to transmit the required 340 kW heating power per system. The design of the components achieves a surface load of just 1,89 W/cm², which has a positive effect on the plant’s lifetime. All this underlines Hirschvogel’s ‘green’ ambitions. The reduction of CO2 is an important focus in the sustainability management of the family-owned business. Since the beginning of the year 2022, electricity for the German sites has been sourced exclusively from renewable sources. What’s more is the coverage of electricity needs with energy from regional, renewable sources.

“We are very proud to be able to implement this prestigious project together with Hirschvogel. The decarbonization ambitions of our companies complement each other well and we are already working together on further promising developments in this area,” Michael Reisner, Managing Director of AICHELIN Ges.m.b.H., is pleased to report.”

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