Combination of deep-drawing and backmoulding in a single step

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  • Injection moulding tool to form metal sheet
  • Hybrid parts to be used as load-bearing structures in vehicle production
  • IKV and TU Dortmund cooperate in research

Together with the Institute of Forming Technology and Lightweight Construction (IUL) at the Technical University of Dortmund, the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and the Skilled Crafts at RWTH Aachen University is carrying out research into a combined process that involves the deep-drawing of metal and its backmoulding with plastic for the production of hybrid plastic/metal structural parts.

Hybrid parts to be used as load-bearing structures in vehicle production

Hybrid parts of this kind are being used increasingly as lightweight, load-bearing structures in vehicle production. They consist of a deep-drawn sheet steel component with a thickness of approx. 1 mm, backmoulded with plastic. The plastic serves to increase the stiffness, and may also contain functional and/or fixing elements. One requirement for the reliable production of such hybrid parts is a suitable bonding agent, which is first applied to the steel component. This provides a cohesive bond that ensures a homogeneous stress profile in the hybrid part.

Specimens for examining the combined deep-drawing / backmoulding process (photo: IKV)

Specimens for examining the combined deep-drawing / backmoulding process (photo: IKV)

Injection moulding tool to form metal sheet

This combined process makes use of the closing motion of the injection moulding tool to form the metal sheet, because the kinematics of an injection moulding tool are similar to those of a deep-drawing die. This saves a complete process step. A metal insert is first formed by deep-drawing during the integrated process and is subsequently further moulded into shape with the plastic melt.

At the heart of the process is the combined tooling technology which brings together the elements of the deep-drawing die with those of the injection moulding tool. The drawing punch and draw die are the forming elements here. A clamping mechanism controlled independently of the injection moulding machine’s clamping unit provides for controlled passage of the steel sheet and prevents any creasing on the deep-drawn part. The combined injection moulding tool was made by Herrmann Rausch Formenbau, Hösbach, Germany, and is available with immediate effect to the project partners IUL and IKV for their studies of the combined process.

The systematic analysis of the combined process is being funded via the AiF as part of Joint Industrial Research (IGF) by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

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