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Technical Paper

A Methodology for Evaluating Body Architecture Concepts Using Technical Cost Modeling

The ability to make accurate decisions concerning early body-in-white architectures is critical to an automaker since these decisions often have long term cost and weight impacts. We address this need with a methodology which can be used to assist in body architecture decisions using process-based technical cost modeling (TCM) as a filter to evaluate alternate designs. Despite the data limitations of early design concepts, TCM can be used to identify key trends for cost-effectiveness between design variants. A compact body-in-white architecture will be used as a case study to illustrate this technique. The baseline steel structure will be compared to several alternate aluminum intensive structures in the context of production volume.
Technical Paper

Demonstration of the Preform Anneal Process to Form a One-Piece Aluminum Door Inner Panel

A demonstration of the preform anneal process was conducted to form a one-piece aluminum door inner. In preform annealing, the aluminum panel is partially formed, annealed at 350°C to eliminate the cold work (strain hardening) from the first step, and then formed to the final shape using the same die. This process has the ability to form more complex parts than conventional aluminum stamping. Preform annealing uses non-age hardenable aluminum alloys of the 5xxx series and is suitable for a wide range of interior body panels. A rear door inner panel for a mid-size sports utility vehicle (SUV) was used in this study. This door inner was successfully created in one piece out of AA5182-O sheet with only slight design modifications to the original steel product geometry. The design of the door inner panel was conducted based on finite element analysis and predictions were verified with physical parts using thickness measurements and mechanical testing.
Technical Paper

Modeling Costs and Fuel Economy Benefits of Lightweighting Vehicle Closure Panels

This paper illustrates a methodology in which complete material-manufacturing process cases for closure panels, reinforcements, and assembly are modeled and compared in order to identify the preferred option for a lightweight closure design. First, process-based cost models are used to predict the cost of lightweighting the closure set of a sample midsized sports utility vehicle (SUV) via material and process substitution. Weight savings are then analyzed using a powertrain simulation to understand the impact of lightweighting on fuel economy. The results are evaluated in the context of production volume and total mass change.
Journal Article

A Demonstration of Local Heat Treatment for the Preform Annealing Process

The preform annealing process is a two-stage stamping method for shaping non age-hardenable (i.e. 5000 series) aluminum sheet panels in which the panel is heat treated in between the two steps to improve overall formability of the material. The intermediate annealing heat treatment eliminates the cold work accumulated in the material during the first draw. The process enables the ability to form more complex parts than a conventional aluminum stamping process. A demonstration of local annealing for this process was conducted to form a one-piece aluminum liftgate inner panel for a large sport utility vehicle using the steel product geometry without design concessions. In prior work, this process was demonstrated by placing the entire panel in a convection oven for several minutes to completely anneal the cold work.