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    Thread: GM spot welding Aluminium

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      09-27-2012 08:02 AM #1
      Just saw this article over at GMinsidenews and through it might be interesting to the more cerebral of our members.

      The link...http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f...uminum-113610/

      The gist.... GM can now spot weld aluminium reliably. It saves weight on rivits and glue and will probably allow further integration of aluminium structures into future GM vehicles (it is all ready used in some currently in production).

      Cheers
      Chris

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      09-27-2012 08:17 AM #2
      Granted I'm not a structural engineer by any means but I thought bonded panels with "glue" was stronger than any spot weld. I can't imagine the weight of the glue adding much. If that's true, I'm confused as to why they even persued this
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      09-27-2012 08:18 AM #3
      Yea, but they shouldn't say saving two pounds actually increases fuel economy...
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      09-27-2012 08:25 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by sicklyscott View Post
      Granted I'm not a structural engineer by any means but I thought bonded panels with "glue" was stronger than any spot weld. I can't imagine the weight of the glue adding much. If that's true, I'm confused as to why they even persued this
      Welding is cheaper than adhesives, even though adhesives are now the preferred way to bond seams in body shells.
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      09-27-2012 08:36 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by sicklyscott View Post
      Granted I'm not a structural engineer by any means but I thought bonded panels with "glue" was stronger than any spot weld. I can't imagine the weight of the glue adding much. If that's true, I'm confused as to why they even persued this
      Speed. A weld is full strength moments after it is finished while adhesives need time to cure. I would also assume that welding is cheaper and surface prep is easier.

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      09-27-2012 08:38 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by sicklyscott View Post
      Granted I'm not a structural engineer by any means but I thought bonded panels with "glue" was stronger than any spot weld. I can't imagine the weight of the glue adding much. If that's true, I'm confused as to why they even persued this
      A continuously bonded joint would be ideal, but since mainstream vehicles (i.e. not exotic super cars) always have compromises to afford cost savings to customer and OEM... spot welding is the better practice. It is faster (not waiting for adhesive to dry... or bake) and more affordable.

      When you already have tons of spot welding equipment... you want to utilize it and not have to add new processes. When you are building mainstream cars (high volume) you can't afford long cycle times for certain operations.

      What is curious is the tool "dresser" which gives the tips the rings. I wonder how long the tips can go before requiring a dressing. That would impact cost/cycle time.
      Last edited by uncleho; 09-27-2012 at 08:40 AM.

    7. 09-27-2012 08:45 AM #7
      Good for GM.
      Now lets hope this translates into cheaper(cost not quality) vehicles for us, or at least higher quality for the same price.

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      09-27-2012 08:46 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by sicklyscott View Post
      Granted I'm not a structural engineer by any means but I thought bonded panels with "glue" was stronger than any spot weld. I can't imagine the weight of the glue adding much. If that's true, I'm confused as to why they even persued this
      As everyone else has said, it's more about cost than strength. There will likely be places that are still bonded for strength, but if a particular section/assembly/part doesn't need adhesives to meet it's design goals, I'm all for the spot welding technique.
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      09-27-2012 09:13 AM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by patrickvr6 View Post
      Speed. A weld is full strength moments after it is finished while adhesives need time to cure. I would also assume that welding is cheaper and surface prep is easier.
      The seam adhesives used today do not require cure time. Seam adhesives for most manufacturers are now provided by 3M - the most common is 3M's VHB tape, which provides an instantaneous bond.

      Seam sealers - a goo which is laid over floor panel seams on the weather exposed side to prevent moisture intrusion - still require some cure time but are typically "ready" by the time the car is being final QC'd and parked.
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      09-27-2012 09:24 AM #10
      Meh. Call me when they start friction stir welding
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      09-27-2012 09:34 AM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      Meh. Call me when they start friction stir welding
      The Toyota Prius's rear hatch inner and outer skin seams are FSW'd.
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      09-27-2012 09:35 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by emmettlodge View Post
      The seam adhesives used today do not require cure time. Seam adhesives for most manufacturers are now provided by 3M - the most common is 3M's VHB tape, which provides an instantaneous bond.

      Seam sealers - a goo which is laid over floor panel seams on the weather exposed side to prevent moisture intrusion - still require some cure time but are typically "ready" by the time the car is being final QC'd and parked.
      They are not referring to seam sealers or trim adhesives. They are talking about bonding structural aluminum panels together.

      The ability to weld aluminum body structures and closures in such a robust fashion will give GM a unique manufacturing advantage...
      This new welding process would replace epoxy type adhesives and riveting.

