Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

FP7

SmartDress Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 286598
Gefördert unter: FP7-SME
Land: Italy

Final Report Summary - SMARTDRESS (Adaptive Tip dress Control for Automated Resistance Spot Welding)


Executive Summary:

The global automotive sector currently produces around 60 million vehicles per annum, relying heavily on the resistance spot welding joining process for manufacturing the auto body, with a typical family car containing up to 5000 spot welds. For this, production lines utilise spot welding guns to apply the welds, each using consumable copper electrodes to contact the work pieces and transmit current to make the weld. The spot welding process offers a high level of reliability with modern welding systems able to accurately control and monitor spot welding process times, currents and forces.

However, one aspect of the spot welding process that is not tightly controlled is the wear of the welding electrode tips. Zinc coated steels are the most popular car body material, but zinc rapidly degrades the electrode to the point where maintenance is required to ensure an adequate weld quality is produced. The car industry is increasing the volumes of aluminium used in vehicles for the purpose of weight saving; to achieve better fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. One major disadvantage of aluminium is that it alloys very aggressively to copper welding electrodes, causing a rate of wear that makes spot welding of aluminium uneconomical for mass production. Consequently other, more expensive and less efficient joining techniques are currently used.

Electrode wear can be repaired by a technique known as ‘tip dressing’ where a mechanical cutter removes material from the tip face repairing any damage and returns the tip to its optimum geometry. Today nearly all modern automotive spot welding lines run production with automated tip dressing, but even these systems do not offer a complete solution. In current practice electrode maintenance schedules are set up by hand in time consuming production trials and issues with electrode tip condition remain the main cause for production stops in automotive spot welding lines.

SmartDress is a novel new approach to electrode tip dressing comprising a completely automated solution to all the challenges faced when setting up and maintaining a resistance spot welding process. The SmartDress system uses an optical sensor to monitor the condition of the spot welding electrode tips. A specially designed control system is used to decide upon the most appropriate maintenance operation. Where maintenance is not required production will continue, sparing the tips unnecessary cleaning operations, in this way electrode production life can be extended beyond the normal state of the art.

In addition, the SmartDress project has developed a new abrasive dressing system, which is able to lightly clean the electrodes without cutting away valuable copper (in the way that conventional cutters do). By employing the abrasive dressing system electrode production lives can be extended up to 3 times longer than the present state of the art. A second advantage of the implementation of abrasive dressing is the ability to employ a ‘little and often’ dressing philosophy to electrode tips welding aluminium. By very frequent light cleaning aluminium build up can be prevented and spot welding of aluminium alloys for automotive production is made possible.

Welding process times, currents and forces.

However, one aspect of the spot welding process that is not tightly controlled is the wear of the welding electrode tips. Zinc coated steels are the most popular car body material, but zinc rapidly degrades the electrode to the point where maintenance is required to ensure an adequate weld quality is produced. The car industry is increasing the volumes of aluminium used in vehicles for the purpose of weight saving; to achieve better fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. One major disadvantage of aluminium is that it alloys very aggressively to copper welding electrodes, causing a rate of wear that makes spot welding of aluminium uneconomical for mass production. Consequently other, more expensive and less efficient joining techniques are currently used.

Electrode wear can be repaired by a technique known as ‘tip dressing’ where a mechanical cutter removes material from the tip face repairing any damage and returns the tip to its optimum geometry. Today nearly all modern automotive spot welding lines run production with automated tip dressing, but even these systems do not offer a complete solution. In current practice electrode maintenance schedules are set up by hand in time consuming production trials and issues with electrode tip condition remain the main cause for production stops in automotive spot welding lines.

SmartDress is a novel new approach to electrode tip dressing comprising a completely automated solution to all the challenges faced when setting up and maintaining a resistance spot welding process. The SmartDress system uses an optical sensor to monitor the condition of the spot welding electrode tips. A specially designed control system is used to decide upon the most appropriate maintenance operation. Where maintenance is not required production will continue, sparing the tips unnecessary cleaning operations, in this way electrode production life can be extended beyond the normal state of the art.

