3DQ technology is a continual process in which steel tubes of various shapes (e.g. round tubes, square or rectangular tubes, and other different shaped steel tubes) are heated locally, bent, and then immediately quenched through rapid cooling in water. 3DQ is characterized by its ability to manufacture ultra high-tensile steel tubular parts with complex shapes without using dies. It is a technology that enables the manufacturing of steel tubular parts with the cold-formed strength of steel tubes. Our recently completed mass production technology uses a robot in the ending operation, which makes the equipment more compact and reduces costs. The robot technology was jointly developed with Yasukawa Electric Corporation.
At present, it is common practice to make the bodies of automobiles by pressing steel sheet. It has long been known that making the body framework out of members with closed cross-sections, such as steel tubes, would increase rigidity to bending and torsion and enable the production of light and safe vehicle bodies. However, there is a problem: high-tensile steel tube is difficult to process. Steel tubes that can be processed by bending have a maximum strength around 980 MPa. What is more, it was difficult to process them into complex shapes. Closed section aluminum members, on the other hand, have been put to practical use, but they are expensive, limiting their use in mass-produced vehicles.
3DQ is a groundbreaking technology that can manufacture ultra high-tensile steel tubular members with complex shapes in a high efficiency way. It will enable the weight of members to be reduced by up to around 50%, ushering in low-cost manufacturing of light, strong, and safe vehicle bodies. Moreover, it has the latent potential to significantly change the design concept of automotive bodies.