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      09-27-2012 09:37 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by patrickvr6 View Post
      They are not referring to seam sealers or trim adhesives. They are talking about bonding structural aluminum panels together.
      Yeah, that's what I'm talking about too.
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      09-27-2012 10:09 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by emmettlodge View Post
      Yeah, that's what I'm talking about too.
      Ok, show me a manufacturer that tapes structural parts together.

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      09-27-2012 10:18 AM #15
      "Tape" and tape are not the same thing. And 3M isn't the only game in town - Orbseal invented the seam tape process, and they are part of Henkel now.

      The tapes used for seam sealing and bonding are extruded adhesives without backing material. The word Tape comes from the form it is delivered in, not the traditional tape with a film and adhesive bonded to it.

      Most seam sealers are weld-though, also, and it is unlikely that spotwelding will replace that type of product.

      On a bonded steel unitbody, up to 98% of the seam strength comes from the adhesive. The spotwelds are used to fixture the thing while the adhesive takes its minute to cure.
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      09-27-2012 10:24 AM #16
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      09-27-2012 10:28 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      "Tape" and tape are not the same thing. And 3M isn't the only game in town - Orbseal invented the seam tape process, and they are part of Henkel now.

      The tapes used for seam sealing and bonding are extruded adhesives without backing material. The word Tape comes from the form it is delivered in, not the traditional tape with a film and adhesive bonded to it.

      Most seam sealers are weld-though, also, and it is unlikely that spotwelding will replace that type of product.

      On a bonded steel unitbody, up to 98% of the seam strength comes from the adhesive. The spotwelds are used to fixture the thing while the adhesive takes its minute to cure.
      Thanks for explaining "tape" better than I can

      Cool, I knew about Henkel/Orbseal but didn't know they had invented the process. We deal almost exclusively with 3M here at our company so it's easy to become "product blind" and think nobody else can offer anything

      I would love to see welding disappear completely from structural body manufacturing, if only as a way to further speed up the manufacturing process. I definitely feel today's adhesives are up to the task. They're used so much already anyways.
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      09-27-2012 11:25 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      On a bonded steel unitbody, up to 98% of the seam strength comes from the adhesive.
      Wow. Didn't know that.

      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      The spotwelds are used to fixture the thing while the adhesive takes its minute to cure.
      This makes sense. I assume that spot welding would still speed-up/lessen the cost of this phase of assembly though, correct? It would also do so for other non-critical/larger areas, where costs could be better contained.
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      09-27-2012 11:38 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by CBJ View Post
      Just saw this article over at GMinsidenews and through it might be interesting to the more cerebral of our members.

      The link...http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f...uminum-113610/

      The gist.... GM can now spot weld aluminium reliably. It saves weight on rivits and glue and will probably allow further integration of aluminium structures into future GM vehicles (it is all ready used in some currently in production).

      Cheers
      Chris
      But will this save them from needing another bailout?

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      09-27-2012 12:07 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by theAntiRiced View Post
      Yea, but they shouldn't say saving two pounds actually increases fuel economy...
      2 pounds x 15,000,000 new vehicles x 20,000 miles = quite a lot of fuel savings.....

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      09-27-2012 12:13 PM #21
      I think some of you are misreading the article. The article didn't say it would replace adhesives to create body shells. It said the spot welding will be used to replace aluminum rivets. It did not mention adhesives. This technology would be used in addition to adhesives.
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      09-27-2012 12:17 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by gambit420s View Post
      2 pounds x 15,000,000 new vehicles x 20,000 miles = quite a lot of fuel savings.....
      Agreed.

      I am all for this.

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      09-27-2012 12:19 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      A continuously bonded joint would be ideal, but since mainstream vehicles (i.e. not exotic super cars) always have compromises to afford cost savings to customer and OEM... spot welding is the better practice. It is faster (not waiting for adhesive to dry... or bake) and more affordable.

      When you already have tons of spot welding equipment... you want to utilize it and not have to add new processes. When you are building mainstream cars (high volume) you can't afford long cycle times for certain operations.

      What is curious is the tool "dresser" which gives the tips the rings. I wonder how long the tips can go before requiring a dressing. That would impact cost/cycle time.
      I appreciate your posts, as they are always informative and based upon ACTUAL knowledge in the industry. (unlike the majority of posts in our beloved forum)

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      09-27-2012 12:23 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by gambit420s View Post
      2 pounds x 15,000,000 new vehicles x 20,000 miles = quite a lot of fuel savings.....
      The way I read it is that it would replace the rivets in existing panels and allow them to create new panels out of aluminum where before they could only use steel because of limitation of the riveting procedure.

