Aluminum Vehicle Body Construction and Enabling Manufacturing Technologies
Aluminum materials are very attractive for lightweight applications. Aluminum usage in automotive vehicles has increased over time as manufacturers search for affordable weight reduction applications and high-performing, low-investment construction methods. Further application of aluminum is likely with the discussion of increased tailpipe emission requirements and increased fuel economy regulations. Currently, the Audi A8, Audi R8, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo and Jaguar XJ8 are aluminum intensive vehicles that are in production. In this paper, manufacturing methods in forming and joining technologies for body construction is discussed. Various forming technologies for body in white construction and body closures are discussed as well as joining technologies for body closures and body structures. Application of materials and processes in the current automotive applications as well as economic analysis for spaceframe and unibody body construction is discussed.