thyssenkrupp forges plans for the future in Homburg: 16,000 tons of premium quality for automotive components
Automotive-sector | Company | Worth knowing | Construction work at the thyssenkrupp site in Homburg is currently in full swing. By 2021, not only the world's most modern forging line but also the largest eccentric press for forged components is to go into production here. At around 80 million euros, it is the biggest investment in the history of the Saarland site - and an important sign for its future.
We asked Dr. Stefan Hodek, project manager of the new forging line, and Roland Klotti, CFO of thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies at the Homburg site, what distinguishes the new forging line and its centerpiece – the world’s largest forging press.
“Our new forging line is to become the world’s most modern and productive line for the production of forged components for the truck industry,” reports CFO Roland Klotti. Above all, the production results of the fully automated line should be impressive: “In view of the complexity of our production process, the particularly fast cycle time of up to 20 seconds is impressive! Expressed in figures: the new forging line will produce around 360,000 forged components annually.
Investments for the future
The investment in the Homburg location will not only install new equipment, but will also create 70 new jobs and secure existing ones in the long term, the managers explain. This is because the production of the new forging line is not limited to one product. In addition to front axles for trucks and other commercial vehicles, crankshafts can also be produced in Homburg. A broader product portfolio, which in future will also mean more security for the Homburg site: “By producing front axle beams for trucks, Homburg is taking an important step towards independence from combustion engines,” explains CFO Roland Klotti. “Ultimately, the decisive factor for the investment was the location’s competitiveness in the new product segment.
Many years of experience and professional competence
Homburg’s decades of experience in forging components for cars and trucks also predestines Homburg for the new forging line. As one of thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies’ biggest and most efficient locations, the Saarland region offers enormous expertise and many other advantages.
“The site is characterized by an exemplary health and safety culture, the high level of expertise of the workforce and a pronounced performance orientation,” explains project manager Dr. Stefan Hodek. In combination with forward-looking planning, maintenance investments, Homburg therefore offers the best conditions for being a reliable partner for customers.
16,000 tons of concentrated quality
The absolute highlight of the modernized location in Homburg, however, will be at the heart of the new forging line – a giant forging press with a pressing force of no less than 16,000 tons. Comparable to the weight of about thirty large passenger aircraft.
This is how the superlative forging press works: “The flywheel mass of an electrically driven flywheel is transferred to an eccentric shaft by means of a clutch. This eccentric shaft is thus set in rotation and generates a stroke movement which is transmitted to the die via a ram. The geometry of the forged component is generated in the tool, which consists of an upper and lower half,” explains Dr. Hodek.
To put it simply: The material is pressed into shape by an electric drive. The press needs the enormous pressing force of 16,000 tons to produce very large and heavy front axles and crankshafts weighing more than 250 kg and 2 m long.
The experts in Homburg ensure that the highest quality standards are maintained. After all, commercial vehicle manufacturers place very high demands on the quality and safety of forged components in their trucks, explains Dr. Hodek. “By producing high-precision forging tools ourselves and 100% testing of quality features, we ensure high-quality products in all our process steps. This includes both safety-relevant, material and dimensional requirements for the forged components”.
Homburg forges plans for the future
In future thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies aims to become market leader for truck front axles in addition to the truck crankshaft segment. “The transformation of the auto industry in Germany makes it necessary to break new ground,” explains Roland Klotti. “Recent political decisions, such as premiums for electric cars or the new vehicle tax from 2021, are increasingly driving this change. By investing in the new forging line in Homburg, we are responding to precisely this change”.