An increase in fuel economy standards has affected automakers’ decision toward designing lightweight vehicles and therefore transitioning from steel-based bodies to ones predominantly composed of aluminum. An introduction to lightweight materials couples that of lightweight joining with a thermo-mechanical process, Flow Drill Screwdriving (FDS). This process is favored in terms of robustness, short installation time, and only requiring access to one side. The most significant challenge of this process is reducing the material sheet separation to minimize any possibility of corrosion buildup. Warm forming of aluminum has been shown to increase ductility and formability of the material and thus the process benefits from a reduced cycle time that leads to cost reduction. In this study, the effect of an auxiliary heat source on the flow of Al6063 is investigated for the FDS application. In order to accomplish this task, a conduction-heating ring is implemented into the FDS process to raise the material temperature and thus reduce the total cycle time. Different preprocess material temperatures are studied to determine the effect of material temperature on the process time, installation torque, and sheet separation. As a result, with the thermal assistance, a reduction in the process time up to 52%, the maximum installation torque by 20%, and sheet separation by 11% were attained, indicating better quality joints at a lower cost.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.