Printer Friendly

ROCKWELL AUTOMOTIVE DEVELOPS COST-EFFECTIVE FRICTION WELDED TUBULAR STABILIZER BARS

 DETROIT, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Rockwell International Corporation's Automotive business has pioneered a new method for forming the ends of tubular stabilizer bars using friction welding, an innovation that is giving vehicle makers unprecedented design flexibility in the use of the lightweight hollow bars for front and rear suspensions.
 "In using the proven process of friction welding in a new application, we've been able to advance the technology for tubular stabilizer bars," J. Douglas Lamb, president of Rockwell International Suspension Systems Company (RISSC), said.
 "Our development of friction welding technology takes the use of tubular bars to the next step. Until now, vehicle manufacturers seeking the weight savings of tubular bars had to settle for the design and application limitations inherent in squeezed ends, or use special inserts."
 By friction-welding lightweight tubular bars to their solid end pieces, Rockwell achieves distinct advantages over conventionally processed tubular bars whose ends are squeezed. With friction-welded ends, engineers now can use tubular bars in a variety of applications which are unavailable with crimped ends.
 In addition, because the bars are completely sealed with friction welding, they are totally free of interior corrosion.
 "Not only have we developed a new process, we've designed it to be cost effective, all to the advantage of our customers," Lamb noted. "Customers have responded and we expect use of friction welded bars to increase significantly in the next few years."
 Rockwell currently is supplying friction-welded bars for the Dodge Viper, the new Ford Probe, Chevrolet Corvette, and the Mazda MX-6 and 626, and has generated substantial interest for a number of other vehicle programs that will come to market in the next several years.
 Stabilizer bars are located parallel to the axis of a car's wheels. They connect to wheel linkages at each end and serve as springs that control vehicle roll or sway.
 Until Rockwell's successful development of friction welding at its stabilizer bar plant in Chatham, Ontario, crimping was the most popular method for attaching end-pieces to tubular bars.
 With squeezed ends, the end of a hollow bar simply is squeezed flat, or around an insert, or slug. The slug may have a mounting ring or threads to attach the bar to the suspension linkage.
 Not only does the crimping method incompletely seal the bar end, it also limits design options for attachment to the remainder of the suspension. In comparison, with friction-welding of the slug, engineers can design the bar end in a variety of sizes, lengths, offsets, depending on requirements for space, performance or other criteria.
 In the conventional crimping process, after the tube ends had been squeezed and the heated tube was bent into shape, it then was subjected to an oil quench to reduce its heat and lower its hardness. Because quench oil would seep in through the squeezed ends, it was necessary to bore drain holes into the tube to release the oil. This modestly reduced the strength of the bar, and created another entry point for outside contaminants.
 Some manufacturers eliminated the need for drain holes by using a water quench process, and keeping the ends out of the quench, but this does nothing to prevent corrosive fluids from entering the tubular stabilizer bar through its squeezed ends during the life of the bar on a vehicle.
 Friction welding totally eliminates the possibility of contaminants getting into the tube. The end-piece is fitted into a chuck and rotated at high speed. It then is placed in contact with the tube, and the resulting friction heats both the slug and tube to the weld point.
 The chuck is stopped as the end-piece is driven into the tube in a forging action. This completely welds the tube to the end-piece. The perfect weld causes a weld upset ring on the outside of the bar that is easily and quickly removed by drawing it through a shear die.
 After the end-pieces have been friction-welded into place, the sealed tube assembly is heated and formed to its required shape. It then is quenched in oil and heated in a tempering furnace to attain its precise targeted hardness range.
 Development of the friction welding production method and testing of the tubular bars was carried out both at the Chatham plant and at Rockwell Automotive's Technical Center in Troy, Mich.
 The tests include a bending moment test and a "petal test" developed specifically for tubular friction welds. In the petal test, the tube end is serrated and strips of metal are peeled back to enable thorough examination around the complete periphery of the weld interface. Other tests include magnaglow ultraviolet inspection of the ends, and automatic machine lockout if the equipment control circuit detects any improper weld parameters.
 Rockwell International Suspensions Systems Company is a joint venture between Rockwell International Corporation and Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing Company of Japan.
 Rockwell International Corporation (NYSE: ROK), headquartered in Seal Beach, Calif., is a multi-industry company applying advanced technology to a wide range of products in its electronics, aerospace, automotive and graphics businesses.
 -0- 3/3/93
 /CONTACT: Richard H. Pacini of Rockwell International Automotive, 313-435-1752/
 (ROK)


CO: Rockwell International ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

DH -- DEFNS3 -- 2250 03/03/93 07:32 EST
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 3, 1993
Words:863
Previous Article:ROCKWELL AUTOMOTIVE ADDS ELECTRONICS TO BODY SYSTEMS FOR GREATER SECURITY, CONVENIENCE; LESS WEIGHT, COST
Next Article:JACOBS AWARDED CONTRACT WITH SYNTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL LTD.
Topics:


Related Articles
VIPER PROGRAM PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR ROCKWELL TO SHOW TRUE CAPABILITIES
VIPER USES PROVEN ROCKWELL SUSPENSIONS: ENGINEERING, TECHNICAL SUPPORT ARE KEY
ROCKWELL'S SUSPENSIONS COMPANY NEARS COMPLETION OF NEW PLANT AND REPORTS NEW ORDERS
ROCKWELL'S CHATHAM SUSPENSION PLANT RECEIVES 2 HONDA PERFORMANCE AWARDS
ROCKWELL OPENS NEW PLANT AS COMMITMENT TO AUTOMOTIVE CUSTOMERS CONTINUES
ROCKWELL TO EXPORT SUSPENSION SYSTEM PRODUCTS TO MERCEDES-BENZ IN EUROPE
ROCKWELL'S CHATHAM SUSPENSIONS PLANT RECEIVES HONDA DELIVERY AWARD FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR
ROCKWELL AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLYING SUSPENSION COMPONENTS TO CHRYSLER FOR ITS LINE OF VEHICLES
40 NEW JOBS TO RESULT FROM $6 MILLION EXPANSION OF ROCKWELL AUTOMOTIVE'S HOPKINSVILLE PLANT
ROCKWELL SUSPENSION SYSTEMS COMPANY MAKES MAJOR INVESTMENT IN SUSPENSION SYSTEMS FACILITIES

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters