New materials bring bonding and riveting to the fore

The PNP90 rivet gun from Chief Automotive. According to Jeff Sanford, Staff Writer for Collision Repair magazine, operation is simple enough that even journalists can use it with minimal instruction.

By Jeff Sanford

Madison, Indiana — October 12, 2015 — One of the big shifts in the world of advanced automotive materials is the use of bonding and riveting as a method for joining. Traditionally, welding has been the method for joining materials. But with the advent of materials like carbon fibre and increasing use of aluminum, not mention mixed material construction, bonding and riveting is coming to the fore.

At Chief Automotive’s day-long seminar on advanced joining techniques, an information session outlined the promise of carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is ten times strong than steel. It’s eight times stronger than aluminum. But it’s still much lighter than both of those materials (five and 1.5 times as light, respectively).

Carbon fiber is also one of the most corrosion resistant materials available, especially when it’s coupled with proper resins. According to Richard Perry of Chief, the next generation of carbon-fibre composites could “reduce passenger car weight by 50 percent and improve fuel efficiency by about 35 percent.”

This is an important stat as automakers get ready for 2025 when the average mpg for autos will be 54.5 miles. “This is an advance that could save more than $5,000 in fuel over the life of the car at today’s gasoline prices,” says Perry.

No wonder the use of carbon fibre is rising. According to Perry, the market for carbon fibre has expanded from $900 million to $2 billion between 2005 and 2015. In 2005 commercial grade carbon fibre made up only 59 percent, while aerospace grade carbon fibre made up 41 percent of the market. Today commercial grade is 71 percent of the market and aerospace grade is just 29 percent. So the use of carbon fiber outside of the aerospace sector is expanding.

Carbon fibre is now in the B and C pillars of the BMW 7 Series. To join this exotic material to other fiber pieces or metal, the process of bonding and riveting is key. To satisfy this expanding market, Chief Automotive Technologies is selling the PNP90 rivet gun.

The pneumatic-hydraulic gun is much lighter and user-friendly than older air-operated rivet guns. It can be used to insert self-piercing rivets or flow form rivets. With a pressure rating of 6,000 psi, the gun is a beast. A blind rivet attachment allows techs to get into hard-to-reach spaces. It is easy enough to use that the various reporters in attendance were able to rivet a custom-made business card holder Chief handed out to participants in the session. The ability for a tech to easily insert many rivets in a short-time is an important part of the new world of collision repair. 

For more information, please visit chiefautomotive.com


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