- SPECIAL REPORTS
Articles by Austin Weber
Carbon-fiber composites offer numerous benefits to automotive manufacturers, such as weight reduction. However, they pose a wide variety of joining challenges to engineers, who must choose between mechanical fastening or adhesive bonding. Each assembly process has many pros and cons that must be evaluated.
Traditionally, it has been difficult to manufacture large quantities of carbon-fiber composites. That drawback has hindered widescale use of the lightweight material in the mainstream auto industry. However, engineers in Germany have developed a new process that makes it possible to use injection-molding technology.
A European consortium called ACOMPLICE (Affordable Composites for Lightweight Car Structures) recently embarked on a two-year program to develop low-cost materials for mainstream automotive applications.
Batteries are an environmentally friendly form of energy with fewer pollution and disposal issues than other green technologies.
Color affects mood and perception. It’s amazing how a slight change in color can alter the look and feel of a room. I found this out first-hand recently after doing a little painting at home. Whenever I step into an assembly plant, I always try to take a quick look at the color of its floor, walls and equipment. Usually, it’s nothing to get too excited about.
Parts bins have been synonymous with assembly lines ever since the mass-production process was pioneered by Ford Motor Co. engineers 100 years ago.
Compliant mechanisms are jointless, elastic structures that reduce costs and simplify product designs. These single-piece flexible structures elastically deform without joints to produce a desired functionality.
A fully automatic stripping and crimping system might be the “glamour” technology of wire harness assembly shops. However, there’s still plenty of work for handheld electric, pneumatic and manually powered crimping tools.
Today, the plant where BMW assembles the Mini is celebrating its 100th birthday. The first motor car to emerge from the factory in Oxford, England, on March 28, 1913, was a Bullnose Morris Oxford.
Robotic screwdriving offers numerous advantages to manufacturers, such as flexibility and repeatability. However, it’s easy to underestimate the requirements of automation. Sometimes, engineers specify the wrong type of robot or overlook parts feeding issues.