In addition, the SmartDress project has developed a new abrasive dressing system, which is able to lightly clean the electrodes without cutting away valuable copper (in the way that conventional cutters do). By employing the abrasive dressing system electrode production lives can be extended up to 3 times longer than the present state of the art. A second advantage of the implementation of abrasive dressing is the ability to employ a ‘little and often’ dressing philosophy to electrode tips welding aluminium. By very frequent light cleaning aluminium build up can be prevented and spot welding of aluminium alloys for automotive production is made possible.

Project Context and Objectives:

The.SmartDress project

SmartDress is an EC funded project under the Framework 7, mechanism research for the benefit of SME’s. Within the project a fully adaptive system for spot welding electrode maintenance has been created. The SmartDress system represents a significant step forward in electrode tip dressing technology, offering a functionality and performance beyond the scope of any system presently on the market.

The SmartDress project team consists of four SME’s; Sinterleghe srl. a leading producer of electrode tip dressing equipment, Fisher-Smith a provider of specialised visual system solutions, Finaids a provider of high spec industrial abrasives and Swantec a world leader in modelling software for welding processes. Technical developments are driven by three research organisations; TWI responsible for the technical performance of the resistance spot welding process, Fraunhofer IPMS responsible for the development of the optical sensor, and VTT responsible for providing an abrasive dressing solution.

Background – Resistance Spot Welding in the Automotive Sector

The global automotive sector currently produces around 60 million vehicles per annum, relying heavily on the resistance spot welding joining process for manufacturing the body-in-white (BIW) - the primary stage of vehicle body construction. For this, production lines utilise spot welding guns to apply the welds, each using consumable electrodes to contact the work pieces and transmit current to make the weld. These tips are the most important component in a spot welding system, and their degradation which occurs during welding (coated) steel vehicles rapidly leads to sub-standard weld quality, which in turn can cause expensive line stoppages.

Resistance spot welding is the most commonly applied process for joining thin metal sheet in automotive body structures, with a typical family car containing up to 5000 spot welds. The spot welding process offers a high level of reliability with modern welding systems able to accurately control and monitor spot welding process times, currents and forces.

However one aspect of the spot welding process that is not tightly controlled is the wear of the welding electrode tips. Zinc coated steels are the most popular car body material, but zinc rapidly degrades the electrode to the point where maintenance is required to ensure an adequate weld quality is produced. Electrode wear can be repaired by a technique known as ‘tip dressing’ where a mechanical cutter removes material from the tip face repairing any damage and returns the tip to its optimum geometry. Today nearly all modern automotive spot welding lines run production with automated tip dressing, but even these systems do not offer a complete solution:

• Problems with electrode tip maintenance remain the number one cause of stoppages on car production lines.
• Conventional electrode tip dressers use mechanical ‘cutters’ that remove a large quantity of copper, resulting in rapid consumption of expensive copper electrodes.
• In the production line start-up phase all tip dressing schedules must be manually programmed, tested and iteratively optimised. This operation is labour intensive and the optimisation phase can take several months before the line is ready to run at full production output.

The SmartDress Solution

SmartDress is a novel new approach to electrode tip dressing comprising a complete automated solution to all the challenges faced when setting up and maintaining a resistance spot welding process. The SmartDress system is able to monitor the condition of the spot welding electrode tips and decide upon the most appropriate maintenance operation. Where maintenance is not required production will continue, sparing the tips unnecessary cleaning operations, in this way electrode production life can be extended beyond the normal state of the art.

