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Technical Paper

Recycling of Us Automobile Materials: a Conundrum for Advanced Materials

This paper discusses the difficulties associated with imposing recycling imperatives upon advanced materials development by examining the case of automotive materials substitution and its impacts upon the recyclability of the automobile. Parallels are drawn between today's issues, which focus upon the recyclability of the increasing polymeric fraction in automobile shredder fluff, and the junked automobile problem of the 1960's, when the problem of abandoned automobiles became a part of the environmental and legislative agenda in the US and overseas. In the 1960's, both the source and the resolution of the junk automobile problem arose through a confluence of technological and economic factors, rather than through any set of regulatory influences. The rise of electric arc furnace steelmaking and the development of the automobile shredder were sufficient to virtually eliminate the problem - so much so that today's problems are incorrectly viewed as novelties.
Technical Paper

Material Alternatives for the Automotive Crankshaft; A Competitive Assessment Based on Manufacturing Economics

The automotive crankshaft, one of the more metal intensive components in the engine, provides an attractive opportunity for the use of alternate materials and processing routes. Although performance requirements are important in the choice of a particular material or fabrication route, the final decision is usually dictated by cost. This study evaluated the cost effectiveness of various material alternatives for the crankshaft. The technique of “Technical Cost Modeling” was utilized to estimate the manufacturing costs of the various material alternatives. Four processing routes for the manufacture of the automotive crankshaft were evaluated: steel forging, nodular casting, microalloy forging and austempered ductile iron casting. The results indicate that although nodular cast iron is the most widely used material today, it appears that, with changing engine design, microalloyed steel can effectively compete in this application.
Technical Paper

An Economic Assessment of Alternative Manufacturing Processes for the Camshaft

As material, labor, and energy costs have increased, there has been a growing need to look for more cost effective processing methods to manufacture engineering components. A study was undertaken to assess the competitive position of alternative processing routes for high volume production of the automotive camshaft. The techniques employed in the course of the study were Technical Cost Modeling and Multi-At-tribute Utility Analysis (MAUA). The use of cost modeling and attribute analysis offers a novel system-based approach to treating the problem of materials substitution. A computerized spreadsheet is used for writing the model, which simulates the cost of the manufacturing process. MAUA, a decision analysis technique that has been successfully applied to materials selection problems, helps clarify the importance of critical performance attributes to the materials selection problem for a given application, and then helps rank the materials based on their acceptability.
Technical Paper

Economic Analysis of Hydro-Mechanical Sheet Metal Forming

Recent industry trends have resulted in growing interest among automakers in low to medium volume manufacturing. The expansion of automobile production into developing economies and the desire to produce specialized vehicles for niche markets have pressed the automakers to find cost effective solutions for manufacturing at low volumes, particularly with regard to sheet metal forming. Conventional high volume stamping operations rely heavily on achieving minimum scale economies which occur at about 200,000 parts per year. These scale economies are mainly dictated by the efficient use of the standard, expensive cast iron dies. These dies can cost well over one million dollars depending on the part, and in return offer tool lives over 5 million strokes. Die investment can be reduced by changing the stamping process technology. Hydro-mechanical forming has been proposed as a promising low volume alternative to conventional stamping.
Technical Paper

Alternative Tooling Technologies for Low Volume Stamping

Low volume manufacturing has become increasingly important for the automotive industry. Globalization trends have led automakers and their suppliers to operate in developing regions where minimum efficient scales can not always be achieved. With proper maintenance, standard cast iron stamping tools can be used to produce millions of parts, but require large investments. Thus at high production volumes, the impact of the tooling investment on individual piece costs is minimized. However, at low volumes there is a substantial cost penalty. In light of the trends towards localized manufacturing and relatively low demands in some developing markets, low cost stamping tools are needed. Several alternate tooling technologies exist, each of which require significantly lower initial investments, but suffer from greatly reduced tool lives. However, the use of these technologies at intermediate to high volumes requires multiple tool sets thus eliminating their cost advantage.
Technical Paper

The Economic Benefit of a Shortened Supply Chain, A Case Study Involving Molded Composite Parts

Shortening the supply chain is a universal business goal in the global automotive industry. A shorter supply chain is generally recognized to be leaner, more agile, more “accountable,” and, most importantly, less expensive. However, the real economic value of a shorter supply chain has rarely been critically measured. In this paper, a case study involving molded composite parts is presented, and the value of removing a “link” from the supply chain is assessed. Traditionally, a separate compounder and molder are involved in producing molded composite parts. The compounder combines the ingredients-resin, reinforcements, additives-and produces a pellet or a sheet of material that is sold to the molder who, in turn, molds this material into a part. Today, an alternative is emerging. This alternative involves in-line compounding and molding, combining two “links” in the supply chain into a single “link.”