Using advanced tube hydroforming techniques, Vari-Form Corporation (Livonia, MI) produces the cradle arms incorporated in the 2017 Audi Q5, a flagship compact luxury crossover that boasts handsome exterior styling, an expertly-crafted cabin, exciting power choices and ample high-tech features. The superior craftsmanship synonymous with the brand extends to all-important vehicle underpinnings, including the rear cradle arms.
“As load-bearing structures, the rear cradle arms must be both strong and light-weight,” said Terry Nardone, the director of sales and marketing at Vari-Form. “These shaped tubes are expanded during hydroforming and include in-die hole punching, all while maintaining very tight tolerances. Our process for high-pressure hydroforming delivers the specified final surface characteristics to ensure that a flawless final assembly is achieved.”
Manufacture of the part involves a four-step process: bending, preforming, hydroforming and laser cutting tube features. Vari-Form engineers worked closely with Autotek, a division of Magna International, supplier of the Q5 rear-axle/differential assembly to Audi, to optimize the final shape of the cradle arms and develop the processes needed for manufacture. This collaboration is an essential factor in the overall quality of the 2017 Audi Q5. “Our HIBS initiative (Hydroform-Intensive Body Structures) provides an insight into how future vehicles will be produced,” added Nardone. The production location for 2017 Audi Q5 cradle arms is the Vari-Form plant in Queretaro, Mexico.
Vari-Form Corporation, 17199 North Laurel Park, Suite 322, Livonia, MI 48152, 248-879-7656, www.vari-form.com.
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