Swiss Glue Company Tries To Weld Auto Relationships
DETROIT (AP) _ Replacing rough, tough spot welds with glue in car assembly is gaining adherents.
A Swiss company, betting that automakers will continue replacing welding machines with those that squirt glue, unveiled a $3.5 million automotive adhesives research center Wednesday.
Ciba-Geigy Corp. makes glues that hold together the plastic doors of the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and the metal body support brackets of the Oldsmobile Calais.
General Manager Jim Koshak said the company is counting on the car adhesives market to grow as automakers make more parts from plastic and aluminum and as high-tech glue becomes more accepted as a way to bind metal parts.
″There’s increased use of plastics today and you can’t weld them,″ Koshak said in an interview. ″You need another means of joining them and adhesives are here.″
Koshak said spot welds, which have an image of durability, often are inferior to automotive adhesives. Adhesives, in contrast, are looked down upon as, well, glue.
″Adhesives give a continuous bond rather than in individual spots and there’s minimized corrosion,″ he said, and adhesives ″provide a better cosmetic appearance. Spot welds leave little dimples in the metal″ that must be machined away, often by hand.
The big test for automotive adhesives will be the leap from use in minor parts to use in what manufacturers call ″primary structural bonding.″ That means if the bonding fails, the entire part fails.
Koshak said this step isn’t far away and that the increased use of plastics and of aluminum - which doesn’t weld well with steel - will speed the process.
Ford Motor Co. glues metal to metal on some door hems - the part of a car door where the outside panel is folded over the inside one.
Chrysler Corp. is making plans to reduce spot welds by an average 2,600 per car, or 65 percent, primarily with automotive glues, according to the trade journal American Metal Market.
The aircraft industry already is several years into use of glues to hold together metals and the auto industry is expected to borrow many of that industry’s techniques.
Ceiby-Geigy’s U.S. headquarters is in Ardsley, N.Y., and is a subsidiary of Ciba-Geigy Ltd. of Basel, Switzerland.