Driven by climate change, the automotive industry increased their focus on the development and production of electric cars. Demand of CO₂ reduction is pushing lightweight design, and replacement of old fuels to enable green mobility. For AWL, this trend offers the opportunity to apply the company’s years of experience in the field of automated joining solutions to new products, such as batteries and battery frames for cars and their components. These battery frames are large structures that contain the individual battery modules which are the power source for any electric vehicle.
AWL is preparing for these new requirements and questions. For example, the housing of the battery must be light in weight, but above all, strong and compact to prevent the risk of leakage or fire in a crash. Besides that, it must be able to produce the batteries in large numbers.
AWL has built a machine for its customer to produce parts of a battery frame. This frame consisted of a combination of forged aluminum parts and extruded aluminum profiles. Laser welding was the right process for these parts. An additional challenge was the variable gap between the parts to be welded. Given the material used and possible inconsistent gaps between the individual parts, it became clear that an extra cold wire was needed for a stable welding process. Due to the low heat input and the required clean weld without welding spatter, laser welding was the only option. After the implementation, we showed our customer that we could bridge the different gaps without changing the welding parameters. As a result, we achieved a reliable welding process and good welding quality.
Besides battery frames, we also exploit opportunities in battery technology. For example, we build machines for laser welding of rechargeable batteries for self-driving vehicles and electric cars. These smart, high-tech machines connect the aluminum poles of all battery cells in the battery module. Aluminum is the logical choice, but it is not easy to weld. Minimal heat input and the precision of the weld and the welding quality are essential. That is why AWL opts for laser welding as a joining solution, equipped with state-of-the-art welding controls. Laser welding allows the battery cells to be welded very accurately and that is important to prevent cell failures.
"AWL is able to help customers with their lightweight challenges. We have years of experience in automated joining solutions and system integration, which is of great value in the production of batteries and battery parts. AWL contributes to green and sustainable e-mobility."
Reduce the weight of a car
If a car is 10% lighter in weight, CO₂ emissions are reduced by 5-7%. A good way to reduce the weight of a car is to use aluminum plates in bodywork, chassis, and doors. Therefore, it is to be expected that the demand for joining solutions for aluminum will increase. To be ready for this development, AWL is constantly investing in research into aluminum spot and laser welding.
To connect innovative steel materials, spot welding and laser welding are promising joining technologies. Spot welding, because it is a widely used technology in the automotive industry and laser welding because of the high welding speed.
Besides quality, safety is essential. AWL’s in-depth knowledge of laser welding proves again to be of added value. If the heat is too high, a battery cell can ignite, but laser welding allows us to weld locally with a minimum of heat input. AWL develops her experience in testing systems which ensures the safe application of the product.