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Sheet metal parts are heated in the oven to up to 930 degrees Celsius – and are correspondingly soft. In a matter of seconds they are pressed into the desired shape and cooled, getting harder than any other steel and, thus, being ideal for crash-relevant parts.
Our new hot forming facility at the Opel plant in Kaiserslautern officially went into operation in mid-January 2021. A new 80-ton press table is now in operation, which also include a 25-metre-high chimney. Likewise, a furnace, 40 metres long. Until then, Opel parts manufactured using this process were obtained from external suppliers.
The first recipient of the parts coming out of this brand-new facility was the new Opel Mokka, but the Kaiserslauter plant also supplies a number of other models from various brands of the group. In the new Mokka there are a total of eight parts that are formed from high-strength steel made in Kaiserslautern.
Hot-formed parts have a strength that cold-formed steels cannot achieve. It is therefore not surprising that hot-formed steels are currently the fastest growing group of materials in the automotive industry.
On the one hand, they help to save weight and thus reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of vehicles. On the other hand, thanks to their stability, they can offer vehicle occupants the highest possible level of protection.
For this reason, hot-formed steels are used above all in those parts of the body that are relevant to the safety of the vehicle in the event of a crash: transverse reinforcements on the front doors, reinforcements on the A-pillar, on the roof and at the rear.
In two years’ time, the press shop in Kaiserslautern will be 50 years old. Investments in innovative technologies like this one ensure that the plant continues to play an important role in the company’s production network. And we are proud to be part of this success story. Congratulations.