Impression Technologies Ltd. signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Scandium International Mining Corp. to test scandium-containing alloys in proprietary aluminum sheet forming applications. Impression Technologies is a privately held technology company, developing and licensing its advanced aluminum forming technology, Hot Form Quench (HFQ®), to the worldwide automotive, aerospace, rail, and electronics industries.
The LOI calls for Scandium International to contribute various aluminum alloy samples containing scandium, using their proprietary process technology, in their testing facilities in Coventry, U.K. Impression Technologies intends to report the results of the testing program utilizing the samples, and Scandium International intends to publicly report a summary of the results at the conclusion of the program.
“We are pleased to add Impression Technologies to our list of partners exploring scandium’s advantages in aluminium parts manufacturing,” said George Putnam, CEO of Scandium International Mining Corp. “Impression Technologies’ patented HFQ technology successfully advances the boundaries in aluminium alloy sheet forming capability today, and we are excited to have them find further improvements in their processes and part performance by including scandium. We think their clients will appreciate the demonstration of scandium’s advantages as well.”
HFQ technology enables the single-pass forming of complex, lightweight aluminum parts that can’t otherwise be similarly formed today. The process involves forming a heated aluminum sheet and then quenching it when it’s being pressed into the required shape, which enables part complexity while maintaining material properties. It is said to deliver better formed parts, in addition to reduced process cycle times and lower material losses when compared to more traditional forming techniques.
The technology, which has been used in the Aston Martin DB11, is gaining further global recognition from a multi-partner testing initiative, called the Rapid Aluminium Cost Effective Forming Project (RACEForm), which received £4.8 million in funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Ltd. (APC). The focus of the 30-month RACEForm project, initiated in late 2017, will be on validating the HFQ technology for the mass production of complex, high strength aluminum structures for body-in-white and chassis applications, and to help establish the technology as a global standard for aluminum lightweighting worldwide.
Characterizing new or modified materials for HFQ simulation and process performance is a key part of Impression Technologies’ ongoing HFQ development program, and the company sees promise in testing Al-Sc alloys from Scandium International in this regard.