AP&T North America Inc

4817 Persimmon Ct
Monroe,  NC  28110-9314

United States
  • Booth: D41524

 Press Releases

  • To secure their production capacity and minimize the risk of unplanned downtime of their press-hardening lines, Voestalpine in Cartersville, Georgia in the US chose AP&T’s extensive service agreement. It is an investment in security that has proven to be of great value.

    For Voestalpine in Cartersville, time is of the essence. Here, they make structural parts for some of the world’s chief OEMs whose production relies on having a constant flow of parts and components. Unplanned downtime in any part of the delivery chain can have dire consequences.

    “We bear great responsibility towards our customers. If something goes wrong on our end, it causes problems for them too. About a year ago, we were experiencing a lot of pressure in our operations. Production was pretty much running around the clock without pause and we were manufacturing enormous volumes. To suddenly have operational issues when you're in a situation like that could be extremely costly for us and our customers. To minimize that risk, we decided to enter a service agreement with AP&T,” says Fredrik Stålberg, Managing Director and CTO of Voestalpine in Cartersville.

    The agreement covers two press-hardening lines from AP&T that have been in operation since 2017 and that are critical to the facility’s production capacity.

    To ensure high machine availability, voestalpine originally decided to enter a basic service agreement for the two lines. But they soon discovered the value of having a more comprehensive setup.

    “We had very good discussions and went through their needs and conditions in detail, after which, we put together a proposal for a significantly more extensive service commitment,” says Magnus Svenningsson, Director of Aftermarket Sales at AP&T. 

    The agreement signed in the spring of 2022 includes regular preventative maintenance, 24/7 online support and on-site assistance with priority response time, all at a fixed monthly cost.

    “It's working out perfectly. We now have access to quick, qualified support, even in the evenings and on weekends, which we benefited greatly from on a few occasions. Though most problems can be resolved remotely, it's nice to know that an AP&T technician can come out at short notice if needed,” says Stålberg.

    Tobias Kronstedt, Aftermarket Service Manager in AP&T in the US, also has a positive view of the new setup.

    “With this new agreement, we can provide Voestalpine with exactly the support they need to secure production. Our collaboration has come along nicely,” he says.

    For the future, Voestalpine is considering taking advantage of more aspects of AP&T's service offering.

    “We're currently in discussions with AP&T about designing an agreement to guarantee our uptime. For instance, this could mean handing over stocking spare machine parts to AP&T and having them guarantee that we will have the parts within a certain amount of time. This could free up warehouse space and reduce tied-up capital, which we naturally see as being very advantageous,” says Stålberg.


    • Voestalpine in Cartersville, Georgia, USA is a sub-supplier of parts and components to the automotive industry and has many leading OEMs as customers.
    • The production equipment includes two press-hardening lines from AP&T used to produce structural parts.
    • To ensure high machine availability, Voestalpine chose to sign an extensive service agreement with AP&T.

    Read more about AP&T's service agreements and other services: https://aptgroup.com/solutions/aftermarket-services

    Read more about Voestalpine, Cartersville, Georgia, USA: https://www.voestalpine.com/automotivecomponents/Standorte/NAFTA/voestalpine-Automotive-Components-Cartersville-Inc
  • How big an impact on the climate does a press-hardening line have during its lifetime? And how does the use of press-hardened parts affect the climate performance of vehicles? This is information that many vehicle manufacturers are requesting and that AP&T can now provide. 

    In collaboration with RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, AP&T has comprehensively analyzed the life cycle of a typical press-hardening line. The analysis covers the climate impact at all stages of a line that is assumed to be in use for 20 years, from the extraction of iron ore to the recycling of the machine at its end-of-life. Continuous maintenance and a reconstruction of the line are also included in the calculations.

    In addition, they have analyzed how the total climate emissions from the end product – a passenger car – are affected by the components used in its structure. 

    “The data that life cycle analyses provide primarily give us a stable basis for our own continued climate work and help us more easily prioritize which measures we should focus on. In addition, we can offer our customers a third-party audited, factual basis that helps them calculate and report the total climate impact of their products and make the right decisions for the future,” says Christer Bäckdahl, CTO at AP&T.

    Many factors affect the outcome

    There are many parameters that affect the scope of the climate impact a press-hardening line has during its life cycle, and these vary from case to case. In general, AP&T's analyses show that the absolute majority of climate emissions are related to energy consumption during the operational phase. But the extent is determined to a great degree by the energy mix – i.e., the energy sources used to produce the electricity needed to run the line. Hydro and wind power have very little climate impact, while emissions from fossil energy sources such as coal, oil and fossil gas are significant.

    “This entails different outcomes depending on where generation takes place. Sweden's energy mix, for example, has only one-fifth the climate impact of Britain’s. But regardless of where production is located, it is always important to optimize energy use and choose energy-efficient alternatives. Take, for example, our servohydraulic press, which is up to 70 percent more energy efficient than our conventional hydraulic presses.”

    An interesting question is how a finished car performs climate-wise during its life cycle in relation to the materials used to manufacture its structural parts. If you factor in the steel-making process and parts manufacturing, which is better: press-hardened steel or cold-formed high-strength steel?

