SOUTRAC® - The Future for Welding AHSS Tailored Blanks 2003-01-2779
The use of tailored blanks in the automotive industry is well established. Each year the amount of applications is growing (see figure 1) and the technology has become mature.
With the growing interest in Advanced High Strength Steel, new solutions in weld technology however have to be developed in order to produce high quality parts in high volume at the lowest cost. Soudronic has several solutions available to weld Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) successfully. The latest development being the use of controlled filler wire feed. This technology is integrated in the new weld system SOUTRAC®. This new developed laser welding machine is especially designed for welding non-linear Tailored Blanks and guarantees highest output of linear and curved blanks with excellent quality. Weld edge tracking, gap closing by adaptive gap-driven filler wire, single or double spot welding technique and the novel SOUVIS® 5000 seam quality control system are all integrated into the same unique Modular Weld head.
The paper will discuss the problems with tailored blank welding AHSS as well as provide a detailed overview of the SOUTRAC® system. Included in this discussion will be the issues around blanking AHSS, what consequences these issues have on laser welding the blanks and how the controlled filler wire feed provides a perfect solution. Finally some weld examples, test results and a look into the future will be shown.