A wide range of fabrication technologies are used by the industry, whether for heavy vehicles, through volume or niche car manufacture to motorcycles. Materials too vary from metals to composites. TWI's expertise across these techniques and materials makes it well placed to offer independent, authoritative assistance to help manufacturers develop and implement suitable approaches to meet their goals.
Industry challenges associated with competition and providing more sustainable transport solutions require manufacturers to respond with a continuing programme of innovation and development of reliable fabrication strategies. Even traditional fabrication processes such as spot welding can require adaption when used on modern coated materials or higher strength steels.
More modern approaches, for example the use of laser joining, continually evolve as the laser technology available in the market develops. Another area of change is adhesive technology and how it is best used in combination with other joining technologies, perhaps to improve sealing and noise, harshness and vibration performance.
When selecting and developing the most appropriate fabrication technology it is now also important to take into account the approaches that will be adopted for disassembly.
Many manufacturers are increasingly turning to composite materials to assist with lightweighting, but here too there are issues with the fabrication, not least the cycle time to cure the composite structures and the need for joining between the composite and metal components.
TWI is uniquely placed to assist with these issues because its 700 staff include experts in the many fabrication technologies and materials involved. TWI teams have worked with vehicle manufacturers in Europe, USA, Japan and China, all of whom value the independent, innovative insights that TWI contributes.
- Spot welding - including process development for higher strength steels
- Laser welding - providing opportunities for flange width reduction and stiffer vehicle designs
- Laser brazing - high visual quality joints
- Adhesives - complete adhesive solution for aluminium chassis assembly
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