New automatic welding system makes car production cheaper

November 5, 2013
New automatic welding system makes car production cheaper
Credit: Shutterstock

European researchers have found a way make the automotive sector more eco-friendly, while at the same time cutting production costs. The EU-funded project SMARTDRESS ('Adaptive tip dress control for automated resistance spot welding') is developing a fully automated control system to improve crucial welding processes.

The global automotive sector produces around 60 million vehicles per year. In the primary stages of , manufacturers rely heavily on resistance spot-welding (RSW), a process in which steel or other metal surfaces are joined by heat generated by electric current.

In this phase of car production, manufacturers use RSW guns with electrode 'tips' - the elements that are placed directly in contact with the metal pieces to transmit current. When these tips get worn, weld quality can suffer, resulting in interruptions in production, and, by extension, loss of revenues.

According to project partners, most spot weld quality problems can be traced to poor electrode tip dressing. This is a major cause of interruptions in the manufacturing process.

With a new vehicle typically rolling off a every one to two minutes, a welding tip issue causing even a five-minute line stoppage, once per day, can result in a loss of 10 vehicles per week, equating to about EUR 7 million in lost revenue per year.

Dresser systems for maintaining tip quality are already in use on many production lines, but current solutions require manual set-up, optimisation and continued monitoring during production, which cannot be efficiently performed for large production lines.

In addition, today's tip dress systems cannot be used in the high-volume production of aluminium assemblies, preventing the use of RSW and requiring high-cost technologies such as self-pierced riveting.

The SMARTDRESS system will be intelligent, automatically optimising, monitoring and maintaining RSW electrode tip quality.

The new technology will allow for the first time aluminium welding, which until now was not done on a commercial scale. This technique will lower the cost of manufacturing vehicles made from aluminium. The widespread use of aluminium for vehicles would reduce vehicle weight, and potentially help cut CO2 emissions.

The SMARTDRESS system may provide a real competitive edge, allowing European automotive suppliers to sell more cars in an important global market.

SMARTDRESS has received over EUR 1.1 million in EU funding and will complete its work before the end of 2013.

Explore further: Weight loss for healthier cars

More information: smartdress-project.eu/
cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/101398_en.html

Related Stories

Weight loss for healthier cars

November 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Swinburne research team has developed a joining system that overcomes obstacles to the wider use of magnesium in the automotive industry.

Laser welding as an engine of innovation

April 29, 2013

Lasers have long been able to do what traditional welding guns can. Nevertheless, many manufacturers did not dare employ the delicate technology in the raw environment of their assembly floors. At LASER 2013 (Hall C2, Booth ...

Recommended for you

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.