When Meridian Automotive Systems (Angola, IN) needed to boost productivity on a roll-forming bumper operation, the company switched from resistance welding to a weld process developed with Newcor Bay City (Bay City, MI).

Business is booming for this facility, according to Ed Hvizdos, manufacturing engineering supervisor. "We currently have six roll-forming production lines in operation, and have the capacity to add a seventh line."

According to Hvizdos, "Not all automotive bumpers are roll-formed. Some are stamped. However, stamping incurs higher capital costs due to the large stamping presses needed. Cost is the primary reason to roll-form."

The company's recent addition, the Number 5 welding system, features a single-phase resistance welding system and uses equipment developed to provide better operation and easier servicing.

The modified transformer for this resistance welding line has a special welding head that uses 40,000 amps for continuous welding. Because of the equipment's design, it has dramatically boosted the company's production rates.

The company can now run up to 60 feet per minute. This translates into 5,000 bumpers a day or 14 per minute per line at maximum capacity. With the old process, the company could only run 20 feet per minute.

The biggest challenges from automotive companies are weight and cost reductions. Hvizdos says, "For us, that means fabricating lighter bumpers at lower cost. We have to modify our processes continuously to meet those demands."

When the company faces a new material, it faces new challenges in processing that material. "When the material specifications for any job change, we deal with a whole new learning process in-house," says Hvizdos.

For more information on roll-forming and welding, call Newcor Bay City at 517-893-9505, visit www.baycity.newcor.com or Reply 3.