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Audi is one of the automakers using aluminum bodies. (Provided by Audi)

Free U.S. aluminum joining manual officially announced

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Education | Technology

After a “soft opening” on the European Aluminum Association website, the Aluminum Association officially unveiled the 2015 joining update to its automotive manual Thursday.

The American Aluminum Association wrote the manual with the help of the Aluminum Extruders Council and the European Aluminum Association.

“It’s been a really excellent collaboration,” Kaiser Aluminum engineering and technology Vice President Doug Richman said of the American-European association partnership on the manual. Richman is also a former chairman and current member of the American association Transportation Group.

He called the revisions “a remarkable document.”

“As aluminum shakes up the materials status quo through greater use in new vehicle construction, the new joining manual is going to be an invaluable tool to engineers and designers of lightweight vehicles,” Transportation Group Chairman and Novelis Vice President Tom Boney said in a statement. “As we enter into this new phase of multi-material vehicles, the need for advanced education on aluminum joining methods is critical.”

Besides joining aluminum to aluminum, the manual will tell shops and manufacturers how to join the metal to materials like composites, magnesium, plastics and steel.

“The full potential of reducing weight with aluminum remains untapped. The new technologies outlined in the joining manual are an important enabler toward the development of future lightweight vehicles around the world,” European association Director General Gerd Götz said in a statement. “Europe is the leader in aluminum body applications with market share in North America rapidly increasing. In a fruitful partnership with experts from the Aluminum Association, we have developed the most comprehensive, global joining manual to date.”

The association pointed out a Ducker Worldwide survey (detailed here by the association) that expected more than 75 percent of new pickups in North America to be made of aluminum. About 200 million pounds of aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies were used in 2012 — and that’s expected to grow to four billion pounds in the next decade.

RDN covered the European manual launch earlier this month and provided links to its chapters. If you didn’t download it then, get it now. Here are links to the chapters on various techniques:

“Everybody is using some or all of them,” he said of the techniques in the manual.

The chapter on arc welding is still in progress, Richman said. There’s some controversy over the instructions inside among the collaborators.

More information:

“New joining manual supports rapid growth of aluminum in automotive”

Aluminum Association, Jan. 29, 2015

Featured images: Audi is one of the automakers using aluminum bodies. (Provided by Audi)