Tailored blanks or tailored welded blanks (TWB) are used in the automotive industry.
What is their function and why are they used?
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Tailored welded blanks (TWB) are shaped sheets which are manufactured by welding various grades and/or thicknesses of steel together to form a blank. These blanks are then going to final stamping by carmakers for various parts, for instance, inner door panels or engine compartment.The aim behind the development of tailor welded blanks was to reduce vehicle weight.
In the past, a car body part was made of a specific steel grade and thickness, but now with TWBs, it is easy to achieve better performance by using steel with the required properties and gauges only where it is needed. The remaining part of the component can be made from cheaper steel.
Tailored welded blanks can help to reduce the component weight as well as the number of parts. This also results in reducing the cost of production.
Having said that, the cost savings by using less steel is offset by the higher costs of producing a tailor welded blank, as it is much cheaper to use a normal plain blanked sheet. In addition to that tailored welded blanks are not suitable for visible parts in the car body due to its surface finishing, which requires additional costs for final finishing.
In sheet stamping technology, blanks are the stamped pieces of steel sheet which are welded together to form components for the vehicle body structure. At least over four stamping operations may be required to prepare a blank, depending on the requirement.
One of the main advantages of using tailored welded blanks is that it helps to use the exact type and specification of metal required. In other words, a thicker gauge can be used where it is required for strength and thinner metal steel can be used where the strength is not required.
The other advantage would be to use more expensive coated steel when corrosion resistant is required while use cold rolled steel when protection for corrosion is not an issue.
Some of the disadvantages of using tailor welded blanks are the higher cost (mainly due to laser welding) and the high time required.
The main applications of tailor welded blanks and various components and parts in a car.