5/1/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Audi’s Intelligent Aluminum Forming

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon



Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The hood of the Audi TT is made of aluminum. If you talk to some people (people who have a certain bias for things of a ferrous nature), you’ll hear about the difficultly of being able to achieve sharp edge and tight radii when forming aluminum.

But one glance at the sharp contours on the hood of the TT (they call them “swoosh lines” back in Ingolstadt) seems to indicate that you can do some rather impressive forming in aluminum.

Well, that is if you have the right equipment to get the job done.

The equipment in question here was developed by Audi Toolmaking.

They’re using four lasers in the forming tool to make certain that the flanges are right. Measurements from the lasers are sent to a computer. Should it be determined that there’s something off, that there’s a deviation, then the forces of the four drawing aids that clamp the sheet metal in the flange area are adjusted via electric actuators (each with some 30 metric tons of force) as required.

Audi presently has 12 of these so-called “intelligent tools” distributed in four of its plants (Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Bratislava, and Györ, with the last-named being where the TT is built).

Audi claims that the TT’s aluminum body features “the tightest radii in the world.”

Importantly, the intelligent tools cut way down on the number of panels that are rejected because of things like tears and splits, so they’re getting those radii in an effective manner.


  • Do Plastic Body Panels Have A Future?

    Remember those Saturn commercials showing shopping carts bouncing harmlessly off of plastic body panels? Good idea, right? But apparently the approach never really caught on. Now the question is: will it ever?

  • Carbon Fiber Comes to Performance Wheels

    Carbon Revolution's carbon fiber wheels for the Mustang GT 350R are just the beginning for this Australian company. Aerospace, heavy trucks and family cars are next.

  • Chip Foose: Humble Genius

    Scene 1After speaking at Detroit's Cobo Hall during the North American International Auto Show, Chip Foose seems genuinely taken with the evident adulation of the audience, and takes the time to answer every question and sign autographs.The second oldest child and only male in a family with four kids, Chip Foose was born in Santa Barbara, California, on October 6, 1963.