The fuel efficiency standards imposed on automobiles have forced manufacturers to lessen weight in their vehicle platforms. This process, commonly referred to as "light-weighting" has driven engineering focus toward the use of aluminium and advanced high strength steel (AHSS) and ultra-high strength steel (UHSS) to offer lighter weight vehicles, without compromising safety.


Advantages in Using AHSS & UHSS:

·         Higher strength to weight ratio than conventional, lower carbon steels.

·         Cheaper alternative to aluminium in automotive "light-weighting" processes.

·         Easier to weld than aluminium.

·         Compatible with current finishing processes.


Challenges in Forming AHSS & UHSS Parts

·         Higher work hardening rates than conventional, lower carbon steels.

·         Higher tensile strengths over conventional, lower carbon steels.

·         Require lubricants perform under increased and highly localised temperatures and pressures during forming.

With increased scrutiny of traditional oil based EP additives and the desire to decrease energy related costs in removal of these oil based products, there has been an increased interest and demand for synthetic, non-oil based alternatives. Products like IRMCO FLUIDS® 146, IRMCO FLUIDS® 313 and IRMCO FLUIDS® 323 product lines have demonstrated their utility in these applications, while providing the desired improvements through welding and pre-treatment. These products can often provide for the elimination of cleaning parts prior to welding - further increasing process efficiency. Reduction in cleaning temperature ("ambient and/or low temperature cleaning") is more easily accomplished through the use of synthetic, non-oil chemistries on AHSS and UHSS steel.


Oil Based VS. Non-Oil Lubricants for AHSS & UHSS:

Past practices would dictate the use of oil-based chemistries or products heavily fortified with chlorine and sulphur based EP additives to address these increased demands. While this may address the forming of the parts, welding and pre-treatment processes may be negatively impacted by the increased amount of oil and difficulty in cleaning those EP additives.

Synthetic chemistries like IRMCO FLUIDS® 146, 323 and 313 series stamping lubricants address these unique demands of HSS, with novel lubricity and EP additives rather than conventional, oil-based EP additives. IRMCO products are designed to offer maximum die protection, while still remaining easy to weld through and removable in most neutral and alkaline pre-treatment processes. The unique chemistries employed in these product lines "wet" and lubricate the parts more uniformly, cool parts better than oil-based products and minimise "hot-spots" in tooling and parts that often arise when forming AHSS and UHSS. IRMCO FLUIDS® 146 and IRMCO FLUIDS® 323 series products were developed for most AHSS and UHSS steel substrates. IRMCO FLUIDS® 313 series of products were specifically designed with zinc-coated AHSS substrates in mind, addressing the additional demands of zinc staining and corrosion.