Dr Huaxin Li, material/welding technical specialist at General Motors, talks about his role and his presentation at the Global Automotive Lightweight Manufacturing Summit 2018, taking place from 21–22 February 2018 in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Please can you give us a little background about yourself and your current role?

I specialize in ferrous alloy development and dissimilar material joining. I received my PhD in mechanical/metallurgical engineering from State University of New York-Buffalo. My role at Global Propulsion System of General Motor is to use advanced joining technologies and advanced material/processes to reduce power train component weight.

How important do you see laser welding to the future of the industry?

Differential carrier cases are made of ductile iron cast which are bolted to a steel part. In order to reduce weight or gain packaging space, we need to replace bolted design with welded design. Laser welding is the major welding technology for this application. In addition, it is important to develop laser weld mechanical property data and methods to predict weld fatigue life.

What automotive trends in your opinion are shaping the industry?

Emission reduction per weight reduction and electrification.

Can you describe your presentation and how it will help your fellow colleagues?

This presentation relates to laser welding a steel part to a ductile iron differential case for a front wheel drive unit of the automobile. Laser welding can reduce weight, gain packaging space, and reduce manufacturing cost by eliminating bolts and the flanges that need for bolting two parts. It is difficult to weld ductile iron and achieve weld strength because cast iron has high carbon content. This presentation will show test results and discuss the effect of weld designs and welding parameters on weld quality and weld fatigue strength. This presentation also discusses future development needs for developing weld BOD (bill of design) and weld BOM (bill of material). 

This story is reprinted from material from the Global Automotive Lightweight Manufacturing Summit, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.