Every few months, we at EQS and 4M send out a newsletter covering info related to the sheet metal forming industries. Topics in a recent newsletter included material selection strategies at automakers, friction stir welding, servo presses, Tesla build quality, and laser blanking. If you want to get on the distribution list, please sign up on the EQS website.
Here’s a reprint of that newsletter from the 4th quarter of 2018:
—- 2018 Newsletter Reprint —-
In these mailings, I’ll be highlighting the latest news that I think that sheet metal users and producers will find interesting and informative. We do want to hear from you – if there are topics you want to know more about, just let me know. I’ll see what I can find and report back to everyone in a future issue. I might even include the information in the “Knowledge Base” section of www.EQSgroup.com!
Know anyone who might enjoy this newsletter? Please do forward this on to them! They can get on the mailing list here. It’s our intention to send out a newsletter around 4 to 6 times a year.
Finally, if you’d prefer these newsletters to go to a different email address (or you’d prefer not to receive it at all), please let me know.
—- Sheet Forming Industry News —-
Automakers need to consider strength, stiffness, manufacturing, weight, and cost – and many more characteristics – when choosing between sheet steel and aluminum alloys for their body structure. Steelmakers and aluminum producers are eager to help: 2 tons of sheetmetal are purchased for 17 million vehicles sold each year in the US – there is no other industry with such high-volume sales opportunities. Read my article in the May 2018 issue of MetalForming Magazine!
Friction Stir Dovetailing developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory joins thick plates of aluminum to steel through a combination of mechanical interlocking and metallurgical bonding formed during a single process. See the article here and see a video of the process here.
SET-Chicago to start laser blanking in 2019: SET Enterprises orders laser blanking line from Schuler Group for exposed/unexposed automotive stampings. 3 laser heads to cut blank shapes with straight line cutting speeds >100 m/min from a 60 m/min moving coil. Press release.
XL Specialized Trailers switched to HSLA steel and saved 1100 pounds (20%) from their frame on their heavy-haul trailer. No design changes needed, just steel grade substitution. Article.
Great article on aluminum lubrication by Chris Fletcher of Tower Metalworking Fluids @TowerMWF! You should consider corrosion, cleaning, and characteristics of metal alloy in lube selection. Article
Chris is also speaking at the MetalForming Magazine “Lubrication Technology for Metalformers” conference in February. He’ll highlight the importance of selecting the right lube for each type of sheet metal. Conference.
183 new North American automotive vehicle launches from 2016-2018 is forecast to decrease to 155 new vehicles between 2019-2021 [from Harbour Results]. Considering each new launch comes with a price tag of close to $1BB to the automaker, there is still significant spending going on, However, with 10 fewer launches per year, and $150MM or so in stamping tools per launch, that’s roughly $1.5BB fewer dollars being spent in the tooling industry each year.
There are only 35 high end Schuler servo stamping presses in auto manufacturing worldwide and the one at Tesla is the first one in the US. The equipment has allowed Tesla to form unique parts, like the Model 3 front fender, which engineers say has greater depth in a single piece of stamped steel than any other fender in production. Tesla chose to build a factory to handle all of its seat production, making it unique in an industry where its competitors all outsource seats. This is a good article highlighting manufacturing of the Model 3..
Speaking of Tesla, they are taking steps to improve their build quality. There is a recently issued patent describing a new type of clamping assembly method that allows some flexibility between panels during manufacturing. Article.
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Danny Schaeffler supports automotive and non-automotive OEMs and their stamping supply chain, as well as steel and aluminum producers and their service centers. His 30-year career has focused on materials selection and optimization, tooling buyoff, field formability analyses, manufacturing process improvement, and cost savings/cost avoidance projects. Whether you need problem solving, hands-on analysis, or materials guidance through EQS or training and professional development through 4M, be sure to contact Danny with your sheet metal forming challenges!