Shape Corp. in Grand Haven Advances Aluminum Applications for Auto Industry

Shape Corp. in Grand Haven, a global tier one supplier, says it has made advancements in the application of complex roll formed aluminum applications for the automotive industry that can help OEMs save time and money in automotive production.
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Aluminum production
Shape Corp. in Grand Haven is using new technology to better manufacture aluminum parts for the auto industry. // Photo courtesy of Shape Corp.

Shape Corp. in Grand Haven, a global tier one supplier, says it has made advancements in the application of complex roll formed aluminum applications for the automotive industry that can help OEMs save time and money in automotive production.

In collaboration with Novelis in Atlanta, a provider of sustainable solutions in aluminum rolling and recycling, Shape now offers a portfolio of roll formed aluminum components, including rockers, battery tray crossmembers, roof bows, and other structural members.

Shape engineers have spent years working on a method of roll forming ultra-high-strength materials, along with researching and developing complex geometries that bring value to structural automotive components.

Shape’s new roll forming technology will use Novelis’ full automotive product line, including fully tempered high strength 6xxx series aluminum sheet alloys. Novelis has developed a variety of high-strength aluminum alloys including 6xxx series Advanz 6HS-, s615, -s625, and -s650 alloys, and the high-strength 7xxx series.

The alloys have been developed to facilitate full circularity as they can achieve high recycled content without loss of performance.

“Offering the ability to roll form complex shapes can be a game changer for automotive aluminum components,” says Brian Oxley, product manager for Shape. “By incorporating high strength 6xxx series aluminum provided by Novelis, we are able to optimize the roll forming process, allowing us to create complex shapes, tight bend radii, and ultimately, more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective automotive components.

“This collaboration has opened new possibilities for the industry and reinforced Shape’s and Novelis’ position as leaders in material innovation.”

Simplifying the OEM assembly process, roll forming can replace alternative methods that require multiple stampings and time-consuming assembly operations. The roll forming process minimizes the need for secondary operations by forming in higher-strength tempers (maximizing weight savings) with passivation coatings, and with pre-pierced holes and fasteners applied in-line. Furthermore, the ability to reuse tooling for part length variation increases efficiency and reduces overall investment in production.

Roll formed aluminum compliments Shape’s capabilities in roll forming high strength steels and producing high strength, tight tolerance aluminum extrusions. This is especially true when the aluminum extrusion application demands thin, constant wall thickness with geometries suited for roll forming. With this strong portfolio, Shape is uniquely positioned to offer the optimal solution to our customers.

By using higher material strength levels, Shape engineers have developed a range of automotive applications that can offer customers the full potential of roll formed high-strength steel and aluminum. The collaboration with Novelis has allowed Shape to apply its experience in roll forming steel to developing complex roll formed automotive products made of high-strength aluminum sheet.