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  • Report: General Motors’ Innovative Low-Cost Aluminum Welding Technique

Report: General Motors’ Innovative Low-Cost Aluminum Welding Technique

Technology Could Allow Adoption of Aluminum at Dramatically Lower Cost

Nov 24, 2014
Ford may have stolen the headlines for being first to market with a high-volume, mainstream aluminum vehicle with the F-150, but General Motors may have a secret trump card that could allow the company to make the transition to aluminum bodies at a far lower cost than Ford incurred with its $359-million overhaul of its Dearborn truck plant to make the new aluminum-bodied F-150, according to Automotive News.
GM’s aluminum welding technique upgrades existing welding machinery typically used for steel welding and adapts it for aluminum welding. The major hardware upgrades required are a liquid coolant system to keep the welding tips cool, a resurfacing machine for the copper welding tips, and an additional power transformer to handle the higher voltage needed to weld aluminum.
GM’s production method differs from that of most other manufacturers that use aluminum extensively, such as Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, and Ford, which use the more typical rivet and adhesive bonding. Even with this promising new technology, GM has not publicly committed to a fully aluminum pickup or car, saying it believes the right mix of materials combining high-strength steel, aluminum, and composites can yield the best overall balance of strength and weight reduction.
Source: Automotive News

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