Tailor Welded Blanks (TWB) are metal sheets in which cut metal pieces of varying thicknesses or material properties are first welded in the flat state and then processed by means of forming and deep drawing to make optimized lightweight components, e.g. for vehicle chassis. In aluminum sheets, however, the weld seam is not as strong as the surrounding base material, as aluminum loses strength at weld points. This means that the weld seam tears during forming or deep drawing.
At the University of Stuttgart, a process has now been developed that significantly improves the formability of aluminum-steel TWBs by integrating heat treatment into the production process. It thus opens up new areas of application and increases process reliability when using TWBs. The suitability of the process has already been demonstrated in tensile strength tests with correspondingly treated weld seams. The invention has been registered for a patent in Germany and the USA. The University of Stuttgart is being supported by Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH in the patent and marketing process.