A Major OEM
- Reduced Machining
- Cost Reduction
- Component Consolidation
- Tooling Cost Reduction
- Quality Improvements
A major OEM had a need for a splined hub to drive clutch plates in an automatic transmission.
Initial Customer Approach
The hub entered production as a two-piece assembly. This assembly comprised of a stamping that featured the clutch plate splines, a machined hub and a subsequent assembly operation/laser weld. The machined hub incorporated spline features and various other key dimensions that were fully finished prior to laser welding.
The main issue with the two-piece design was part deformation during the laser welding process. The finish machined hub, when subjected to the heat from the laser welding process, distorted in relation to the stamping.
The correction required for this two–piece assembly – machining critical dimensions in the hub after welding – was not possible due to constraints of the existing production line.
NETFORM reviewed the issues with the engineers at the OEM and proposed a new process. In this new process, the hub and the splined stamping were combined into one component. This concept – impossible with the original stamping process due to the varying cross-sectional thicknesses – became feasible with the utilization of the cold forming process. This eliminated the need for the laser weld, eliminating i) scrap due to weld quality issues and ii) distortion of the hub due to the laser weld heat. NETFORM developed the ability to cold form the splines during the main cold-forming process. This is done in the forming hit with tooling that cost a fraction of the multi-station stamping dies.
The consolidation from two parts to one and the quality improvements resulted in a $2 per component savings. NETFORM eventually took over the full production requirements without any quality issues. This concept was prototyped and passed all testing.