In recent decades, there has been a significant shift from steel to aluminum when it comes to vehicle manufacturing due to the material being easier to manipulate, lighter, and less expensive. Now, almost all automakers have shifted to aluminum for their cars and even the military has jumped onto the aluminum bandwagon and incorporated aluminum in many of their vehicles.
The year 2014 saw the move of Ford from 1,000 pounds of steel to 600 pounds of aluminum for their F150 trucks. Due to this switch in material, the latest edition F150 trucks gained fuel efficiency of about 29%. It’s handling and braking behavior has also greatly improved due to its lighter frame.
Moreover, it’s been found out that an all-aluminum truck is far safer than an all-steel one. The body of the truck is sturdier and more resistant to dents.
For employees the use of spot welding in joining metals for their cars. This involves the use of mechanical fasteners as well as industrial adhesives to join together different sections of aluminum parts.
General Motors ranked as the 4th largest car manufacturer in the world releasing over 8 million units into the streets every year.
It’s fierce rivalry with another American car manufacturer, Ford, has pushed GM to innovate and create new designs for their products to stay competitive and ahead of its competitions. In 2008 GM incorporated the use of aluminum into their vehicles to help increase fuel efficiency owing to the fact that aluminum is lighter than steel.
In 2015, a company named Voestalpine developed a complex welding technique to join aluminum and steel together. But the process was far too complex and expensive at that time for widespread adoption in auto manufacturing.
GM found a more streamlined and cost-effective approach which they used to create their line of hybrid aluminum-steel vehicles. Spot welding was used on doors, tailgates, and hoods of their vehicles. The technique allowed GM to roll out vehicles that are lighter and cheaper which greatly attracted customers who are conscious of car prices.
The vehicles that the US military usually preferred were seen as rugged, robust, sturdy, and reliable. But fuel-efficient and cost-effective, their vehicles were not. So it would surprise almost anyone to know that the military has developed a new technology called friction stir dovetailing. This process combines welding and carpentry.
In welding, metals are heated until they have melted in order to shape and bond them to other metals. The dovetail carpentry technique follows the same process; two pieces of wood are connected by an interlocking join resembling a dove’s tail.
Friction stir dovetail makes use of the dovetail groove but this time in steel. A spinning head tool applies pressure to the aluminum and heats the metal using friction to make it malleable enough to fit into the groove. The same tool is used to heat the bottom of the dovetail groove to create a thin bond between the two metal pieces holding them in place.
Variable polarity gas metal arc welding, magnetic pulse welding, two-wire GMAW, dual-beam laser welding, and conductive heat resistance seam welding also offer promising alternatives to the traditional methods used in car manufacturing. These new technologies offer improved conductivity, fewer weld defects, and a higher tolerance for joint root openings.
All these innovations like the dual-beam laser welding or best TIG welder for the money might seem very futuristic but the car manufacturing industry is only warming up. Relative to other industries, auto manufacturing is a relatively new industry and one that highly benefits from the advances of science and technology.
Scientists around the world are hard at work looking for new methods to make manufacturing efficient. More are experimenting with exotic materials that are easy to manufacture, strong, light, and cheap for the new line of vehicles being released in recent years.
The hype and popularity of electric vehicles that seem to grip the world today are putting a lot of pressure on many car manufacturers to rethink how they design and build cars for the future. Because e-vehicles are very sensitive to weight owing to lithium batteries taking up space and costing a lot of money in the overall cost of the vehicle, automakers are trying to improve efficiency and range by creating lighter vehicles. And while aluminum has always been their go-to material when they want to shed a few pounds off of their vehicles, many have considered turning to composite material like carbon fiber which has made a lot of metallurgical experts and manufacturers quite nervous.
Jamie Mervin is an avid blogger who loves to cover a wide range of topics from careers and finance to travel and leisure. She is found seeking adventure activities when she is not writing. She is currently working with weldingpicks, which offers reliable reviews of the best welding respirator, welding rod, best tig welder for the money and more.