      Current panels would be better and new panels would be possible.

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      09-27-2012 05:06 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
      I think some of you are misreading the article. The article didn't say it would replace adhesives to create body shells. It said the spot welding will be used to replace aluminum rivets. It did not mention adhesives. This technology would be used in addition to adhesives.
      Agreed. It's always nice to have a lot of options for engineers to choose from. When you think about it... the history/experience/equipment for spot welding is so prolific that it makes a lot of sense to evolve it more in order to incorporate aluminum.

      A lot of people wonder why "new materials" aren't used more often in big MFG industries like autos. The simple answer revolves around the simple fact that A LOT of not only money (processes), but time (experience/know-how) already forms a strong foundation in MFG. And just tossing that aside to jump on something fairly new is risky. New materials are always being tried... and maybe some day something will overtake the traditional methods, but there is a reason why some more traditional methods are so beloved... THEY MEET THE CRITERIA THE INDUSTRY REQUIRES!

      The advent of this will surely help bring aluminum to more and more of what we mainstream customers can afford.

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      09-27-2012 05:09 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by .LSinLV. View Post
      I appreciate your posts, as they are always informative and based upon ACTUAL knowledge in the industry. (unlike the majority of posts in our beloved forum)

      Just trying help.

      I think the cool thing about the net today is that anybody can Google so much information about the industry it ain't funny! When I was a kid, I couldn't find 90% of what I can find in 5 seconds in the several sets of encyclopedias my dad bought for us.

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      09-27-2012 05:13 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      "Tape" and tape are not the same thing. And 3M isn't the only game in town - Orbseal invented the seam tape process, and they are part of Henkel now.

      The tapes used for seam sealing and bonding are extruded adhesives without backing material. The word Tape comes from the form it is delivered in, not the traditional tape with a film and adhesive bonded to it.

      Most seam sealers are weld-though, also, and it is unlikely that spotwelding will replace that type of product.

      On a bonded steel unitbody, up to 98% of the seam strength comes from the adhesive. The spotwelds are used to fixture the thing while the adhesive takes its minute to cure.
      I love it when these topics come up, because they're like the Bat signal for an edumacation by Atomicalex.

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      09-27-2012 05:15 PM #28
      Atomicalex,

      BTW... can you shed any light on how adhesives affect recycling of steel and/or aluminum bodies parts? I've always wondered if they hindered the process... and/or cause pollution issues at melt.

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      09-27-2012 08:23 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post
      Atomicalex,

      BTW... can you shed any light on how adhesives affect recycling of steel and/or aluminum bodies parts? I've always wondered if they hindered the process... and/or cause pollution issues at melt.
      Now that's an excellent question. I wouldn't think it would hinder the process, but pollution issues? I would think so, yeah.
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      09-27-2012 08:49 PM #30
      Spot welds don't catch fire!







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      09-27-2012 09:05 PM #31
      This is absolutely fascinating! This answers a question I had in a previous thread about how they were going to fasten aluminum body panels to each other. On the other hand I still want to see what they are going to do when they have to fasten the aluminum panels to steel parts. My guess is either they'll use CRES fasteners.

      This innovation is pretty cool. I'm betting this will lead the way to some really neat stuff in the near future.

      obin
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    32. 09-27-2012 09:25 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Obin Robinson View Post
      This is absolutely fascinating! This answers a question I had in a previous thread about how they were going to fasten aluminum body panels to each other. On the other hand I still want to see what they are going to do when they have to fasten the aluminum panels to steel parts. My guess is either they'll use CRES fasteners.

      This innovation is pretty cool. I'm betting this will lead the way to some really neat stuff in the near future.

      obin
      well, that's been done too

      http://technoworldzz.blogspot.ca/201...y-to-weld.html

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      09-27-2012 09:33 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Air-over-water View Post
      Good for GM.
      Now lets hope this translates into cheaper(cost not quality) vehicles for us, or at least higher quality for the same price.
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      09-27-2012 09:38 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by I once had a jetta View Post
      BMW also tacked that with the last 5 series. They used special rivets and adhesive to bond the aluminum front frame rails to the steel body. It has played hell with the insurance and aftermarket repair industry as the rivets are only available from BMW and there is only one supplier for the approved adhesive.

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      09-27-2012 09:46 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by uncleho View Post

      What is curious is the tool "dresser" which gives the tips the rings. I wonder how long the tips can go before requiring a dressing. That would impact cost/cycle time.
      They can probably send the robot to the dresser while the parts are in transit, so it's possible it's completely masked and there's no impact. We do that with a lot of adhesive applications where the tip has to be cleaned frequently.

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