Heat and chemical treatment lines

Treating automotive alloys

There is an increasing demand for aluminum as a lightweight construction material in automobiles. Manufacturers require aluminum sheets which are heat-treated to ensure formability as well as the necessary strength. Crucial here are not only the heat treatment itself, but also the cooling process. To improve flatness, producers can run the strip through a tension leveler. Next in line is cleaning the surfaces before coating. This involves chemical treatment to prepare the strip for transportation and further processing. You can perform these stages separately in different facilities, or combine them more cheaply in a heat and chemical treatment line. As a system provider, we provide everything from mechanical equipment to process and furnace technology, as well as electrics and automation - all from one source.

Line Concept

Heat and chemical treatment lines

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Heat and chemical treatment lines

Often, linking up all processes in one heat and chemical treatment line is the most efficient answer. Here, the strips enter the plant from one or two payoff reels and are joined by a strip stitcher into an endless strip. Sometimes the entry end also includes a side-trimmer unit and a pre-cleaning section. It's important to disconnect the infeed from the process section - a job for the strip accumulator. As a result, the material travels at a constant speed through the downstream process section. That consists of an annealing furnace, cooling equipment, tension leveler, and cleaning and chemical treatment sections. Then another accumulator disconnects the process section from the exit section. Normally, a strip inspection stage is integrated in the exit section, plus a pre-aging furnace which re-heats the strip. Other options available are a trimming shear and an oiling machine. Finally, a cross-cut shear cuts the strip into lengths before coiling on one or two reels.

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Heat treatment line

Pure heat treatment lines also start with one or two payoff reels that feed the strip into the line. Next, the strips are joined by a strip stitcher. Here, the entry section usually includes pre-cleaning facilities. There is the added option of installing a trimming shear unit. The process section consists of the annealing furnace with downstream cooling equipment and tension leveler. This section is disconnected from the entry and exit ends by two strip accumulators. Finally, the strip travels through an inspection unit and a pre-aging furnace before being cut by the cross-cut shear and wound onto one or two tension reels.

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Chemical treatment line

Typically, the entry section of a pure chemical treatment line includes one or two payoff reels and a strip stitching machine into which the strip enters from an entry accumulator. Then it is cleaned and chemically treated in the process section before collection in the exit accumulator. Included in the exit section are an inspection station, an optional sidetrimmer unit, and/or an electrostatic oiling machine. It often makes sense to arrange the oiling machine (e.g. Drylube) in the coating line downstream of the heat treatment line. A cross-cut shear cuts the strips which are then wound into coils.

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Water cooling with pre-defined cross-bow
Floatation annealing furnace and cooling equipment

What's key to this system is a high-performance floatation furnace for aluminum automotive grades. The water quench has a crucial impact on product quality. Furthermore, this section ensures high cooling rates and good strip shape. To achieve perfect results, the operator pre-defines a cross-bow for controlled and stable cooling.

Chemical treatment Image

Coating technologies geared to your requirements
Chemical treatment

It 's the chemical coating or passivating that essentially determine the quality of automotive alloys. Passivation creates a uniform and dense layer of aluminum oxide on the surface (sealing layer). Whatever your requirements, we offer you various units to suit your purposes.

Cleaning technology Image

Cleaning and de-oxidation
Cleaning technology

Whatever your specific situation, we design the perfect cleaning solution for you. Here you can choose from a variety of system combinations and arrangements with different cleaning media and contact times. Getting this right requires the kind indepth process knowledge SMS is famous for. Also important are the degree and type of prior contamination, the passivation fluids to be applied, the surface requirements, and the process speeds.

Selected references


SMSgroup Melster, Stefan

Stefan Melster

SMS group GmbH
Technical Sales Processing Lines
Walder Straße 53
40724 Hilden

Phone : +49 211 881 5217
Fax : +49 211 881 775217

SMSgroup Timmerbeul, Walter

Walter Timmerbeul

SMS group GmbH
Sales Electrical and Automation Processing Lines and Furnaces
Walder Straße 53
40724 Hilden

Phone : +49 211 881 5708
Fax : +49 211 881 775708


Learn about our plant technology covering the entire process chain for the production of high-quality metals.