During the car manufacturing process, automotive developers are looking for an easy and quick way to treat composite parts before bonding to ensure the integrity of the frame’s structure. It’s important that this solution can easily integrate into the manufacturing process to avoid stalling installations and development — causing expensive downtime. Time, money, and efficiency were three aspects that GM was looking for when they partnered with us for their eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette (C8).
For years, Adapt Laser has fine-tuned a process that leverages our laser solutions to prepare composite parts for the Corvette. When it came time for manufacturing the 2020 Corvette, GM needed an easy way to clean the composite parts before the bonding treatment to ensure the integrity of the car’s structure. Our goal was to not only clean these composite parts, but to do so through a seamless integration that saves time, money, and promotes efficiency. With our laser solution, we could:
- Replace hand sanding
- Reduce labor, time, and costs
- Eliminate dust
- Improve repeatability
Pre- and post-treatment is often necessary for the mass manufacturing of automobiles. Not only does it remove contaminants that preventing bonding, but is also structures the surface so that there is a mechanical bond for the adhesive to stick to. Without the structure of the surface, the bond line would not work as the surface would be too smooth to stay bonded with.
There are multiple composite parts that Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) creates for GM. We came up with a process that allows GM to take a composite part, clean it with the laser, create a profile for bonding, and then bond to the part. This helped to maximize manufacturing flexibility. The entire underbody — including the floor — was able to be connected to the frame and itself via bonding and screws. We were able to customize the laser’s path, angle of attack, and energy levels to each part’s material and geometry. And, because the laser could be set before integration, there is no downtime during the manufacturing process.
While laser ablation was the ideal solution for preparing composite parts for the 2020 Corvette, our laser solutions are not the optimal choice for all car-related cleanings. Even when testing our lasers with the 2020 Corvette, our solutions excelled in some, but not all cases. Our lasers are best optimized for manufacturing processes and are less ideal for car restoration projects.
Adapt laser has worked with the automotive industry for years — including GM with their previous Corvettes. For more information about our role in the 2020 Corvette project, read the full story here.