The new process that Wolfensberger is striving to achieve pursues the aim of manufacturing cast steel components with wall thicknesses until 2 mm as sand castings which will offer Wolfensberger new and interesting market opportunities. For instance, under specific conditions, sheet-metal components which reach process and performance limits with the methods currently established could be replaced by freely designable, thin-walled cast steel components which can be designed to meet the loads occurring.
Combined with the fact that it is possible to integrate specific functions, thin-walled cast steel components can be used to practice "applied lightweight construction" which can meet the guiding principle of the automotive industry – to constantly endeavour to achieve more and more efficient systems.
Thin-walled cast steel components can be used not only in environments characterised by sheet metal, such as a carbody. It is also possible to use them in the field of engine construction where there is a need for extremely efficient components of reduced weight and, equally, manufactured using an efficient and economical production process.
Initial promising customer contacts
Wolfensberger has already been able to develop initial prototypes with potential customers and the results and experience to date can be assessed as positive. However, all those involved are aware that a few more steps need to be taken, both technically and commercially.
Part-specific reproducibility must be fully guaranteed and it must be possible to demonstrably comply with parameters as regards dimensional stability and quality requirements until any series production is launched. At the same time, Wolfensberger is reliant on certain quantities in order to be able to ensure the economy of part-specific production processes.
Development of a suitable production process is an investment that is clearly forward-looking. For instance, such development projects in the automotive industry take on average 5 to 7 years until the series-production stage. This is time that should be utilised to be able to use our expertise profitably in the sectors of material and process technology and to adapt our processes and structures to the new challenges Wolfensberger will face.
Source: Wolfensberger AG