Honda develops new steel-to-aluminum welding technology

September 20, 2012

Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Tokyo, has developed a technology for the continuous welding of steel and aluminum and applied it for the first time to the subframe of a mass-production vehicle. The company will adopt this technology first to the North American version of the 2013 Accord® and will expand application to other models.

Striving to reduce vehicle weight, the company focused on friction stir welding (FSW) to develop the technology. The process generates a new, stable metallic bond between steel and aluminum by moving a rotating tool on the top of the aluminum, which is lapped over the steel with high pressure. As a result, the welding strength becomes equal to or beyond that achieved with conventional GMAW, the company states.

This new technology reduces body weight by 25 percent compared to a conventional steel subframe and cuts electricity consumption during welding in half. The company has developed a continue FSW system applied to an industrial robot. The system also can be used for aluminum-to-aluminum welding.