American aluminium major Alcoa recently announced that it has developed a new way to join dissimilar items in the context of automobile manufacturing.
The process, called the RSR joining system, is a new method of resistance spot riveting that is flexible enough to join many different combinations of materials in a manner that is up to 20% stronger than previous methods.
“Our RSR technology is going to be a powerful tool in the array of joining options for the automotive industry,” said Alcoa’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Ray Kilmer. “As automakers continue to design vehicles using multi-material combinations, RSR technology is the ideal joining solution. It can easily accommodate stack up changes on the assembly line and it leverages existing welding robots outfitted with our automatic feeding systems.”
The new method is the product of cooperation among Alcoa, Honda R & D Americas, Inc., and The Ohio State University. The project was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Energy.
“We are working with Alcoa on advanced alloys and the RSR joining technology in conjunction with the Department of Energy because we are optimistic about the new value these advanced technologies will enable us to deliver to our customers in terms of performance and fuel efficiency,” said Technical Leader, Advanced Body Design of Honda Eric Boettcher.
According to Alcoa, the new technology can be used by automakers alongside traditional spot welding and robotic automation to save overhead costs, limit production interruption, and provide more flexibility in materials use in vehicles.
The technology in question has been under development for several years at the Alcoa Technical Center (ATC) outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scientists at ATC have been collaborating with the Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings facility in Waco, Texas. The firm has also been developing a rivet feed system in its facility in Kingston, New York. Alcoa expects the first commercial application to occur within the next two years.