Soft alloys are the defining material for the lightweight, energy efficient transportation vehicles of the future. Rapid advancements in modern alloy casting technology and a commitment by several EV automakers to aluminum as a material of choice underscore the importance and relevance of aluminum in modern assembly.
REMINC and CONTI have long recognized the the cost-savings potential and manufacturing efficiencies that light alloys can deliver to automotive manufacturers. In March 2012, the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) performed extensive testing of thread-forming fasteners driven into light alloy castings with pre-cored holes.
The report, titled : USCAR FAS 1005 - Machining Elimination through Application of Thread Forming Fasteners in Net-Shaped Holes, determined whether cost-savings in light alloy castings could be achieved as had been done for many years with thread-forming fasteners being driven into unthreaded steel nut members. The report concluded that this recommended thread-forming fastener application would generate significant cost-savings for automotive manufacturers.
The tests confirmed that drilling, reaming, tapping, gaging, cooling and cleaning operations could be eliminated while retaining clamp load values consistent with industry expectations for steel nuts and bolts. In summary, TAPTITE® thread-forming fasteners deliver:
- $.07-$.09 cost savings per fastener driven
- Significant reduction in electrical energy required to power unnecessary machines
- Elimination of all lubrication fluids and solvent washes necessary to the drilling/tapping process
- A shorter length assembly line footprint
- Less capital investment in plant and equipment.
The 2012 USCAR report concluded that if this application were universally adopted in North America, with its estimated car build of 16 million vehicles, approximately 500 fasteners per vehicle, and a savings of $.08 average per fastener, the total net cost-savings would total US$640 million per year for automotive manufacturers. This number would be even higher when calculated in today’s dollars.