Automotive Spaceframes Essay Research Paper Aluminum usage

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Automotive Spaceframes Essay, Research Paper Aluminum usage in automobiles and light trucks has been climbing steadily. Even more important, auto manufacturers are beginning to see aluminum the way aircraft manufacturers do – as the basic structural material for their vehicles. Increasingly, in the case of carmakers, that thinking begins with an aluminum body structure such as the spaceframe. It’s a new and potentially powerful trend. As recently as 1990, there were no aluminum-structured passenger cars in production anywhere in the world. The closest thing was the HMMV (Hummer), at that time strictly a military vehicle. As of 1997, there were seven aluminum-structured passenger cars in production. For three of them – Audi A8, Plymouth Prowler, and GM EV-1 – Alcoa has

been the principal partner in designing, engineering and manufacturing aluminum components, subassemblies, and - in the case of the Prowler – the frame itself. And that’s just the beginning. A concept car with a modular spaceframe in technology reviews held for Ford and Chrysler, Alcoa unveiled a vehicle concept embodying ideas for future cars and light trucks. The design is based on a spaceframe structure comparable to those Alcoa has helped to develop for the Audi A8 and Plymouth Prowler. But in the concept vehicle, the spaceframe is modular, a step toward using such structures in a broad range of future vehicles. By changing modules, a carmaker could produce a sedan, a sport utility vehicle, and a pickup truck, all from a single production platform. New programs with

Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Alcoa is producing the front energy management structure for the new Mercedes-Benz A-class car (above) now selling in Europe. This 11-piece structure was designed by Alcoa and is robotically assembled at Alcoa’s plant in Soest, Germany. Production volume is expected to reach 1,000 units per day. For Chrysler, an aluminum rear crossmember designed and manufactured by Alcoa improves the handling and noise-vibration-harshness performance of the all-new 1998 Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde as well as the 1999 Chrysler LHS and 300M models. AAS will manufacture 270,000 units per year at its Northwood, Ohio plant. Something new around the windshield. A key advance incorporated in the 1997 Corvette is a first-of-its-kind windshield surround developed in a

design and engineering collaboration of General Motors and Alcoa. An effective combination of aluminum cast and extruded products makes this an extremely stiff structure, helping the new Corvette to earn excellent reviews for its stiffness and superior handling. Northwood will produce 25,000 windshield surrounds annually. .Design tools to aid in product development New guidelines for use in designing automotive components have been installed at AAS operations in Esslingen, Germany; Southfield, Mich; and Alcoa Technical Center (ATC) near Pittsburgh. Developed by AAS and ATC, the guidelines will assist automotive engineers in evaluating product design and fabrication options. Objectives: Improve design quality and cut development time by 30%. Audi A8 is picked as a technological

winner In December, the Audi A8 was named one of the top 25 Winning Technologies by Industry Week (IW) magazine in the U.S. The editors report: "The 1997 Audi A8 with its aluminum spaceframe body technology indicates what is possible when the status quo in materials is challenged in automotive design. The luxury sedan delivers a new standard in weight savings, structural integrity, safety, performance and comfort." IW traces the origins of the Audi spaceframe to "an early 1980s R&D initiative that became a joint-venture with Alcoa. The spaceframe took 10 years to develop," the editors note, "and is the result of 40 new patents, seven new aircraft-grade aluminum alloys, and extensive design analysis via supercomputers." Alloy A substance with