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Exclusive Speaker Interview: Francois Nadeau, Technical Leader, Aluminium Assembling Technologies, the National Research Council Canada
Interview03/Feb/2016AlCircle.comWith the CAFE standards continuously driving the automotive industry towards manufacturing technologies that allow maximum weight reduction while maintaining parts performance has long since became the priority for automakers.
GALM series is bringing the 3rd Annual Lightweight Vehicle Manufacturing 2016: Joining, Forming & Quality Assurance to Detroit from February 24 to 25, 2016. Over last 11 editions, the conference covered three continents, 1500 global delegates and some 130 hours of OEM-led presentations.
During the summit, leading experts from OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and technology providers would discuss the most critical areas within manufacturing and quality assurance processes to enable delivery of next-generation lightweight manufacturing technologies to the forecourt.
Francois Nadeau is one of the key speakers in the Lightweight Summit. He is the Technical Leader in Aluminium Assembling Technologies at the National Research Council Canada. He has a Master degree in metallurgical engineering at Laval University (Quebec) and he is in charge of various materials’ engineering-based projects at NRC.
An excerpt from his Pre-Conference Interview:
AlCircle: What materials/technologies do you see having the most potential when enabling OEMs to achieve better quality results at lower costs?
Francois Nadeau: To be honest, I think this is a question that OEM’s are the best to answer. However, based on the joining R&D work we do with industrial partners, clearly friction stir spot welding is gaining interest these days including every process variants (single spot, pattern-spot, refill or swing) as a replacement technique to mechanical fastening or adhesive bonding in Al to Al joining or dissimilar material joining such as Al to press-hardened steels (Usibor), Al to Mg & Al to composite. These solutions have to be cost-effective so the effort needs to be put at increasing tool life & durability, even in Al to Al joining. Also, reduction of robot payload to allow stitch welding could be the key to increase the versatility of the robotized cell.
AlCircle: What are the key benefits of using an external heat source combined with friction stir welding to minimize forces in aluminium extrusions and increase joint resistance in Al/Steel joining?
Francois Nadeau: When dealing with friction stir welding in a robotized environment, the loads are generally very high mostly when you increase the material thickness in extrusions and could limit the applicability of the process or the productivity (travel speed). Combining an external heat source to the friction stir welding process lowers mostly the lateral & vertical loads which could allow up to 50% reduction & increase travel speed by 30% even using a low density heat source without compromising much the mechanical properties. In Al/Steel joining, the use of an external heat source leads to a better material flow at the Al/Steel interface that allows good joining at higher travel speeds (1.75m/min achieved so far) again using a low density heat source.
AlCircle: What light weighting solutions are you keeping a close eye on at the moment?
Francois Nadeau: I am keeping a close eye on the introduction of wieldable high strength Aluminium alloys (low-copper 7xxx series or modified 6xxx) to be used in structural applications, mostly by hot stampings. By this process, the final mechanical tensile strength (over 400MPa) or formability is high enough to compete with steel solutions. Tailor blanks could also be applied in order to light weight.
AlCircle: What are you looking forward to at this year’s 3rd lightweight vehicle manufacturing 2016?
Francois Nadeau: It was my first time at this summit last year & I was greatly impressed with the quality & competency of the speakers and how easy it was to chat with them afterwards. I’m still looking forward for that particular opportunity to meet the best in the business and keep on tracks with what we are doing. Technically speaking, I will listen carefully to Mrs.Forsmak (Ford Motor Company) & Mr. Maddela (GM R&D) during the event.
Disclaimer: “The information presented herein is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional advice. The views and opinions shared in the interview section of www.alcircle.com are unique to the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of www.alcircle.com.”
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