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Schuler SMG has installed a hydraulic press at Ford’s facility in Saarlouis, Germany, for forming car body parts.

The line the hydraulic press replaced had teeth that often needed repairing, bringing production to a halt.

As a consequence, the press force had to be reduced from 10MN to 8000kN.

Manuel Pleitgen, project manager at Schuler SMG in Waghausel, said: ‘The new more-powerful Schuler line has a press force of 22.5MN and can also process high-strength steels.’ Ford uses these steels in floor panels for its Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.

The new press allows Ford to process these materials instead of outsourcing.

The press was installed and put into operation in just 36 days.

Robert Steier, from Ford’s factory-planning division, said: ‘The lead-off press is running trouble-free and was soon able to reach the required cycle time of eight seconds.’ Up to twelve large parts can be produced per minute in highest deep draw quality.

In two-shift operation, the new hydraulic lead-off press supplies large body parts – such as roofs, side walls, floor panels and fenders – for the Ford models Focus and Focus C-Max, produced in Saarlouis.

With its more powerful lead-off press, the plant can also produce panels for other German and European facilities and reduce capacity bottlenecks.

The press weighs 500 tonnes and is taller than 10 metres.

It boasts a total press force of 22.5MN (2,250tonf).

The die-clamping surface measures 4600 x 2500mm, the slide stroke 1950mm and the maximum drawing-depth is 350mm.

The crown weighs 115 tonnes, the press bed 90 tonnes and the slide and blank holder 50 tonnes.

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