Shiloh Industries, Valley City, Ohio, creates laser-welded blanks out of aluminum, adapting technology that has been used for decades to cut weight and material in steel automotive parts.
Since the technology’s introduction in the 1980s, tailored metal blanks have saved automakers millions of tons of steel. By combining thick and thin steel sheets that get stamped into shape in automotive press shops, they support complex structural parts in most cars and trucks.
Tailoring blanks allows companies to make door panels that are stronger and thicker where they have to absorb crash damage but thinner everywhere else, reducing metal use and lowering vehicle weights. But it’s a steel-born technology, and tailoring blanks is much harder to do in other metals—a problem as automotive companies transition many parts from steel to aluminum.
Mon, April 6, 2015