Vehicle body closure tasks better suited to table top process

Chinese car makers are overlooking the benefits of a traditional process for closing vehicle body parts that can deliver greater efficiency improvements for high volume applications.

That's the view of Mark Schlanker, business manager at DV Automation, a leading manufacturer of complete closure assembly systems for vehicle bodies and one of the sponsors of Automotive Manufacturing Solutions' China conference in Shanghai from June 2-4.

The company will use the event to showcase its table top hemming machines including its new Flex Hemmer, which can handle a variety of parts and can be easily adapted for future requirements.

Alternative methods such as press and robotic hemming have their own constraints. Press hemming is a high-cost process that's less accommodating of the complex panel geometries required for the new generation of hoods, decklids and liftgates, explained Mark.

In the case of robot hemming, a process primarily developed for low to medium volumes, the move to higher volumes means compromises are needed to achieve cycle times with the addition of hard tooling and multiple robots.

"The fast-growing car market in Asia offers major challenges for Chinese manufacturers in that rapidly-rising quality standards need to be met at the same time as a push for higher production rates.

"Our message at the conference will be to explain the clear advantages of the table top hemming method which is not only a robust, more stable process, but also delivers better accuracy and low cycle times," he added.

DVA's table top solutions offer a standard modular design with an electric drive rather than a hydraulic system, meaning low energy consumption and no requirement for specialist maintenance knowledge.

"Table top hemming also allows greater control for hemming panel corners and tight styling features plus better dimensional accuracy of the finished hemmed part," said Mark.

The company, which produces machines for car makers and Tier One component manufacturers in Europe, the Americas and Far East, has recently supplied a number of table top systems to BMW in Germany and Fiat's joint venture plant, Tofas, in Turkey.

Established in the UK in 1989, DV Automation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thompson Friction Welding, the award-winning British manufacturer of rotary and linear friction welding machines.

For more details contact DVA on +44 (0) 121 585 3333 or email sales@dvautomation.co.uk.