Proceso-integracion-sector-automovil-aritex

Integration process for the automotive industry – This is how the Aritex team works

Just like a tiny piece affects the whole, our engineers at Aritex have all the in-depth knowledge of the production stages of a car to make sure that each and every component works just fine on its own and does even better when the whole thing is put together.

Here are some examples of just how complex it is to make a car: you need more than 5,000 attachment points, 300 bolts, 100 metres of adhesive and 20 metres of filler. But there’s much more to it: you also have to find the perfect balance between engineers, specialists, suppliers and the end customer throughout the integration process.

A complex network of actions and movement in which Aritex, as the main contractor, guarantees that the product leaves the line just the way the customer wants it, within the deadlines set for the project cycle and meeting all the criteria for quality, planning, and cost. And it’s all done with the utmost rigour.

Starting the project

A concept, designed by the customer’s simultaneous engineering and process team, draws up a preliminary line proposal with some very specific parameters, such as the number of robots, stations, tools, operatives, technologies, standard components and manufacturers or brands to work with. That’s the starting point for the project.

Once the Aritex engineering team receives the study, they set about proposing modifications to the necessary elements until the production lines and the processes work just the way the customer wants them to. The project completion period is often scheduled for 30-40 weeks, which starts off with the engineering stage (when the commercial elements, the design and layout and tool design are defined), followed by the materials purchasing stage and ending with the manufacturing process.

Assembly

Linea-de-soldadura-Body-in-White-SEAT IBIZA
Welding line -Body in White- of SEAT Ibiza

 

Aritex takes on the job of manufacturing the assembly tools, and that gives new value to the project. The company engineers define this stage as a customised job and it’s one that’s tailor-made for every customer.

The parts that go to make up the vehicle are incorporated into the tools throughout the manufacturing process, where small parts are brought together to create larger assemblies that finally come together to make a vehicle. From the very small to the very large, no detail escapes our attention.

The teams are in charge of processes such as further specifying the design of the copper arms for the welding guns to ensure that they will correctly weld the vehicle parts. But that’s not all: they also specify the models of robots that should be purchased and make sure that their clamps can take the weight required during the process.

To make sure that every part is where it should be, they design the entire vehicle line manufacturing process, they test and run simulations to see that everything fits together, and make sure that it all works in a virtual environment. This stage is completed before doing the shopping, to ensure that the machines will respond the way they should. Then the real parts arrive. They’re mounted on the tools and the concept is put to the test in the customers’ facilities, where they can validate the workstations and check that standards are met.

This is part of the routine where further fine tuning is required after the pre-series parts arrive to ensure that they all fit together. The first parts may have some defects, like imprecise laser cuts or manual perforations. When this happens, 3D tooling measurement offers precise references to enable more necessary changes to be made. So, there are several milestones separated from each other by about three months where the work is done to ensure that the pre-series and standard parts fit adequately in the tools. This is a necessary adaptation inherent of a typical integration process.

Quality testing

Destructive testing is used to check the final quality of the product. The customer takes a part from a given number of them at regular intervals from the line and puts it through exhaustive testing to check things like the mastic has been correctly applied or the bolts are effectively welded. The parts are often pushed to breaking point during this type of test, although ultrasonic technology is now becoming a commonly used approach to observe and check welds without destroying them.

Project quality and safety are fundamental elements.

Line safety is certified on the one hand to guarantee that all the applicable European directives are complied with. Within this highly demanding process, Aritex works in collaboration with outside companies, which is a must for ensuring impartiality. These firms run very rigorous assessments to make sure that the process and the machinery conceal no hidden risks for operatives.

The customer also reviews the entire installation to check that it meets project specifications and factory standards for the parts to come out within the scheduled cycle time at the established quality levels. Complying with factory standards is essential because it makes any future modification or maintenance that much easier.

Experts in techniques and materials

AUDI-Q3-Subgrupos-de-formacion-de-la-plataforma
AUDI Q3 – Subgroups platform

 

Our engineers are not just experts in the finer details of assembling saloon cars, vans, trucks and SUVs, they also know how each material behaves and the special features of each technique: welding (resistance, laser, MIG/MAG, etc.), riveting, adhesives, stapling, bolting, bolt and screw welding, laser cutting and punching, different solutions applied to the automotive sector to achieve optimal results.

The geometrics of the part, the materials used in the components, accessibility and the vehicle assembly process define the technology that needs to be used. Spot welding is effective in areas where there’s enough surface on the sheet to place a spot. It’s the fastest and most economical welding process, that’s why the tendency is to use as many spot welds as possible.

However, other processes like laser welding with filler material are also required since they can be used to assemble visible areas such as the point where the roof joins the pillars. This technique makes the welds invisible and gives the vehicle a beautiful finish.

MIG/MAG welding is used in complex areas with reinforcement, while riveting is effective for aluminium parts, especially internal features. Adhesives are amazingly resistant and can be hardened in curing ovens: they’re crucial for joining parts that can’t be welded. Bolting is used for moving parts at the finish line, where parts like the doors, rear doors and hood are added to the bodywork.

Other methods like bolt and screw welding, laser cutting and punching can be adapted to the specific requirements of the coachwork at different stages of the manufacturing process and guarantee the detail and quality of every joint.

 

VOLKSWAGEN-POLO-Linea-de-soldadura-paneles-laterales
VOLKSWAGEN POLO – Side panel welding line

 

Galvanised sheet is now the key player in the automotive industry. The multitude of benefits it offers -up to 12 years guarantee, anti-corrosive, offers very flexible sheets, can be hot stamped, easy to mould when hot and becomes rigid and resistant when cooled- now make it the most widely used material in the automotive industry.

This combination of highly specific and wide-ranging knowledge of assembly and materials in the manufacturing process has enabled our team of experts at Aritex to offer high added-value training to customers and suppliers. Training covers subjects such as optimal use of the technologies described in this article, including headers, guns, riveters, clamps and other essential equipment.

Ongoing cooperation

As you can see, one of the added values of the Aritex team for this type of project is how we manage, control, and organise the other suppliers. We also take care of contracting every specialist, and monitor compliance with specifications, certifications, robot programming standards and quality controls.

Once the project is terminated, which often happens when a completed self-chassis or platform comes off the line, our engineers don’t stop there; they continue to collaborate with the teams that form the next stage: continuous improvement.

That’s why here at Aritex responsibility is one of our most solid values: it orientates and guides us. It’s the reason why our teams keep on interacting and ensuring that the project is a complete success, and that the customer is more than satisfied with the end result. 

 

 

Share this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Last stories

Ready to take your engineering, robotics or digitalization projects to the next level? Let’s talk today!

At Aritex, quality and efficiency start with you. Tell us about your project and together we’ll make it happen. Let’s talk!

    They already trust Aritex

    With more than 60 years of progress and creativity, we have become the trusted partner of our customers. We design and implement turnkey projects, daring to integrate customized automated solutions with quality and efficiency. Our focus on innovation allows us to overcome the most challenging demands with safety, precision, and repeatability. Optimistically, we continue to be pioneers in the industry, providing solutions that make a difference.