Milestone for induction pressure welding technology

Milestone for induction pressure welding technology

Mar 15, 2016  Mechanical engineering 

Milestone for induction pressure welding technology
(Photo by: Daimler)

Production milestone at Mercedes-Benz Kassel plant: Today, the plant produced its 100,000th IPS axle for Mercedes-Benz trucks. IPS is a german shortcut and means 'Induction Pressure Welding'.

The technology enables for the first time to weld steel and casting parts with any contours. This welding technology is unique in the world: In this process, the main body of the axle, called the axle housings, is manufactured from three elements and adapted flexibly regarding to the regional vehicle and market requirements. The modular construction kit for axle housings pays off for truck customers, since the axle housings’s material mix reduces the overall weight of the rear axle and reduces fuel consumption in the Mercedes-Benz Actros. Almost every new Mercedes-Benz Actros drives with an optimized rear axle. In addition, the IPS axles are also installed in the Mercedes-Benz Atego and Axor trucks.

"The innovative IPS welding technology emphasizes the importance of the Kassel plant as a global competence center for the production of truck axles. This technology was developed and brought into series production for the first time at our Kassel site," declared Dr. Frank Reintjes, Head of Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering Daimler Trucks, during the ceremony held at the plant to mark this production milestone.

Pioneering technology developed at the Kassel site

The employees at the Kassel plant developed the patented welding technology in-house. The IPS production machine was also designed and constructed on-site for the most part. The start of production was in 2012. Whereas in the past the axle housings were procured from suppliers, these components can now be produced competitively at the Kassel plant thanks to the new manufacturing process.

"100,000 IPS axles since start of production are testament to our factory's innovative strength and flexibility. The employee’s know-how and dedication ensured the development and construction of the production machine without any hitches. Together we brought axle housing production to Kassel," proclaimed Ludwig Pauss, site manager at the Mercedes-Benz plant Kassel.

About the innovative IPS technology

The axle housing forms the main body of a rear axle. Previously this component consisted of a single-piece made of cast iron or steel. The new IPS axle housing is a three-piece modular construction. The center section is a welded steel construction, while the two end sections are made of cast iron because of their complex geometry. To join the three components together, the employees had to explore new ways of developing and manufacturing axle housings using different materials.

In the first stage of the two-part IPS welding process, the point at which the parts are joined is heated by means of magnetic induction. Once the temperature has almost reached the casting material's melting point, the two components are compressed together under high force on a press in the second stage of the process. One of the greatest challenges the construction team was faced during development of the technology was meeting the exactly temperature point.

Via Daimler
Image,video ©: Daimler