Articles by Austin Weber

Techniques for Joining Sheet Metal

The ongoing push for thinner sheets is challenging engineers.

Steel is not about to disappear anytime soon as the dominant material used in the home appliance industry. Unlike automakers, which are turning to aluminum, carbon-fiber composites, magnesium, plastic and other lightweight materials, steel still rules in the world of refrigerators, dishwashers and dryers.

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Carbon-Fiber Composite Hurdles

Several big hurdles need to be overcome before there will be more widespread use of carbon-fiber composites in the auto industry. Major issues include material cost, high-volume processing, repeatable quality and overall cost effectiveness.

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Composite Joining: Adhesive Pros and Cons

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 adhesive bonding or mechanical fastening. Each assembly process has many pros and cons.

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Composite Joining: Fastener Pros and Cons

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.

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New Carbon-Fiber Process Allows Mass-Production

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.

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European Consortium Hopes to Spur Auto Composites Use

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.

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Assembling Next-Generation Batteries

Manufacturers are scrambling to increase production yields.

Batteries are an environmentally friendly form of energy with fewer pollution and disposal issues than other green technologies.

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Does Color Matter on the Plant Floor?

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.

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Optimizing Parts Bin Layout

Engineers must minimize excessive movement while maximizing productivity.

Parts bins have been synonymous with assembly lines ever since the mass-production process was pioneered by Ford Motor Co. engineers 100 years ago.

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BYU Engineers Push Product Design Boundaries

Traditionally, automobiles, lawn mowers, airplanes, dishwashers and other products contain a wide variety of rigid parts connected by joints that are designed to be strong and stiff.

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.

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Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.


Anyone even thinking about advanced power tools needs to pick the brain of Eric Dees. He’s the Global Lean Business Process Leader for Ingersoll Rand Power Tools and Category Manager for their Assembly Tools Business.

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Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

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