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Title: The development of a techno-economic model for the evaluation of autobody materials
Author: George, S. C. H.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1998
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The need for weight reduction has meant that materials such as aluminium alloys and plastics/composites have been increasingly considered as alternatives to steel for applications in the body structure and closure panels of passenger cars. The penetration of these materials has however been limited by their higher costs, problems in achieving a consistently acceptable quality at high volume production and recyclability. Three characteristics of steel - innovation, price control and collaborative efforts with the automotive industry - have been identified as the main factors in its success. Whilst the threat posed by alternative materials is real, in the short term, for the three reasons mentioned above, steel is likely to remain the dominant material in the mass produced automobile. The long term prospects are more difficult to predict, with steel's position depending upon environmental legislation, technological change and the buying public's perception of alternative materials. This issue of materials competition along with the increasingly global and competitive nature of volume car production has stimulated interest in methods for the techno-economic evaluation of manufacturing operations and materials. Materials selection for the car body is complicated by the need to counter-balance costs with other criteria such as the need to reduce fuel consumption via weight reduction. A model for evaluating these technical and economic aspects would be a very useful tool for automakers, enabling them to compare manufacturing processes as well as identifying limiting parameters. A number of different cost analysis methods are available but this project concentrates on the use of Technical Cost Modelling for the evaluation of the various costs involved in the production of autobody panels. Models have been constructed for various blanking operations (shearing, contoured blanking and laser cutting) and the stamping of blanks to finished panels. The results highlight the importance of materials price and tool cost elements in the overall panel production costs. Analysis of these results have shown the sensitivity of costs to various elements, the financial implications of downgauging and downgrading along with the impact of production volume on total cost. There is great potential for the Technical Cost Models to investigate issues such as cost cutting, comparing materials and/or processes and also for its use as marketing tool.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Eng.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available