The SmartDress system comprises five elements, including 3 totally new innovations:

1. A new approach to electrode tip dressing using an abrasive to clean electrode faces with a minimal removal of copper, greatly extending electrode production lives.
2. An optical sensor able to monitor the electrode condition providing vital data concerning the state of wear.
3. A computerised control system able to process data from the optical sensor to determine the level of electrode cleaning required. The control system can also optimise dressing schedules adaptively controlling electrode maintenance frequency.
4. A mechanical dresser designed to minimise copper removal during tip dressing.
5. An automated tip changer able to replace worn tips during production without the need for a line stop and manual intervention.

Introduction of the SmartDress system into a production line can have significant impact on the resistance spot welding process:

• Increased production life of electrodes achieved by minimal electrode material removal using the abrasive dresser development. Initial results show a 3 x increase in production life when welding zinc coated steel.
• Regular electrode maintenance using abrasive dressing allows for economical spot welding of aluminium as copper consumption is dramatically decreased.
• Automated optimisation of electrode tip dressing frequency during the production line start-up phase.
• Monitoring and adaptive control of the electrode during spot welding production, able to adapt electrode maintenance schedules to compensate for unexpected electrode damage.
• Control of spot weld quality through monitoring and maintaining welding electrodes improving quality assurance of the production line.

SmartDress Project Objectives

Scientific Objectives:

1. Generation of detailed electrode wear data for the two most widely utilised electrode materials, applied to industry standard material/joint configurations in steel and aluminium materials.
2. Identification of abrasive materials/tool forms capable of performing complete surface cleaning of electrodes with >150 welds worth of wear,

Technology Objectives:

3. Design and produce an abrasive based tip dress system, which meets/exceeds the in-service performance and lifetime of current ‘cutter’ based tip dress technology; extending electrode life from 10,000 to 30,000+ welds for steel and aluminium RSW applications.
4. Design and produce an electrode quality sensor system capable of quantifying the level of electrode tip wear on 13mm, 16mm and 20mm diameter electrodes; by measurement
of tip face diameter and surface wear level; with inspection and output within 3 seconds.
5. Produce a prototype control system algorithm allowing minimum data input (welds per assembly / assemblies per shift) to generate a complete tip dress schedule (welds per dress / dresses per electrode lifetime) capable of maximising electrode quality or maximising electrode life.

Integration Objectives:

6. Integration of the control system, dresser and sensor elements into a single prototype unit, allowing testing of the full user-interface and system input/outputs in preparation for industrial validation trials.
7. Integrate the SmartDress system into a robotised RSW gun production cell to demonstrate production ready performance prior to project dissemination and exploitation activities

Project Results:

Why is electrode maintenance required?

Resistance spot welding is a very fast, low cost method for joining sheet metal and has been the process of choice by the car industry for the last hundred years. Today modern automobiles are manufactured to increasingly high standards for:

• Safety
• Performance
• Efficiency
• Durability / corrosion resistance

In order to manufacture cars that do not corrode, automotive steels are protected with a layer of zinc, which provides galvanic protection to exposed metal surfaces. This zinc layer is responsible for rapidly accelerating the rate of electrode wear in spot welding. A copper alloy spot welding electrode has a high affinity for zinc, and as surface temperatures of the electrode can reach 500oC or more a rapid deposition of zinc occurs, this leads to alloying of zinc and copper to form brass. Zinc oxides build up on the electrode surface and additionally, oils used to help lubricate and protect the steel sheets are also taken up in the contamination layer that forms on an electrode surface. After lengthy production with zinc coated steels, the electrode damage becomes so severe that the alloy layer on the electrode surface begins to fracture and break away. Figure 3 shows the mechanisms by which zinc coated steel degrade spot welding electrodes. From the processing perspective, degraded electrode tips result in a reduction in weld quality. After extended production, usually between 100 and 300 welds the weld quality becomes critical and it is not possible to continue to produce high quality welded components. In order to return the electrodes back to an ‘as new’ condition and improve weld quality, the electrode tips are dressed. State of the art tip dressing involves cutting a new surface onto the electrode tips with a metal cutting blade, figure 4.

