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Hydroforming and new welding methods help reduce vehicle weight

New CAFE standards have automakers reaching for any technology they can find to help improve fuel economy. Many manufacturers are going to electric vehicles or hybrids to increase their overall fleet mileage averages. The problem with focusing only on hybrids and electric vehicles, however, is that most consumers aren't in the market for that type of vehicle.

On traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, automakers are increasingly turning to weight savings as a way to help improve fuel economy. The lighter a vehicle can be made, the less weight the engine has to push or pull around and the less fuel it uses because engines could be made smaller without sacrificing performance.

Some automakers are even turning to removing some features of cars such as CD players and the spare tire to reduce weight according to the Detroit News. Both General Motors and Ford are turning to new processes in vehicle assembly to help remove weight from the body of mainstream vehicles.


2013 Ford Fusion
 
Many automakers are using aluminum rather than steel to help reduce the weight of their vehicles. Hoods, trunks, and lift gates as well as door skins are commonly made from aluminum today. Ford is also experimenting with carbon fiber on the Focus.

Switching to lighter materials isn't the only way automakers are going about reducing the weight of the vehicles they produce. They're also reducing weight by changing the manufacturing processes used. Ford, for instance, is using hydroforming on the steel structural pillars of its 2013 Fusion.

One of the big benefits of hydroforming is that it allows the forming of complicated and larger parts that don't need to be welded together. Traditional stamping produces multiple parts that have to be welded at joints. Those joints are points of weakness and add weight. Using hydroforming, rather than other forms of stamping, sheds 18 pounds from each car by eliminating the additional welds.

GM is also doing its part testing a thermal-forming process for lightweight magnesium that weighs 75% less than steel. GM also plans to use a patented welding technology to allow the company to integrate more aluminum into automotive bodies by saving the company from using rivets to join aluminum body panels. The use of the welding process rather than rivets will cut nearly 2 pounds from parts such as hoods, lift gates, and doors.

Source: Detroit News



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RE: Hilarious
By Reclaimer77 on 10/25/2012 4:01:54 PM , Rating: 1
Good to know three other morons failed in high school physics just like you did, to get that laughable 4 rating.

quote:
Have you guys ever seen a train wreck? Based on the bigger/heavier argument, you would think nobody should ever get hurt or die in a train wreck...


Great argument! Because you know, trains have three point safety harnesses, airbags out the wazoo, dual crumple zones, per-tentioners, etc etc!!! Uh no, trains have ZERO passenger safety measures.

quote:
I will never understand why Americans think heavier means safer. Probably because they didn't like physics in school.


You failed physics, big time I'm afraid. This fact has already been confirmed by safety testing organizations using loads of compiled data of accidents. All things equal in safety equipment, the larger heavier car is safer in a collision. Every time.

It's called physics, look it up. This is an educational and fun tool, tuned for someone of your...aptitude.

http://www.fearofphysics.com/Collide/collide.html


"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch














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