Automotive supplier Magna develops torsional welding, an award-winning innovation for joining thermoplastic materials that helps automakers cut weight and costs.

The torsional welding process, developed for automotive applications at Magna’s exteriors plant in Liberec, Czech Republic, features a high-speed twisting motion that creates enough friction-based heat to join a plastic bracket to a thermoplastic fascia.

The technology realizes an approximate 10% weight reduction because it allows thinner materials to be joined, which in turn reduces material costs, Magna says in a news release. Torsional welding is being used to make the front fascia of the ʼ17 Skoda Octavia, and it has potential for other applications where materials of similar composition need to be joined.

Torsional welding also may play a role in advanced driver-assistance systems and in the development of self-driving cars, Magna says. The trend will be for automotive fascias to become heavier with additional autonomous features, due to the need for more sensors. Torsional welding makes it possible to reduce weight on the outer skin and brackets so more sensors can be added without affecting the vehicle’s overall weight.

The Society of Plastics Engineers Detroit Chapter recognized Magnaʼs torsional welding process with an innovation award at its recent TPO conference in Troy, MI.

‟We seek every opportunity, from design and materials to enabling technologies, to help customers meet their lightweighting goals,ˮ Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow says. ‟We appreciate this recognition from SPE and look forward to expanding the use of this innovative process.ˮ