In order to fulfil modern performance and economy requirements, weight reduction in car bodies is a major topic for automotive OEM’s. Most car companies are employing a strategy of aluminium panel usage, to replace traditional steel panels, the advantage of aluminium being, a much lower weight and improved corrosion performance. However, aluminium cannot be welded together with the same ease as steel panels. Under elevated temperatures, aluminium aggressively alloys with copper, within a few welds aluminium builds up a layer of contamination on the electrode surface and forms a range of brittle intermetallic phases, that fracture and fall away from the electrode face, resulting in rapid pitting or erosion, figure 5. As a result of the rapid rate of electrode erosion occurring in aluminium processing, most companies do not consider aluminium to be economical for spot welding applications, this is because electrode tip dressing must be performed so frequently, that the tips are very soon completely consumed and need to be replaced. If aluminium is to be successfully processed in a spot welding line, then a method of electrode cleaning is required that is able to minimise copper loss from the electrodes.

Overview of the SmartDress system

The SmartDress system is designed to solve all of the problems faced by welding engineers related to electrode wear when processing automotive materials (steel and aluminium).

SmartDress is based around the design philosophy and working principals of a conventional electrode tip dressing station, but it offers a far greater range of functions and capabilities. A conventional tip dressing station typically consists of only a mechanical dresser (cutter), which is employed to re-cut the electrode tip surface at interval between 20 – 300 welds (depending upon the circumstances). A new development that is emerging in welding cells is an integrated electrode tip changer, that is able to automatically replace electrode tips at the end of their production life. Present state of the art is for the welding engineer to manually program the intervals for electrode tip dressing and tip replacement, this operation is based upon production requirements and trial and error. When a new welding line is commissioned several months may be required for the programming of electrode maintenance regimes alone, which constitutes a great cost to the car companies. The final regimes that are defined are usually very ‘safe’ with tip dressing and replacement performed more frequently than necessary in order to ensure that poor quality welds do not occur on line.

With the SmartDress system each welding cell will be fitted with an optical sensor that monitors electrode condition during the process. A control system interprets the sensor measurement data and decides upon the most appropriate tip maintenance operation. Critically, the control system has the ability to decide not to perform any electrode cleaning if it is not required, this means that tips can last longer than using standard practices.

SmartDress is capable of performing more varied electrode maintenance operations than any other state of the art system:

• Abrasive dressing – A new development that allows the tip surface to be cleaned, and results in less than 1 micron of copper removal, compared to 100 – 300 micron removed in typical mechanical dressing operations. The introduction of abrasive dressing to replace mechanical dressing can result in enormous increases in the production life of electrodes.
• Mechanical dressing – As electrodes become more severely degraded conventional mechanical dressing is required to return them back to their original condition and shape.
• Electrode tip changing – All welding and dressing operations result in copper loss. Eventually the electrodes become very small and copper is cut back close to the internal water cooling channels, once this occurs the electrode tips must be replaced. In SmartDress, electrode tip changing is performed automatically and only when required.

Figure 6 shows the functions of SmartDress and the decision flow by which they are operated.

A second major strength of SmartDress is its ability to define its own electrode maintenance regime and to react to sudden changes in electrode condition (as can occur if contaminated material is processed or if part fit up is incorrect). Under normal production conditions the electrode maintenance regime is fixed and cannot react to problems with electrode condition. This means that on occasions, poor quality welds are manufactured without any warning or feedback to the production engineer, for this reason problems with electrode maintenance remain the number one cause of production line stoppages in car plants.

