100,000 Induction Pressure Welding axles from Mercedes-Benz Kassel plant; welding of steel and cast parts with any contours
The Mercedes-Benz Kassel plant recently produced its 100,000th Induction Pressure Welding (Induktives Press-Schweißverfahren in German—IPS) axle for Mercedes-Benz trucks. The technology enables the welding of steel and cast parts with any contours.
The axle housing forms the main body of a rear axle. The new IPS axle housing is a three-piece modular construction. To join the three components together, the employees had to explore new ways of developing and manufacturing axle housings using different materials.
In this process, the main body of the axle—the axle housing—is manufactured from three elements and adapted flexibly regarding to the regional vehicle and market requirements.
The center section is a welded steel construction, while the two end sections are made of cast iron because of their complex geometry. Previously this component consisted of a single-piece made of cast iron or steel.
In the first stage of the two-part IPS welding process, the point at which the parts are joined is heated by means of magnetic induction. Once the temperature has almost reached the casting material’s melting point, the two components are compressed together under high force on a press in the second stage of the process.
One of the greatest challenges the construction team was faced during development of the technology was meeting the exactly temperature point.
The modular construction for axle housings pays off for truck customers, since the axle housings’ material mix reduces the overall weight of the rear axle and reduces fuel consumption in the Mercedes-Benz Actros. Almost every new Mercedes-Benz Actros drives with an optimized rear axle. In addition, the IPS axles are also installed in the Mercedes-Benz Atego and Axor trucks.
The employees at the Kassel plant developed the patented welding technology in-house. The IPS production machine was also designed and constructed on-site for the most part. The start of production was in 2012. Whereas in the past the axle housings were procured from suppliers, these components can now be produced competitively at the Kassel plant thanks to the new manufacturing process.