OREANDA-NEWS. Ford is investing over 50 million US dollars in two new press plants at its German vehicle assembly plant in the Saarland.

Construction work on the the special production plants will commence in the first half of 2016. When completed, the new facilities will enable Ford to hot form high-strength steel body parts.

"High-strength steels are an integral component of body design in our vehicles today. Thanks to their weight, they enable lightweight construction without compromising body strength. However, for certain components the steel needs to have a very high degree of hardness. In those cases, the material must be heated first before the actual pressing process begins," said Karl Anton, Director Vehicle Operations Ford of Europe.

The new hot forming lines will be used to produce Ford Focus components such as pillar bumpers which are currently manufactured off-site and delivered to Saarlouis. Hot-formed components help improve crash safety in the event of a collision.

During hot forming, metal plate goes through three key stages: First, the material is heated to 930 °Celsius in an oven. Then it is reshaped in the press at 850 °Celsius, and afterwards immediately cooled down to minus 230 °Celsius. During this process the material is transformed, which gives it its extremely high strength. Finally the component is then cut to size in a laser cell using laser cutting devices.