June 29, 2022

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. – The world’s first production system that revolutionizes automotive body and chassis Implementation of STAF (Steel Tube Air Forming) equipment

Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Headquarters: Osaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo; President and CEO: Shinji Shimomura) would like to announce that it has decided to implement the world’s first automotive body and chassis (STAF) production system, which it developed, at Topia Co., Ltd. (The head office: Suzuka City, Mie PrefecturePresident and CEO: Hideki Sasaki).

STAF is a system in which steel tubes are placed in the mold on a press and then formed using the processing sequence of electric heating, high pressure air injection, molding and then hardening. This system has the advantage of being able to form flanges (elements with a protruding rim) and frames together in one piece, the flanges being an essential element when assembling the frames. This can improve the rigidity of the frame and simplify the production process because there is no need to weld the flange to the frame later, as is the case with conventional methods. Additionally, the increased stiffness of the frame allows for the use of thinner materials, which has the effect of reducing weight by approximately 30% compared to conventional structures.

Topia Co., Ltd. is a company that leads the way in the development and production of prototype components essential to the development of new products for automobiles and similar products. The implementation of the STAF production system will enable Topia to provide molded components capable of meeting the needs of the automotive industry, which is also seeking to make vehicles lighter.

SHI will continue to strengthen its proposals to produce mass production components using the STAF production system and supply them to the automotive industry in both Japan and abroad thanks to the installation of this equipment. We will also be exhibiting this equipment at Automotive Engineering Fair 2022 should be held in Yokohama from May 25, 2022.

1. Electric heating

Both ends of the material pipe are clamped by electrodes and then electrically heated in the mold to quickly heat the material.

Compared to furnace heating, electric heating is extremely energy efficient and can significantly reduce running costs and environmental impact.

2. Primary Stroke (Bridle Formation)

After heating the material pipe, the mold is closed to a half-open state using proprietary control technology, and high-pressure air is blown from inside the pipe to mold the section to flange.

3. Secondary blowing (main unit molding) and material curing

After the mold is closed, high pressure air is blown to further shape the main unit section on the inner surface of the mold and to perform the blow molding. As the material adheres to the mould, it cools rapidly to produce a high strength 1500MPa member.

(C) 2022 electronic news edition, source ENP Newswire