One of the most important challenges the automotive industry faces is saving structural material weight to tackle with environmental issues without affecting safety.
The use of Automotive TWBs (Tailor Welded Blanks) represents an advanced manufacturing process consisting on the combination of multiple metal sheets that are first seam-welded together prior to the deformation process, thus requiring only one forming operation.
In the TWB manufacturing technique, sheets of differing material alloys, thicknesses and surface treatments (e.g. galvanised versus non-galvanised) can be combined in order to ‘tailor’ the location of speciﬁc material properties into the ﬁnal part.
When compared with traditional methods of separated forming and subsequent spot-welding, TWB technology offers numerous advantages including reductions of cost, component mass and vibrations/noise in the assembly as well as improved material utilisation, structural integrity, corrosion resistance and dimensional accuracy.
- Weight savings
- Cost savings
- Investment savings
- Improved product performance
- Improved manufacturing
- Improved dimensional control
- Enhanced safety
TWBs are implemented wherever a vehicle needs to be safer and lighter. Whereas TWB’s were traditionally used for larger parts such as side panels and doors; the latest innovation tendency is to apply them to a wider range of smaller applications.
In order to optimise the TWB manufacturing process, reduce raw material scrap rate, and optimise material usage, the industry requires 100% inspection of autogenously laser welded parts to identify defects such as porosity, lack of root penetration, lack of side wall fusion, etc.
Seam-welding is considered the most critical step of the TWB manufacturing process and weld-defects result in the majority of TWB part rejections, costing European automotive manufacturers more than 9.000 Tons of wasted materials per year. The principal concern for TWB manufacturers is to improve production speed and product quality while optimising raw material usage.
- Increase in the detection, evaluation and reporting of defects in TWB plants.
- Increase in quality and safety when utilising products manufactured with TWB (cars, trucks, etc.).
- Reduce materials waste leading to economical direct savings.
- Provide the automotive sector and regulatory authorities with very valuable data that will facilitate the integration of the non-destructive testing (NDT) and structural integrity (SI) assessment, thus improving the confidence in NDT performance and enabling the SI community to adopt novel and more sophisticated approaches to TWB design.
- The inspection and other related cost will be reduced. As estimated the cost reduction will be about 50% when compared to the use of existing NDT systems which utilise EMAT or Visual Inspection techniques separately.