New patent-pending welding technology for tailored blanks

New technology for manufacturing tailored blanks reduces costs for vehicle manufacturing. The IMTAB project has resulted in fewer production stages, improved product characteristics and a robust manufacturing process.

Tailored blanks are already widely used in the auto industry. The idea is to produce a blank of the right type or thickness that will have the necessary characteristics in the right locations. Developed within the IMTAB project (Improved Tailored Blanking), the technology enables joining of larger components and a more robust manufacturing process.

Improved welding process developed

Swerea has collaborated with Gestamp HardTech, Volvo Cars, Permanova Lasersystem, ESAB and Luleå University of Technology to develop the process. By incorporating advanced knowledge of processes for laser welding, fusion welding and hybrid processes with a strong foundation in materials engineering, an improved welding process has been developed. 

Cut in manufacturing steps

For the auto industry, this means that manufacturing steps can be eliminated, resulting in lower investment costs and significant time savings. The newly developed process has resulted in improved product and weld characteristics.

Full-scale test verifies the technique

Full-scale testing showed that Volvo B-pillars (the pillar between the front and rear door of the vehicle) welded with the new technique performed just as well as both laser-welded and conventional non-welded B-pillars.

“A lot can be gained from a robust joining process; e g less sensitivity regarding sheared edge quality, tolerances and surface coating. In the project we have developed a technology that results in approved quality and impact properties in the finished product, at a lower cost,” says Paul Janiak.