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Mr. Embargo
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The body of the new Mazda RX-8 is assembled using a new high-tech joining technique that uses friction heat. Most auto plants use resistance welding to join aluminum. But a team of Mazda engineers developed a way to use friction heat which uses 99 percent less energy than typical resistance welding. Resistance welding requires a large electrical current to pass through the aluminum to create heat for joining. That method requires a great deal of energy and large specialized equipment. The new technology developed by Mazda uses a welding gun that holds both sides of the part. The weld tool is then programmed to spin while applying force which generates friction heat, softening the aluminum and causing it to flow and join with the other part. The friction weld system provides the same level or higher joint strength and is currently being applied to the door and hood of the Mazda RX-8, and the technology can be applied to other large aluminum joining body parts. The RX-8 has been named Car of the Year by the Automotive Researchers' & Journalists' Conference of Japan (RJC), and Best New Sports/Performance Vehicle by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. (Contact: Mike Vaughn 313-322-3737, [email protected], or Jeremy Barnes 949-727-6844, [email protected])
 
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