SmartDress contains a control system that interprets the electrode wear data from the sensor and decides on the most appropriate electrode maintenance operation. The control system also has the capability to increase the number of welds between electrode maintenance, or decrease the number of welds in applications where electrode degradation is severe. This gives SmartDress two capabilities that make it invaluable to setting up a production line and maintaining weld quality during continuous production:

1. SmartDress automatically defines the electrode tip maintenance frequency. This means that during line start up, an operator does not need to perform the conventional monitoring and testing of the dressing process, which usually takes several months.
2. During production SmartDress continuously monitors the electrode tip condition and is able to react to changes in condition. This means the system can repair electrode that become ‘suddenly’ damaged and prevent the production of poor quality welds.

In a production line environment, the SmartDress system is able to run in a fully automated manner synchronised with the timings of a spot welding production line, figure 7. In such a production line the following sequence is common practice:

• Vehicle transfer - simultaneously all vehicle assemblies in the factory move out of one production cell and into the next
• Welding and fabrication – Components are placed and fixed by robots or other automated systems and welding processes take place
• Next vehicle transfer – as above

SmartDress will operate in the transfer time window and not interfere with the carefully programmed timing of the production line. Within a transfer window SmartDress performs the following two operations:

1. Do nothing or perform electrode tip maintenance operation – the operation was defined from data obtained from the previous transfer window
2. Measure electrode tip condition – The sensor is used to examine the state of electrode wear and decide the most appropriate operation from the following:
o Do nothing – the electrode is in good condition
o Abrasive dress – for light cleaning of the electrode
o Mechanical dress for heavy cleaning of a degraded electrode and to return the electrode back to its optimum geometry
o Electrode tip change – When the electrode has become too short as a result of numerous maintenance operations, the worn tip will be replaced

The Individual Elements of SmartDress

Optical sensor

An optical sensor was designed and built for the SmartDress development. The sensor is a bespoke solution able to provide the SmartDress control system with critical data concerning electrode tip condition.

Specifically the sensor is:

• Able to assess the level of electrode wear and provide detailed data that allows the SmartDress control system to determine the most appropriate tip maintenance operation.
• Able to measure the upper and lower electrodes simultaneously.
• Able to measure the electrode tips and transmit the data within the timeframe of a standard transfer window.
• Robust enough to withstand the operating conditions of a typical spot welding line.

The SmartDress sensor is installed within the SmartDress system and is easily accessible by the welding robot during the transfer window. The robot brings the welding gun to the sensor and once in place the electrodes close onto the sensor and measurement can take place, figure 9. Data is then transmitted to the SmartDress control system for analysis.

Control system

The SmartDress control system is programmed within a graphical user interface (GUI). Major control factors such as the number of welds in an assembly, the number of assemblies per shift and the materials being welded are entered into the GUI. The operator may also decide how SmartDress is to react in various situations.

The GUI represents the visible part of the SmartDress control system. Through the GUI the operator can:

• Input process and materials data.
• Select the mode of operation (manual or adaptive).
• Monitor the electrode maintenance operations (live and historical data).

The GUI has been designed to take into account all the critical parameter inputs required to run a spot welding production cell. All necessary operating parameters can be entered in the Production set-up window of the GUI, Figure 10.

The GUI inputs are explained below:

• ‘Operation mode’:
o Manual – Electrode maintenance schedule input by the user. Example user input settings shown in the right-hand box in Figure 10.
o Automatic – SmartDress runs in adaptive mode, automatically defining and adapting the electrode maintenance parameters.

• ‘Error handling’:
o Halt production – If SmartDress detects an error, such as ‘sensor camera failure’. The reaction will be to halt production.
o Issue notification - If SmartDress detects an error, such as ‘unable to find sensor connection to control software’. The reaction will be to continue production, but post a warning on the line PC informing the operator of the error.

• ‘Production settings Material’: (this data is used by the control algorithms).
o Aluminium.
o Steel GI (hot dip zinc coated steel).
o Steel GA (galvanneal coated steel).

• ‘Welds per assembly’ - The number of welds per assembly is entered; SmartDress may only operate in the ‘transfer window’ between assemblies.

• ‘Assembly transfer time’ – This is the time available during assembly change, where SmartDress can perform the electrode maintenance operations.

