“Our furnace systems meet the automotive industry’s growing need for solutions that make production more efficient and vehicles lighter, safer and more energy-efficient. We are now establishing AP&T Furnaces as a dedicated business area to increase the potential for developing future solutions,” explains Pär Mickos, the Product Manager Furnace Systems at AP&T.
AP&T, headquartered in Ulricehamn, Sweden, develops and manufactures production solutions for steel and GRP/CFRP forming. The largest customer segment is the automotive industry. The company is a world leader in the press hardening of sheet and has repeatedly received recognition for its process technology for the hot forming of high-strength aluminum. Since 2010, the company has been developing and manufacturing so-called multi-layer furnaces.
“In terms of volume, we are already one of Sweden’s largest manufacturers of furnaces for industrial applications. We have a competitive product range and because of the growth potential we see in our niches in the global market, we are ready to expand,” says Pär Mickos.
The designation of a business unit for furnaces at AP&T, similar to that for presses and automation, is accompanied by a stronger customer focus and more resources, e.g. for product development.
Energy-efficient electric multi-layer furnace
The basis of the current product range is AP&T’s energy-efficient electric Multi-Layer Furnace, which is available in different versions for press hardening of steel and hot forming of aluminum. Due to the multi-chamber design, its space requirement in the production area is relatively small compared to conventional roller hearth furnaces. It has few moving parts, which reduces the need for maintenance, and production can continue even if one of the furnace chambers has to be shut down. All furnaces are equipped with automatic feed and take-off automation from AP&T.
In addition to the Multi-Layer Furnace, the press hardening program also includes advanced systems for process monitoring. Also part of the program is AP&T’s patented solution for partial hardening, the TemperBox, which makes it possible to combine soft and hard zones in the component.
The Multi-Layer Furnace is part of AP&T’s solution for hot forming of high-strength aluminum, as are AP&T’s servo-hydraulic press and automation technology. The process makes it possible to produce complex-shaped components from sophisticated aluminum alloys effectively and with short cycle times.
All furnace products are also part of AP&T’s aftermarket offering, which now includes new types of availability agreements.
“As a long-standing partner to the global automotive industry, we will continue to pioneer products and services that help customers take a step into the future. In this, oven systems will be an important part of our overall offering,” Mickos said.