It’s no secret that aluminum is becoming a go-to material for the auto industry. However, it’s uncharted territory for many manufacturers. Are individual companies keeping secrets? In fact, it’s actually the opposite — they’re sharing knowledge, lessons learned, and tricks of the trade when dealing with aluminum.
Why would they do this? It’s all about bringing the industry up to a new standard so that manufacturing costs decrease. From Automotive News:
Jaguar Land Rover would like the industry to adopt standards for raw materials and tools to assemble aluminum vehicles. These standards would cut production costs, and the changes won’t happen unless the big players get involved.
Mark White, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief technical specialist for aluminum, says automakers producing vehicles with aluminum — Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and soon Ford — each use a slightly different manufacturing system that includes various grades of aluminum and different rivets, glue, robots and measuring systems.
For example, Jaguar Land Rover will buy 353 million rivets this year to assemble all of its aluminum-bodied vehicles. When production of Ford’s aluminum F-150 begins in the fall, Ford will be buying about 2 billion rivets per year, assuming each F-150 has roughly the same number of rivets as an aluminum-bodied Range Rover.
Being an industry leader is a great thing but leading innovation can be expensive. By sharing knowledge, new innovations can become standard, allowing manufacturers to focus