• Gun information’: (information concerning the physical attributes of the welding gun and electrodes).

• ‘Electrode type’: (The main electrode types for steel and aluminium welding are listed below. Each electrode is type is linked to critical geometric data, which is embedded in the control software and used by the control algorithms.

• ‘Skew angle’: (the angle of electrode approach, which influences the control algorithms).

When welding operations begin in the production cell the SmartDress monitor is running. The monitor (Figure 11) feeds back information to the line PC indicating whether it is running in ‘manual’ or ‘automatic’ mode. The monitor screen also provides important production data generated over the shift so far. And assembly data, specific to the assembly being produced at the time. The next action that SmartDress will perform is also shown on the screen.

Once the welding line is running in full scale production the SmartDress system can run in three modes of operation:

1 Fully automatic adaptive feedback control mode.
2 Monitoring mode.
3 Conventional manually programmed electrode dressing mode (no monitoring)

Fully automatic adaptive feedback mode will monitor the electrode condition and constantly optimise the tip dressing operation. This mode of operation would be well suited to particularly difficult to weld materials combinations where a lot of variation is seen in electrode wear rate and weld quality. Typical automotive materials combinations with high variability in welding performance include; aluminium alloys, multiple sheet (3 or more) of hot dip zinc coated steels and coated hot forming steels.

Monitoring mode – will monitor electrode condition and feed-back tip condition data to the production engineer. The tip dressing operation will apply a pre-defined tip dressing programme; this programme can be set-up manually or automatically. Once in operation the tip dressing programme will not automatically adjust based upon the sensor measurements (as occurs in fully automatic adaptive feedback control mode), instead it may only be adjusted manually by the production engineer. The engineer may choose to make adjustments based upon information from the sensor sub-system. It is likely that many companies would prefer to run the SmartDress system in this way as it gives the operator final control of the dressing frequency and would lead to greater confidence in production.

Conventional (manually programmed) electrode dressing mode – allows the operator to set all SmartDress parameters by hand. This mode of operation is almost identical to that of a conventional tip dressing station, the only difference being that SmartDress offers the possibility to perform abrasive (low material removal) dressing.

Abrasive Dresser

The abrasive dresser is a bespoke solution designed and built within the SmartDress project. The abrasive dresser is designed specifically to be able to clean spot welding electrodes while removing a minimum of copper. In conventional electrode tip dressing between 100 – 300 micron of copper are removed, this means a typical pair of 16mm diameter electrode tips can only be dressed approximately 30 times before they need to be replaced. The SmartDress abrasive dressing solution is able to lightly clean the electrode tip surface removing less than 1 micron of copper, under these conditions electrode tips can be lightly cleaned very often with almost no loss of copper material. An extension of electrode production life of 3 times was measured in welding trials with zinc coated steels.

The SmartDress abrasive dressing solution uses a cartridge of abrasive material mounted in a motorised dressing station, resembling a conventional (mechanical) electrode tip dresser, figure 12.

Specifically the abrasive dresser is:

• Capable of cleaning both upper and lower electrode simultaneously
• Able to clean lightly degraded electrodes that have welded; zinc coated steel, aluminium
• Capable of cleaning electrodes with less than 1micron of copper removal
• Capable of cleaning electrodes in a cycle time of < 500 milliseconds
• The abrasive insert can be replaced quickly without the need for special tooling
• Typical abrasive lives are 1 – 10 production shifts depending upon the material combination being welded

Conventional electrode maintenance functions; mechanical dressing and electrode tip changing

In order to offer a complete electrode maintenance solution the SmartDress system also incorporates two conventional electrode maintenance operations:
1. Mechanical electrode tip dressing. This is required to perform heavier cleaning, when electrodes become more severely degraded. Heavy cleaning with the abrasive would be more time consuming and consume large amounts of the abrasive material. In addition, traditional mechanical dressing has a critical function; to be able to return the electrode tip back to its design geometry, this cannot be achieved by abrasive dressing, figure 14.
2. Electrode tip changing. After many welding and maintenance operations, eventually much copper is lost from the electrodes and the length becomes critically short. Below a certain critical length the electrode is no longer suitable for welding and needs replacement. This operation is performed by the electrode tip changer, figure 15.

