Honda Motor Co. Ltd. recently developed a new way to lock steel and aluminum panels together without spot welding.
The new technique cuts the weight of door panels by approximately 17% compared to conventional all-steel door panels. It also removes weight on the outer sides of the vehicle body. This moves the car’s center of gravity toward the middle of the vehicle, contributing to improved stability for maneuvering and handling.
Several methods that prevent electrical corrosion and thermal deformation were combined to create the new locking technique.
One of these methods is a locking seam in which steel and aluminum panels layer and hem twice. A second method uses anticorrosive steel for the inner panel and a new outer panel form that fills the gap with adhesive. The third method applies an adhesive with a low elastic modulus alongside the 3D locking seam.
The locking technique is already being implemented on Honda production lines to make outer door panels. The process trumps Honda’s 2012 steel-aluminum hybrid subframe which was constructed by friction stir welding.