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A Test of Precision for Sheet Metal Engineering: Internal Brackets for Autonomous Vehicles

By: Atemitech

Autonomous driving assistance systems are now a part of our everyday life. Autonomous vehicles are becoming more widespread as well. Cars are now more than cars. They are a data center on wheels equipped with a multitude of sensors that can actively sense the surrounding environment, detect its position and make judgments automatically. The sensors are growing in number and complexity too. Most sensors are hidden within the vehicle body, stashed away inside the bumpers, rear view mirrors, and the side of the vehicle. How to protect these complex and sophisticated sensors from the vehicle’s motion and vibrations so they don’t stray out of place? The answer is internal brackets.

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Brackets may be tiny but they involve a lot of technical knowledge. The installation of different sensors means a bracket that bends and twists in different directions and needs a maze of holes for the wires to pass through. The bold, streamlined curves of the vehicle body also make absolute precision critical. Vehicle sensor brackets with their irregular, compound angles and exacting standards of precision are therefore quite technically challenging for the sheet metal craft.

Sheet metal is widely used in modern society due to its low cost, durability, and high strength. Its many applications include the casing of large electronic devices to precision parts. Metal plates of uniform thickness go through cutting, forming, welding or surface treatment processes to produce the frame or external cover that we need. The main types of materials used from the least to most expensive are iron, stainless steel, aluminum and copper.

A factory must review the drawings before the fabrication of sheet metal can begin. The designer converts the 3D product into 2D drawings so the factory must check that all the information are in place, whether the spaces and edges are appropriate, and how special angles are designed. This determines how the fabrication process will run. Professional vendors can help customers with engineering drafting and create the final product using the minimum number of procedures to reduce costs.

Brackets for electric vehicles are particularly complex, however. The irregular exterior design means that the drawings contain more compound viewing angles and structures than other products. To deliver the level of precision that the customer wants, experienced vendors can not only break down the diagrams and suggest the most cost-effective production process. 3D auxiliary test jigs are also produced through CNC machining in advance to help ensure that the product’s angles, cavities and fit fully conform to the design requirements.

Once the drawings have been confirmed, the next step is laser cutting. Differences in materials, thickness and purpose means a large number of variables are involved in laser cutting. These include adjustment of focal point, cutting speed, frequency, wavelength, choice of auxiliary gases and pressure. Experienced vendors can optimize the entire process to reduce over-melting of sharp angles and burring. Dispensing with the burr removal procedure helps to reduce costs.

To sheet metal experts, the two most important steps during sheet metal fabrication are engineering drafting and forming. Once the material has been cut, it must be drilled or bent as the drawing dictates. The sheer precision required of the dimensions and angles will test the operators’ control ability. Even if the hardware is the same the precision will vary. Good craftsmanship greatly reduce costs and improves yields while meeting the most demanding requirements. This is also the most important step when using high-precision equipment for sheet metal fabrication.

As a fast, low-cost and high-strength solution, sheet metal can be found everywhere in our lives. Even now in the Internet of Things age the precision of the sheet metal craft still has an important role to play. Do you want to know how your design can be realized in sheet metal and save costs? Please click “Contact Us” for a professional consultation with one of our representatives.

 

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