GM's operation in Valley City, Ohio, produces engineered-welded blanks for SUVs that create a stiffer body than traditional auto door frames. The automaker manufacturers these blanks — four-layer laminates made from different gages of hot-dip galvanized steel — with a laser system developed by Shiloh Industries.
Shiloh's system synchronizes two independent lines operating in parallel, so the entire four-laminate blank is produced in a single pass down the dual lines. PLC programming, using a common laser-resonator source, links the two segments of the system. The approach reduces production time by over 60%.
"Conventional systems require three separate welding operations to achieve the same result," says Kevin Sochaki, an administrative manager for Shiloh's engineered-welded blanking division.
In addition, the Shiloh system has several innovations, including a process for creating a more robust weld seam with good gap-filling properties, post-weld inspection, and a robot. The post-weld inspection system measures weld seams for gaps, concavity, and convexity to ensure GM's parameters are met. The system's highly automated robot minimizes handling, while in-line dimpling provides easy stacking and handling of the finished blanks. The dimples are ultimately trimmed out of finished body side frame, and a 600-ton blanking press does post-weld finishing.
Shiloh Industries Inc.