Case Study Consistently fault-free components with a reduction on production costs

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

Heyco is a specialist not only for forged components but also for demanding plastic parts for the automotive industry. With production locations all over the world, the company has to rely on internationally available, high-quality mould components and hot runner systems.

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A mould for the cowl of a BMW, manufactured by Heyco.
A mould for the cowl of a BMW, manufactured by Heyco.
(Source: Synventive)

Heyco, founded in 1937 by brothers Max and Ernst Heynen, initially produced trowels with focus on technological innovation and building a visionary company. After the turmoil of the war, they built up the production of quality tools, which they successfully sold to the prospering automotive industry as on-board equipment. As quality generates trust, the first auto-metalworking orders for the young company soon followed. The company's activities grew in breadth as did their drop-forging capability for automotive drive technology components and other areas of automotive engineering. With foresight, the first drop-forging hammer was used in 1961 with the opening of the Heyco-Werk Süd in Bayerischer Wald/Tittling and the intensification of drop forging was driven forward.

As plastics and plastic components found their way into the automotive industry, the strategic decision of Ernst Peter Heynen resulted in Heyco taking the decisive step in 1980 to enter the field of plastic technologies. Today, the company focuses on the business areas of “Forged Components” and “Technical Plastic Products”. Carl Steinmann GmbH, a Heyco subsidiary, completed the field of activities with “IML In-Mould-Labelling”, “Quality Tools” and the field of plastics processing. In 2017, the company had over 1,000 employees working at six international locations with sales of approximately 140 million euro.

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The Heyco-Werk Süd is an important pulse generator of the Heyco Group. In addition to the development and production of drop-forged components, the threads for the future-oriented production of technical plastic products come together here.

With a strategic view into the future, Heyco has made a name for itself as a specialist for the development and production of windshield/water cowls, liquid and expansion tanks, air intake systems, and system components for interior air-conditioning for the world's leading automobile manufacturers. These plastic components are also in high demand in the growing field of electro-mobility.

“We are a creative and innovative strategy and development partner for our OEM customers,” says Alexander Ritzinger, Head of Tool Management Plastics Technology. In his function as a human interface between development and production, Ritzinger is involved in the development of new plastic components at an early stage, ensuring the actual feasibility of the development engineers' ideas.

“In some cases, we are only given a build volume in the engine compartment and the functions that a component has to fulfill. From this “black box”, we then develop the functional component with all the checks and test criteria that we have available in our test field. Even in this development phase, the very highest engineering performance is required. We have to set the course right at the beginning of our thinking process to be able to produce a fault-free component later in series production,” says Ritzinger.

Alexander Ritzinger, Head of Tool Management Plastics Technology at Heyco, with a windshield cowl for the BMW X2, developed by Heyco.
Alexander Ritzinger, Head of Tool Management Plastics Technology at Heyco, with a windshield cowl for the BMW X2, developed by Heyco.
(Source: Synventive)

Before a component concept goes into the first production phase as a prototype, Heyco carries out extensive tests and simulation runs. For example, quality assurance standards include mould flow, warpage, FEM structure analysis, tool temperature calculations and fibre distribution in the component. Prototypes are fully examined in their functionality in bursting pressure and heat chambers, as well as in complex long-term tests before a series production release is given. Currently, Heyco operates almost 100 injection moulding machines with clamping forces between 40 t and 1,700 t, which are used for one, two and three-component injection moulding.