02 | 2006

VTT takes most versatile high-pressure moulding machine in Europe into use

Frame bars of vehicles and structures can now be manufactured faster, stronger and lighter

VTT has acquired a high-pressure moulding machine for the moulding of large metal pipes that are used in machine frames, among other things. The machine is versatile and can easily be converted to mould different products. The frame bars of vehicles and structures can now be manufactured faster, while at the same time they are stronger and lighter. The test production of industrial metal products will begin in the autumn of 2006. The co-operation agreement between VTT and, among others, the West Lapland Vocational Institute stipulates that VTT will give the high-pressure moulding machine to the vocational institute on a long-term loan.

High-pressure moulding is a method that makes it possible to turn metal pipes or plates into complex components that are strong, light and neat in appearance. Welding, as well as the number of rivet and screw joints in the component, can be significantly reduced using the method. Moulding machines that are less versatile than VTT’s are in production use in Middle Europe and Sweden.

New important areas of use for high-pressure moulding are metallic bearing bar structures and plate parts of vehicles, complex pipe structures used in ships and the chemical industry, and façade elements of buildings. The method offers new possibilities for designers as well.

VTT's high-pressure moulding machine provides the Finnish metal industry with a new competitive solution for manufacturing components. Initially it will be used in the development and manufacturing of pipe components. The machine can be used for machining large pipes made of stainless and ordinary steel, as well as aluminium, copper and brass pipes.

The most important property of VTT's high-pressure moulding device is its continuous moulding pressure of 5,000 bar. In other machines used in Europe, the moulding pressure is usually not more than 3,000 bar, and the pressure is cyclic in nature. VTT's machine is capable of attaining a high moulding degree and precise dimensions, even if thick blanks are used. The revolutionary control and measuring techniques ensure that the moulding parameters can be set fast and accurately. In addition to the above, the strength qualities of the end product moulded with VTT's machine remain excellent.

An additional benefit of VTT's machine is its large moulding table, which is 1.2 x 1.6 meters in size. The machine is capable of moulding pipes that are 150 mm in diameter, while the wall thickness can be up to 10 mm and the length up to 1,000 mm. A tool system will be added to the machine at a later stage, which will make it possible to mould metal plates as well.

Audi, BMW and Volvo have used high-pressure moulding for manufacturing car parts. The technology is new in Finland. VTT acquired the machine as a so-called debt conversion, by means of which Russia pays off the debt of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as machine deliveries. VTT financed the transport of the acquired equipment from Russia to Tornio.


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