Shape Corp. Pioneers Advanced High Strength, Complex Roll Formed Aluminum Applications for the Automotive Industry

20 July 2023

Shape Corp., a global tier-1 supplier and leader in roll forming technology for close to 50 years, is proud to announce advancements in the application of complex roll formed aluminum applications for the automotive industry. In collaboration with Novelis, a leading sustainable aluminum solutions provider and world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, Shape can now offer a portfolio of roll formed aluminum components, including rockers, battery tray crossmembers, roof bows and other structural members.

Shape engineers have spent years perfecting the 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 utilize Novelis' full automotive product line, including fully tempered high-strength 6xxx series aluminum sheet alloys.

Committed to meeting the needs of the evolving automotive marketplace, Novelis has developed a variety of high-strength aluminum alloys including 6xxx series AdvanzTM 6HS- s615, -s625, -s650 alloys, and the high-strength 7xxx series. These alloys have been developed to facilitate full circularity as they can achieve high recycled content without loss of performance.

Shape Corp's Product Manager Brian Oxley shared his insights on the benefits of utilizing aluminum, including the Novelis 6xxx series aluminum sheet in the roll forming process: "Offering the ability to roll form complex shapes can be a game changer for automotive aluminum components. 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 replaces 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 leveraging higher material strength levels, Shape engineers have developed a range of automotive applications that demonstrate the full potential of roll formed high-strength steel and aluminum. The collaboration with Novelis has allowed Shape to apply its deep experience in roll forming steel to developing complex roll formed automotive products made of high-strength aluminum sheet.

"Novelis has identified new applications for our 6xxx series high-strength aluminum alloy sheet, which supports the mass production of lighter, low carbon automotive parts," said Jamie Zinser, vice president, global automotive, Novelis Inc. "We are proud to be partnering with Shape at our Customer Solution Center in Novi, Michigan, where our new roll form line will expedite the development and market introduction of these applications."

This milestone in roll forming technology marks the beginning of a new era for high-strength aluminum applications in the automotive industry. As Shape Corp. continues to push the boundaries of material engineering, the company is set to revolutionize the future of automotive manufacturing.