Process-safe spot welding of aluminum in the industrial sector

Morsbach, August 2018. The ELMA-Tech GmbH, manufacturer of welding systems and their control technology, will present a process-safe spot welding process for aluminum for use in the industrial sector at the EuroBLECH 2018 in Hanover, Germany. The main characteristic of this newly developed process is that it does not require additional equipment or additional material such as connectors, processing belts or cap cleaning systems. It is based solely on further developments of the ELMA-Tech process control virtual machine (VM3) and welding guns technology.

While ELMA-Tech was the first company in 2014 to introduce spot-welding of thin aluminum sheets in the automotive repair market, research into the development of a process-reliable application of this very sophisticated technology for the industrial sector started in 2016.

From the beginning, a premise of this development was to develop such a welding process based on already existing standard system components (ELMA-Tech process control, welding guns with 16 mm standard electrode caps, power source).

The reproducible resistance welding of different aluminum alloys is a technologically very challenging task, in particular under the condition to drive such welding processes according to the trademark of ELMA-Tech welding technology with the lowest possible energy inputs.

Unlike the spot welding of steels for instance, much more physical variables and influencing factors must be taken into account when welding aluminum. Thus, in this case, the material composition of the electrodes is of great importance and also the physical properties of the aluminum material to be welded itself.

After extensive series of tests and constant development of the welding process control at ELMA-Tech, valid results emerged in mid-2017. In the spring of 2018, MAGNA Steyr (Graz, Austria) was able to reproduce the positive process results in large-scale test series with an ELMA-Tech prototype system and to confirm this in laboratory analyzes, i.a. for example in dynamic tensile tests and ground samples. In the tests, 150 welding spots could be set without changing, cleaning or milling the electrode caps. ELMA-Tech‘s virtual measurement technology directly at the electrode caps proved to be essential for the technological breakthrough.

Werner Karner, Head of Joining Center at MAGNA Steyr (Graz / Austria)

In this context, Werner Karner, head of the Joining Center Test Construction at MAGNA Steyr, spoke of a „very significant optimization and increase in efficiency“ in the industrial welding of aluminum joints. It is particularly important here that „the process works with standard equipment“ and has now been reliably adapted „from individual vehicle repair applications to industrial applications“.

Of course, all essential process properties that characterize the well-known ELMA-Tech spot welding process are also used without restriction in the industrial aluminum welding process (e.g. partial insulation bridging in the presence of structural adhesives, shunt detection, energy tracking, sheet thickness detection, etc.).

The particular advantages compared to the competition are therefore obvious: The industrial aluminum welding process developed by ELMA-Tech works validly with the ELMA-Tech control system Virtual Machine used for sheet steel connections - i.e., without additional equipment such as circulating process belts or cap cleaning systems. In addition, 16 mm standard electrode caps can be used. ELMA-Tech control cabinets in the VMC VISION Alu version will be used as welding power sources for the finished application.

The aluminum welding process will be presented on the basis of a lightweight industrial manual welding gun at the ELMA-Tech stand at EuroBlech 2018 in Hanover (Hall 13, Stand A118).

Dates & times of the live presentation

23.10.18: 11:00 / 14:00 / 16:00
24.10.18: 10:00 / 12:00 / 14:00 / 16:00
25.10.18: 10:00 / 12:00 / 14:00 / 16:00
26.10.18: 10:00 / 12:00

euroblech 2018

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