A warm, sunny day in Guildford, UK was the ideal opportunity for Impression Technologies to bring together members of the HFQ Partner Network, a group of likeminded businesses from the global light-weighting ecosystem world who believe that HFQ (Hot Form Quench) Technology plays a key role in the future of sustainable lightweight aluminium structures.

The group, which Impression Technologies founded in 2019 and is a proud member of, held a networking event at the Guildford Harbour Hotel, where short insightful presentations and discussion panels were the orders of the day. With around 40 attendees present, delegates travelled from around the world to be there, with representatives from Novelis (Canada), UACJ (Japan), Gränges (Sweden), Ebner (Austria), fischer group (Germany), Benteler (Germany), FEV (Germany), Atlas Copco (UK), Fagor Arrasate (Spain) and many more, including those who couldn’t be there personally, but joined the event online from Germany, US, China and Mexico to deliver presentations and offer their thoughts on the industry.

Topics of discussion

Throughout the event, much of the conversation was geared towards the automotive industry, and how aluminium can play a key role in the electrification of transportation, particularly with the growing focus on recycled material content supporting the sustainability and low CO2 targets of the OEMs, and innovative designs for vehicles in the future. Can we make structures more cost effective and simpler? Can we make new stronger aluminium parts to support new challenging crash requirements? Can we achieve very low CO2 content aluminium material through greater adoption of end-of-life scrap? Overall, will OEMs benefit by utilising parts designed and made from the HFQ process? These were just some of the questions put to attendees, with informative input provided from across the room.

Members firmly believe that HFQ technology has a significant role in the future of the automotive industry, with its ability to make new deep drawn and complex geometry parts, and its sustainability benefits coming from recycled aluminium use, certainly turning heads, as the lighter materials in automotive vehicles mean higher fuel efficiency or longer battery range. The ability to form tight radii and reduce width of pillars in upper structures was a point of discussion for Andrew Kay, Head of Body Structures at Aston Martin, who faced questions about the potential for HFQ being used by the luxury sports car manufacturer.

Tim McGuire, Director of Aerospace at Impression Technologies discussed the enormous potential of HFQ for aircraft structures. The capabilities of HFQ for avoiding spring-back, reducing material waste, and eliminating secondary process steps could lead to HFQ being used as the primary aluminium forming technique for a variety of key parts used in aeroplanes, from jet engine lip skins and nacelles to fairings, tables, seats pans/backs and armrests.

After the presentations, a discussion forum was opened up to attendees.

“The event was great! It is wonderful that we can all finally meet up after two years of Covid-19 restrictions. HFQ is the future, and Impression Technologies is a fantastic company to work with!”

Andreas Ebner – Ebner

“The Impression Technologies team is very knowledgeable, and this is an important event for the industry. It’s only a matter of time before HFQ becomes the industry standard – it truly is the future!”

Pawel Rutecki – Gränges