June 4--The ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks group has built a new plant in Bursa in western Turkey. Production will start in September, when the company will become Turkey's first manufacturer of laser welded tailored blanks. Car manufacturers, including Ford, Fiat, Renault, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai, produce around 700,000 vehicles a year in Turkey, mainly for export.
Market observers predict that the number of cars produced in Turkey will rise to one million per year by the year 2010.
In Bursa, roughly 90 kilometers south of Istanbul at the foot of the Uludag mountains, Renault and Fiat operate production sites in joint ventures with local partners. The new ThyussenKrupp Tailored Blanks plant will be busy from the start with supplies to the two manufacturers. It will make blanks for the Fiat Linea notchback sedan and a small van for Fiat and PSA as well as for the notchback version of the Renault Megane.
The facility will intially operate one laser welding line for linear tailored blanks. The 4000 square meter building offers space for further expansion.
Tailored blanks are sheets of different thickness, steel grade, and coating that are joined together by laser welding. At the car plant, the blanks can be formed for example into doors, tailgates, floors and side members. Tailored blanks are deisgned from the outset to match the loads in the finished part. Today, up to 25 percent of a car body can be made from tailored blanks, resulting in weight reductions of 20 to 40 percent.