The Integrated SmartDress Solution

The combined elements of the SmartDress system offer a fully adaptive solution to electrode tip maintenance.

The SmartDress system has the following capabilities:

• To automatically generate electrode tip dressing schedules.
• To adapt to sudden changes in electrode tip condition and perform the most appropriate electrode maintenance operation.
• Optical sensor to monitor electrode wear condition.
• Abrasive dressing with minimal removal of copper from the electrodes to prolong electrode production life.
• Conventional mechanical dressing.
• Integrated electrode tip changer.
• Manual or fully automated modes of operation.

Potential Impact:

Within the SmartDress project two protectable foreground results have been created, patent applications have been filed for the optical sensor and the control system:

• Sensor sub system EP 2013/066201.
• Control system EP 2013/069034.

In addition to the new foreground, SmartDress also makes use of existing background IP owned by Sinterleghe srl.

• EP 2193003, Mechanical cutter
• IT 0001338264, Tip changer
• TO2013a000746, Storage for electrodes

The foreground and background IP within SmartDress is shown in figure 17.

The SmartDress project will create significant impact and economic value for the consortium SME’s through the development of a market leading technology for the maintenance of spot welding electrodes in automotive production lines. Europe relies heavily on its automotive sector, despite the economic down turn European new car sales were at 12.1 Million in 2012.

For the automotive manufacturing sector SmartDress provides a method for monitoring the condition of welding electrode tips, which gives an extra level of process monitoring and quality control not presently available in production. The development of the new abrasive dressing system allows a new method for cleaning of electrode tips with minimal removal of valuable copper. This development allows production lives of spot welding electrodes to be increased by 3 times for welding of zinc coated steel, resulting in significant savings in expensive copper consumables.

Abrasive dressing also makes spot welding of aluminium an economically feasible option, compared to the state of the art, where rapid electrode consumption is seen as a financial constraint preventing companies from spot welding aluminium. With increasingly stringent fuel economy targets, automotive OEM’s are looking to increase the use of aluminium panels in cars for weight saving purposes. SmartDress would allow aluminium car production using the low cost reliable and familiar joining technology of resistance welding. In this way SmartDress can also help reduce upon CO2 emissions within Europe. An additional benefit of spot welding aluminium is that self-piercing rivets (SPR) can be taken out of vehicle production. The cost of saving of removing 2000 SPR joints from an aluminium car is approximately 90 euros per body in white.

Electrode maintenance issues remain the main cause of production line stoppage in automotive body manufacture, SmartDress will be able to prevent these unnecessary stops saving production lines on average 7M Euros per year.

In the production-line start-up phase all electrode maintenance schedules are conventionally programmed by hand and defined by trial and error. This operation takes several months to complete for a new car line. By employing SmartDress to automatically define the schedules full scale production can be begun much sooner.

List of Websites:

The project website was created and updated by Swantec:

www.smartdress-project.eu

The website contains project background information, project video, updates of progress, results and upcoming dissemination events.

A secure member’s login area has been created for the project partners to share; technical data, presentations and the minutes of project meetings.

See Figure 19. Project website home page.

For all commercial queries regarding SmartDress please contact:

Eugenio Tedeschi
Sinterleghe srl.
Tel: +39 011 33 14 24
Mail: eugenio.tedeschi@sinterleghe.it
Address: Via Cenischia N° 33 10139, Torino, Italy
www.smartdress-project.eu


Verwandte Informationen

Reported by

SINTERLEGHE SRL
Italy
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