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3MA Inspection of Press Hardening Parts

To inspect mechnical properties nondestructively such as Tensile Strength Rm, Yield Strength Rp0.2, Alongation, Hardness, Coating thickness of press-hardened body parts, 3MA inspection technology is an instrumental and methodical combination of four micromagnetic inspection methods.

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Situation of press hardening parts

3MA automated system for hot stamping parts

Reinforcement elements of the body, such as B-pillars, main chassis beams, tunnel reinforcement etc. are made of high-strength steels, for instance from hardenable boron/steel alloys. This allows to minimize the vehicle weight and with it the fuel consumption while ensuring a maximum of crash-safety of the passenger cabin. To manufacture these components, producers and suppliers in the automotive industry increasingly rely on the so-called press-hardening, as it is particularly resource-friendly and cost-effective compared to conventional forming techniques.

In this process, the plates to be formed are heated in a continuous furnace to approximately 950 ℃, i. e. austenitized. By a transfer tool (e. g. a robot) the then glowing red sheets are placed in a press, in which a special, water-cooled tool is installed. While the press is closing, the material is transformed by the tool. Simultaneously, within a few seconds, the plate is deprived of its heat. The rapid cooling results in a martensitic microstructure in the steel, which ensures high strength and hardness of the material.

3MA NDT Solution for Mechnical Properties Inspection

To assess the manufacturing quality, the components are randomly tested with regard to their mechanical and technological characteristics. From each production shift an inspection lot, comprising multiple components, is taken. Hereafter, at various positions samples, i. e. tension rods and hardness coupons, are cut from the components, and then tested destructively. To evaluate the production quality hardness (HV10), tensile strength (Rm), yield strength (Rp0.2), breaking strain (A50) and uniform strain (AG),even diffusion layer thickness of the samples are determined. These destructive tests are time-consuming and expensive and, thus, are a bar to increasing productivity and efficiency. Press Hardened parts for automobileReinforcing components of the car body (Source: Volkswagen)
The aforementioned destructive methods were substituted by a faster and cost-efficient nondestructive inspection technology.3MA (Micromagnetic Multiparameter, Microstructure and stress Analysis) technology is a technical and methodical combination of the four micromagnetic inspection methods multi-frequency eddy current, analysis of the upper harmonics, incremental permeability and Barkhausen noise.
Tensile Test and hardness testing positionsComponent with flagged test positions transform of press hardening heat treatmentHeating the circuit boards in a continuous furnace

3MA PHS allows to simultaneously determinate various relevant quality features of the materials, e.g. hardness or the variables of the tensile test. For this the probe is manually placed on the component and then the measurement process is triggered. The measurement only lasts some seconds, it is fully automated and can also be integrated into the production process.

Results of mechnical properties on press hardening car body parts

3MA NDT Result Display of hot forming parts Based on a multiple regression analysis approximating functions are determined that relate the targeted quality features to the 3MA measures. In the situation of left figure, the targets are HV10, Rm, Rp0.2, A50 and AG.
Within the scope of the validation the test constraints were described, limits for the target variables to be observed were set and the extended measuring uncertainty was determined, taking into account all relevant confounders.

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