Magna is using a torsional welding process for joining thermoplastic materials in order to help automakers cut weight and costs. The torsional welding process, developed by Magna for automotive applications at its exteriors plant in Liberec, Czech Republic, in collaboration with Telsonic Ultrasonics, features a high-speed twisting motion that creates enough friction-based heat to join a plastic bracket to a thermoplastic fascia.
The innovative technology achieves an approximate 1% weight reduction because it allows thinner materials to be joined, which in turn reduces material costs. Torsional welding is currently used to make the front fascia of the 2017 Skoda Octavia, and it has potential for other applications where materials of similar composition need to be joined.
Telsonic’s ultrasonic technology creates a tensile fastening between the sensor mounts and the front bumper of the Skoda Octavia, leaving behind no marks on the already finished paintwork. Telsonic’s SONIQTWIST has been designed to achieve joint strengths way in excess of 400 newtons.
Furthermore, at between 200 and 300 milliseconds, the welding time is incredibly quick and the method can be integrated seamlessly into the automation system.
|The torsional welding process is used to make the front fascia of the 2017 Skoda Octavia. It has potential for other applications where materials of similar composition need to be joined. (CNW Group/Magna International Inc.) Click to enlarge.|
There may also be uses for torsional welding with the increase of advanced driver assistance systems and the development of self-driving cars. The trend will be for automotive fascias to become heavier with the increase in autonomous features, due to the addition of sensors. With torsional welding, it’s now possible to reduce weight on the outer skin and brackets so more sensors can be added without impacting the overall weight of the vehicle.
The Society of Plastics Engineers Detroit Chapter recognized Magna’s torsional welding process with an innovation award at its recent TPO conference in Troy, Mich.