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News

Unique Corus portable strain measurement system helps to optimise press shop processes for body panels

Corus : 01 February, 2006  (New Product)
An unique and portable strain measurement system called PHAST , has been developed by Corus, the international steel company, to help carmakers ensure reliable production quality of complex formed body panels during the vehicle development and production process.
An unique and portable strain measurement system called PHAST , has been developed by Corus, the international steel company, to help carmakers ensure reliable production quality of complex formed body panels during the vehicle development and production process.

Combining hardware and software, the PHAST system has been jointly developed by the Corus RD&T (research, development and technology) facility in IJmuiden, and Dutch company Geodelta, a global leader in photogrammetry. Unlike similar systems in the market, PHAST is the first that combines expertise in 3D measurement technology with materials knowledge, offering vehicle manufacturers a complete package to enable them to optimally process today's modern automotive steels with increased confidence.

Using PHAST involves photographing a pressed panel from different positions using a digital camera and then processing the data. The software is capable of linking all the photographic measurements automatically, calculating the strains in the pressed part with an accuracy of 0.5 per cent strain. The results are typically available within 1-3 hours, and are used to make often minor changes to the press tools to help avoid subsequent problems in volume production.

With growing use of high-tech steels in today's automotive press shops, it is increasingly important for carmakers to better understand how a material will deform and flow during pressing. This is particularly important for complicated and large bodyside components. The PHAST system has successfully been used by Corus to provide critical on-site body shop support to Ford's Genk manufacturing plant, helping the carmaker to save valuable time, cut costs and ensure consistency in quality.

Compared to traditional methods of strain measurement, the compact PHAST system is easily portable and can be used on-site with the customer. This has allowed Corus material engineers to monitor and visualise material feasibility and strains on-site at the Ford Genk plant. Commenting on the benefits to the customer, Corus RD&T's customer support engineer Hans Brouwer said: 'We now have the ability to discuss how to improve material performance with the Ford engineers whilst on site, thus streamlining the process and delivering these extra benefits'.

Traditional methods of strain measurement analysis also only allow small areas of the pressed component to be measured and evaluated at a time, making the whole process very time consuming. PHAST system is capable of measuring complete surfaces all at once and, when the data has been collected, state-of-the-art PHAST software can visualise results in many different ways to quickly determine how and where improvements can be made.

Mr Brouwer continues: 'PHAST was originally developed to provide a rapid response to production press shop problems. Additionally, the system allows us to compare the performance of new grades of steel during a current vehicles' life-cycle with the ability to introduce better performing grades if robustness of the pressing process can be demonstrated to our customer'.

Mr Brouwer concludes: 'The major benefit that PHAST can ultimately bring, is for it to be used by carmakers during pre-production to optimise tooling set-up for new model launches.'

Geodelta: Ingenieursbureau Geodelta is a Dutch company specializing in solving complex measurement tasks using a technique known as photogrammetry. Geodelta is one of Europe's leading scientific and engineering companies in geodesy, surveying and photogrammetry. Since its foundation in 1984 Geodelta has been committed to excellence in geodetic and photogrammetric services and products. Geodelta's ability to guarantee the highest levels of quality and accuracy has been the prime source of its good reputation in the European geodetic and photogrammetric community.
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