The automotive industry comprises of a number of varied economic activities. In just over 100 years these activities have achieved a high degree of both social and economic importance worldwide. Recent initiatives for lean, just-in-time manufacturing within the automotive industry have emphasized
the need to find faster and more efficient heating technologies.
Induction heating machines are used in the manufacture of many parts along the automotive drive train – including CV joints, tulips, gears,
steering racks, and wheel hubs. Induction technology is also used to produce large body and engine parts such as rocker arms, cam shafts, valves, connecting rods, banding, crank shafts, and starting rings.
Finally, shock absorber components are hardened and formed using induction.
Induction heating is a quick, clean, non-contact method of inducing heat for a wide variety of metal joining and heat treating applications. When compared to convection, radiation, open flame or other heating methods, induction heating offers substantial advantages:
• Increased consistency with solid state temperature control & closed loop monitoring systems.
• Maximized productivity with in-cell operation; no soaking time or lengthy cool down cycles.
• Improved quality with minimized product warpage, distortion and reject rates.
• Extended fixture life with site-specific heat without heating any surrounding parts.
• Environmentally sound without flame, smoke, waste heat, noxious emissions or loud noise.
• Reduced energy consumption with up to 80% energy efficiency
Induction heating machines are increasingly used for automotive manufacturing processes such as:
Bonding – Components of automotive assemblies such as doors, bonnets, liftgates, decklids, fenders, and roof panels can be bonded together by heating structural adhesive material that has been previously applied.
Hardening – One of the advantages of induction heating is that it can be directed to specific areas of the part with great accuracy. Most hardening operations treat the outer part surface. The treatment can be
done in two different ways: either static or progressive (by scanning).
Tempering – While traditional tempering systems heating the parts at relatively low temperatures (from 150 to 700oC) for a relatively long heat and cooling cycle, induction tempering permits the use of higher temperatures and shorter heating/cooling cycles.
Annealing – In contrast to hardening, the annealing process involves a relatively slow heating step followed by gradual cooling. Annealing is used when the material must be softened as much as possible;
tempering softens the metal but not to the full extent possible.
Brazing – An induction brazing machine quickly delivers highly localized heat to minimize part warpage and distortion. Brazing in a controlled vacuum or in an inert protective atmosphere can significantly improve overall part quality and eliminate costly part cleaning procedures.