Home > Jaguar manufacturing plant uses Henrob’s manual hydraulic rivet guns

Jaguar manufacturing plant uses Henrob’s manual hydraulic rivet guns

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The manufacturing plant at Castle Bromwich near here has been building cars since the 1930s and has been under Jaguar's stewardship since 1980.

But never has it undertaken such a technically challenging task as building the new XJ out of aluminium.

Astonishingly quiet compared to the noise of a factory using steel, the plant uses more than 3,200 self-piercing rivets and epoxy adhesives to hold each body-in-white's 339 pieces together.

Jaguar's manufacturing experts admit that assembling a vehicle from aluminium is far more difficult and complex than using steel.

Already, the plant has had its share of problems. The quarrelsome spring-back nature of bending aluminium, especially in the rear-quarter panel, was the key reason the XJ's launch was delayed last fall.

"Computer simulations can predict spring-back directionally but not to what degree," says Mark White, XJ body-in-white engineer. "It took 17 tests on Ford Motor Co.'s Cray supercomputer to get the rear quarter-panel right."

But it was more than that.

"A single human hair on aluminium blank can put a 6-inch dent in the panel when it's pressed," says Jaguar production manager Simon Walker.

As a result, the presses have high-pressure air jets that blow the dies and panels clear before each stamping. Each piece of aluminium has a wax coating to keep debris from getting in the works and has oil sheen to keep each sheet from sticking to each other. The lubricant technology alone was a $250,000 investment, Walker says.

Once the pieces are stamped, they are assembled using 55 manual hydraulic Henrob rivet guns and 88 robotic servo-controlled Kawasaki rivet guns.

The epoxy adhesive is applied both by workers and robots, and it does not cure until it reaches the paint shop ovens.

"There isn't an exact science to working with aluminium," Walker says. "There has been some trial and error."

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