INDUSTRY FOCUS Automotive Supply Chain

Flexible combination, precise joining process

By Suzanne Graeser Bieri, Head of Marketing at Kistler S

ince 2015, China’s automobile manufacturers have started to establish electric vehicle transformation processes in the

eff ort of becoming an industry pioneer. Under its government’s policy of “using green energy + realising overtaking on corners with Chinese technology”, automobile manufacturers have focused on cutting-edge technology, intelligent manufacturing plants and platforms integration. M & A Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, a South China enterprise, cooperated with auto parts supplier American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), with the two forming a joint venture in 2018, Liuzhou AAM Automobile Transmission System. The two industry giants now cooperate on R & D and production of independent rear drive axle, intubation driven complete axle, transmission shaft and electric bridge. They’ve chosen Kistler’s NC joining system for the new production line due to the accuracy, controllability and compatibility it off ers. At present, Liuzhou AAM has 71 employees and its main products are independent reducer/intubation bridges for fuel vehicles. After the mass production started, 43,500 product sets were produced in the third quarter of 2019, and 39,700 were sold to SAIC GM Wuling and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile. In the future, Liuzhou AAM will expand the core parts manufacturing business in the fi eld of gasoline engines.

The popular Baojun E300 model in China

Liuzhou has become an important place for making small electric vehicles. Liuzhou AAM invested in new energy business from the early stage. In March 2020, the electric drive bridge business was put into production, with its parts now found in the popular Baojun E300 model (see below left). As a result, Liuzhou AAM will realise the synchronous development of traditional fuel and new energy and double track operation.

Reduced scrap rate “Wuling Industry used hydraulic press- fi t machines before production lines were merged,” said Chen Chuanliang, senior process engineer at Liuzhou AAM. “Since such machines could not provide real-time monitoring and precise press- fi t, quality problems, such as inclined surfaces, shoveled edges and damaged parts caused by excessive pressure, occured in the assembly process. Product problems caused by old machines always led to the suspension of a production line, causing economic losses along the supply chain. What’s worse, if a potential quality problem or abnormal sound emerged during vehicle assembly, more problems and complaints from customers would follow.”

Hence, Liuzhou AAM set out to fi nd

a press-fi t solution that provides precise pressure and displacement control. “We were looking for an easy-to-use system that controls press-fi t speed according to the pace of the production line and the demands of the workstation, provides real-time feedback and adjusts displacement and force parameters, reducing the time of onsite adjustment and training cost,” said Chen.

The combination of Kistler NC Joining System and maXYmos monitoring system integrates the precise control of pressing process into the pressing action itself through the built-in force and displacement sensors. Such a complete measurement chain of control press-mounting monitoring evaluation feedbackcan achieve 100% quality

30 June 2021 | Automation

Liuzhou AAM Automobile Transmission System manufacturing plants integrate Kistler equipment

assurance, adding to decreased scrap rate of oil seal and bearing products, according to Chen.


Compatibility and multi-usability were key requirements when Liuzhou AAM chose its equipment. Highly automatic and integrated production lines require perfect control of the assembly. To increase effi ciency and productivity, same workstation press-fi t machines should preferably meet the technological requirements of various products and adapt to diff erent working stations of parts simultaneously. Currently, Liuzhou AAM has equipped

its fi nal reduction drive line with Kistler 2151NCFH and 2153NCFN systems, and EV axle line with 2162NCFE system for gears, accelerators, bearings, oil seals, half shafts and bushings.

“Another advantage of Kistler’s solution is its excellent multi-usability,” said Chen. The machine features a uniform

structure and compact design, which enables fl exible combination of a group of machines in the same workstation of a production line, facilitating assembly.



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