    “Thanks to the fact that press hardening strengthens the steel, less material is required for each part. This gives a lower weight, making the car lighter than when using cold-formed steel. This has a positive effect on the car's energy consumption and climate impact, which compensates, by a good margin, for the emissions arising from material production and component manufacturing,” says Bäckdahl.

    Considering that many car manufacturers are asking for the type of information a life cycle analysis can provide, AP&T is expecting to do more analyses of specific lines and products in the future.

    “We will be developing this offer because we know many customers will benefit from it,” says Bäckdahl.

    Also in collaboration with RISE, AP&T has recently carried out a corresponding life cycle analysis of a production line for hot forming of high-strength aluminum.

  • We have reached a new milestone. In October 2022, AP&T received an order for its 150th press-hardening line, thereby securing their position as the leading global supplier of press-hardening equipment for the automotive industry. The customer is Liuzhou Saike, subsidiary of one of China's largest auto manufacturers, SAIC Motor.

    Twenty years ago, when AP&T decided to invest in press hardening, it was not easy to predict just how far things could lead. Today, the company is one of the most prominent suppliers of production lines for manufacturing press-hardened components and has auto manufacturers and sub-suppliers from around the world on their list of customers. How did that come about?

    Ford Mustang kick start

    “In 2002, we were approached about delivering a press and a few linear robots for a line that would be used to press-harden fender components for the Ford Mustang in the US. The collaboration was a successful one and sparked the decision to increase our process expertise. We realized that the area held great potential,” says Mats Lindman, an AP&T Sales Manager who has been on the greater part of the company’s successful press-hardening journey.

    In 2004, the company conducted its first major press-hardening deal under the name of AP&T to supply Benteler Automotive in the US with three production lines. The following year, Benteler placed an order for yet another line, this time for its Changchun, China facility.

    First line to China

    “It was our first delivery of a press-hardening line to China, which would become our single largest market for this type of equipment after just a few years. It’s been 18 years, but the line we installed in 2005 is still in full operation!”

    The foundation for continued success in China was laid when Bao Steel, the third largest sheet metal manufacturer in the world, contacted AP&T in 2006. Mats Lindman was also key to that customer relationship.

    “They wanted to more deeply explore the opportunities press hardening offers. In order to demo the technology and test-manufacture various components for Bao Steel, we built up a complete line at our facilities. It eventually resulted in orders for several lines for them in China,” he says.

    The breakthrough - five lines for Fiat

    At this time, demand for AP&T's press-hardening solutions was also increasing in Europe and the US. A major breakthrough came when Fiat placed an order for five complete production lines for their factory in Cassino, Italy in 2008.

    This opened up for deals throughout the world with OEMs and suppliers of car parts and components, causing the automotive industry to grow into one of AP&T's largest customer categories.

    “Parts manufactured with AP&T’s press-hardening equipment are currently used by most major car manufacturers. Aside from the OEMs already mentioned, the list includes Volkswagen, Volvo and Great Wall Motors, who we either have, or have had, direct relationships with through the years. Many first-time deals led to more business,” says Lindman.

    150 lines ordered

    Press-hardening line number 100 from AP&T was installed in the spring of 2018 at the MA Polska facility in Tychy, southern Poland. And this summer, line number 150 will become operational in Liuzhou Saike's facility in Liuzhou, China. The parts manufactured here are used in SMGW's car models, including the best-selling electric vehicle in China, Hongguang MINI EV. 

    In the 20 years since AP&T's first step toward press-hardening, the technology has consistently developed and been refined.

    Tech development that pushes the boundaries

    “With the help of systems for advanced process control, innovations such as TemperBox®, Multi-Layer Furnace and our servohydraulic press, we have pushed the boundaries of what is possible. The technology has created entirely new possibilities for the automotive industry to effectively design and manufacture components with the desired attributes at a higher, more even quality level. This has in turn led to cars that are safer, lighter and have less of an impact on the climate and environment.”

    According to Mats Lindman, other AP&T success factors are how the offer is viewed, customer relationships and the method of doing business. This approach falls under the One Responsible Partner® label.

    A holistic solution that performs throughout

     “As an experienced expert partner, we do not only deliver high quality machines, but also take responsibility for a turnkey, needs-adapted holistic solution with high lifetime performance.”

    Just as the technology has continuously developed through the years, so has AP&T's service offering. In addition to the service, maintenance, repairs, spare parts and training offered today, the company also offers optimization and upgrades of existing machines, which is often a very lucrative measure for customers. AP&T also offers various forms of availability agreements that are tailored to the customer. 

    “In the future, I believe that there will be a considerable increase in customers who choose contract-based solutions, meaning we will take a more extensive, longer term responsibility. For instance, we already have a performance-based agreement in which you choose to pay a certain amount per press cycle rather than purchase equipment the traditional way. Each new deal marks the start of a journey, and our goal is to make it as easy, profitable, secure and problem-free as we can for each customer.”

    So how is the future of press hardening looking?

    “During the pandemic, demand leveled out for a while, but now the arrows are pointing up again, not only for upgrades of existing machines, but also for new sales. So yes, press hardening absolutely has a future,” says Lindman.

    Read more about AP&T’s total press hardening solution offering at https://aptgroup.com/solutions/automotive/press-hardening