Dissimilar Metal Welding in the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry continues to go from strength to strength, as the demand for, and usage of, automobiles continues to rise. It has links with many of the other industries that we operate within, such as the electronics and battery industries.
There are many products involved within the industry, with the principal source of revenue and growth coming from passenger automobiles and light trucks, things such as vans or pickups. Large delivery or transport trucks, often called commercial vehicles, are also a key part of the industry, although not as much as a contributor to the growth as passenger automobiles.
There are thousands of parts involved in the creation of the many variations of automobile that we see being manufactured every year. Dissimilar metal welding lies at the heart of this, helping to get the vehicles manufactured efficiently and on the road safely. Below we have explored the automotive industry, and its use of dissimilar metal welding, in greater detail.
The automotive industry
It is an industry that has its roots dating back as far as the 1860s, but it is safe to say that it has undergone a great deal of change and development over the decades since. Roughly 77.8 million vehicles are predicted to be manufactured in 2017 globally, with the value of the automotive industry in the UK alone reported to be around £71.6 billion.
Relying on many different people and parts in the manufacturing process, it is an industry that requires efficient, cost-effective and reliable systems, and dissimilar metal welding performed by fiber lasers is one of the best solutions for this.
Given that the industry continues to grow from year to year, and is constantly adapting and responding to new changes such as the rise of electric cars, dissimilar metal welding using a fiber laser is a process that can easily adapt to this change.
What metals are used in this industry?
There are dozens of materials involved in the manufacture of cars such as plastics, leather and even carbon and fibreglass with some vehicles. Metal, however, is the most important material for this industry, and forms the very foundations for any vehicle being manufactured.
Steel and aluminium are two of the most common metals used, but you can also find other metals such as titanium, iron and magnesium being used.
Steel is one of the strongest metals available, and is easily the most common metal used when building cars. Its strong and easy-to-work-with nature, plus the fact that it’s cheap, makes it the go-to choice for industries. However, aluminium is much lighter than steel, and, unlike steel, is not susceptible to rust, so these two can make a nice combination when combining their benefits together. You’ll often see steel and aluminium alloys being welded together.
Titanium is commonly used for high-end car parts, and enjoys the highest level of strength for its density, meaning it is both strong and lightweight, so it is easy to see why this is also a popular metal in the industry.
The use of fiber lasers for dissimilar metal welding
Fiber lasers are the perfect choice for high-volume industries such as the automotive sector, where there is a need to produce millions of products every single year at rapid speeds. However, there is also the need for these products to be extremely safe and roadworthy, and this can only be guaranteed by using the right kind of processes.
This is why fiber lasers have gained such importance over the last few years, becoming a key part of heavy industrial sectors such as this one. By offering their users a great deal of control over beam heat, intensity and length, it is a straight-forward process when working with metals that are dissimilar in properties.
Fiber lasers have had a further impact in this industry as, historically, other laser systems have had a difficult time working with aluminium given its reflective nature. This meant that the beam itself was being reflected back into the laser, causing costly damage. A fiber laser, however, does not suffer from this problem, providing huge benefits to the automotive industry.
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