How are car parts made?
Modern cars are made up of thousands of different parts, and with the ever-changing technology, the list of parts also continues to grow. Millions of vehicles are registered every year. Each must have its integral parts manufactured and assembled in a factory, before being shipped to the country of destination, where it is sold.
As a vehicle passes through an assembly line, approximately 6,000 different parts will be added to it. If a part isn’t quite right, it can lead to significant problems further down the production chain, so manufacturers spend a lot of time and effort in the part manufacturing process.
Different types of auto parts
There are three different types of auto parts.
OEM auto parts are manufactured and supplied for car assembly production lines. Major automakers like Ford make parts so they are always available so the assembly line can keep running without any delays. Delays mean lost money.
In addition to new car parts, manufacturers also produce spare parts for vehicles already on the market. These parts are purchased by garages to repair vehicles. Most manufacturers continue to make parts for many years after a vehicle’s first release.
Replacement parts are not made by the original manufacturer. These are often less expensive than OEM parts, so they are popular with consumers. People working on their own vehicles usually source replacement parts, such as brake pads and shock absorbers.
How are car parts made?
Different car parts are made in different ways. Metal parts are made using a metal forming process. Without automotive metal forming, modern cars wouldn’t look the way they do. Sheet metal can be hot or cold worked. The basic processes are below:
Metal forming is an ancestral know-how. Before the Industrial Revolution, blacksmiths worked metal into the required shapes using hammers and heat. Today, the same work is done on a large scale using specialized machinery.
A blank sheet metal part is the starting point for many automotive parts. This metal is then reshaped, stamped, cut and molded into the part needed. Presses are used to shape metal into curves. The right amount of pressure is needed or the metal will not hold the desired shape.
Stamping presses are used to make automotive parts such as wheel covers. Here the metal is literally stamped into a specific shape using a die.
Metal drawing involves using a die to shape the metal. The sheet is pressed against a die using a hydraulic press or a punch. The lubricant is used to minimize the possibility of wrinkles. Forging is also used to produce the same effect.
Extrusion processes force metal through a die to produce long tubes and rods.
The Evolution of Auto Parts Manufacturing
The biggest advancement in automotive parts manufacturing in recent years is how computers are now being used to simulate processes, control machines, and design better and more efficient parts. This helps create parts that are better suited to the application, while reducing manufacturing cost.
The auto parts industry has come a long way in the past 100 years. Modern auto parts manufacturing is constantly evolving as electric vehicles become more and more dominant in the market. What does the future hold? We will have to wait and see.
*Photo by Vlad Grebenyev on Unsplash