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In the automotive sector, AUDI AG is synonymous with “Vorsprung durch Technik” around the world. The company places demanding requirements on quality, sustainability, and productivity across all their production sites, nowhere more so than for its flagship model - the Audi A8 - which the Group develops and produces in Neckarsulm.
Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Hungary, Brazil, China, India, Slovakia, Spain, Russia
Lightweight aluminum structures for high-performance sports cars
Fronius products in use:
ACERIOS hot-active plasma technology
Hot-active plasma technology for the removal of contaminants from aluminum surfaces
» Fronius ACERIOS perfectly complements the range of technologies we have at our disposal. We were able to reduce cleaning costs and at the same time increase resource efficiency without compromising cleaning quality. To achieve savings of this magnitude in vehicle manufacturing usually demands much greater input in terms of time and effort. «Daniel Rudolph, Technology Development Linear Joining Processes, Audi Neckarsulm
Production of the Audi A8 involves lightweight aluminum construction. This is a demanding process that necessitates the perfect connection of numerous ground studs, where the quality of each stud weld is highly dependent on the cleanliness of the surface. In the case of aluminum sheets less than 2 millimeters thick (such as those used in the production of the A8), cleaning with „Clean Flash“ by the stud welding machine itself is no longer practical. The heat input would be too great and the sheets would burn through during the welding process. Furthermore, this method can result in pores which impair the seam quality.
To assure the required quality, in the past Audi had to have complete parts chemically cleaned. Prior to the construction of a new production plant in 2017, this expensive process was outsourced to suppliers. Up to that point, no cost-effective alternatives existed that were compatible with series production and compliant with the quality requirements.
Audi found a solution in the form of our HAP cleaning system, ACERIOS. Using this hot-active plasma technology, the car manufacturer is now going down the route of partial component cleaning. This involves the generation of a plasma flame using argon. When the flame hits the surface, the gas flow performs mechanical cleaning, while the plasma and resulting heat reliably dissolve organic impurities and surface films.
This method quickly and effectively removes contamination at the precise site of the stud welds, without damaging the base material or using harmful cleaning additives. This allows Audi to clean parts only where it is absolutely necessary and therefore take a step towards more cost-effective and sustainable production.