Safety first. You hear it quite often because it’s on people’s minds. It’s also important for car manufacturers, and many brag about their vehicles’ safety in television ads. So like many others, when I went shopping for a car recently, safety was at the top of my list. But how do I judge how safe a car is?
I asked my local mechanically-inclined friends. Several criteria actually make a car safe, but I found out that the metal structure of a car is hugely important.
Take spot welds, for example. Sheet metal parts are often bonded together by applying pressure and high electrical currents at specific points called spot welds. This makes the joined parts stronger, safer, and more uniform in appearance.
Spot welds not only make a vehicle safer, but can also help in reducing rattles and road noises. I learned that spot welds are used throughout a vehicle – up to 5,000 spot welds in one car! Who knew?
That sounded pretty safe to me and looking for a vehicle with this amount of spot welding definitely impressed me. Since they are done early in the vehicle production, I had to trust that they were there. I found out that a good spot weld can’t easily been seen in the finished vehicle.
Feeling pretty confident in my new knowledge of spot welds and car safety, I pressed on with my purchasing research.
Okay, so 5,000 spot welds are good, but does it matter how the welds get there? Apparently it does.
Industrial robots are typically used to spot weld sheet metal parts together. The “old way” of programming spot welding robots is by hand on the factory floor, which interrupts automobile production.
The “new way” is to ensure the welding is accurate by programming the robots offline on a personal computer, all without stopping the production line. This reduces manufacturing costs, which keeps car prices down.
All of that means to me: a safer car without the high price. This was definitely worth the research.
Feel like taking a glance at how it works? Watch the video! It shows our digital spot welding in action.
Well, if you want to know the truth, safety was number two on my list of “must haves” in a car… The color red was first.
What’s at the top of your list?