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CT6 to be constructed with state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques
GM
January 22, 2015


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cadillac will use the auto industry’s most comprehensive and advanced mixed-material manufacturing techniques to build its all-new CT6 top-of-range sedan, allowing creation of a top-of-range large luxury sedan with the agility and efficiency of a smaller vehicle.

The CT6, which goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015, will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, using a unique combination of joining techniques, a first for any General Motors’ model. A new body shop with new tooling and advanced technologies – including 205 robots – has been added to the plant. The fully automated, roughly 138,000-square-foot shop is dedicated to the manufacturing of the high-end luxury sedan.

When it launches, the CT6 will expand the Cadillac range upwards – adding rather than replacing a current product. Positioned above today’s CTS and XTS product lines, the CT6 aims to join the elite group of top-class large luxury cars.

“For the Cadillac CT6 we have developed additional new body construction techniques and technologies allowing various types of advanced and lightweight materials to be combined within the manufacturing environment like never before,” Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said today at the Washington Auto Show.

“We have invested $300 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to make this possible,” he said. “These actions will allow us to advance the art of manufacturing and take craftsmanship and manufacturing technology to a new level.”

Engineers faced a new challenge in manufacturing the advanced mixed material vehicle structure for the CT6. Combining different types of joining methods, the team overcame previous manufacturing difficulties involving the joining of traditionally dissimilar materials, while still allowing the engineering team to optimize every panel for its desired purpose.

Material joining techniques prominent in the body construction of the CT6 include:


  • Patented Aluminum Spot Welding Technology

  • Aluminum Laser Welding, which creates a seamless joining of exterior panels

  • Self-Piercing Rivets, which are able to join different types of materials together with a clean appearance

  • Flow Drill Screws, which are able to join different types or materials and used in conjunction with adhesive

Aluminum arc welding and structural adhesive are also separately used for CT6 body assembly.

Among the five techniques, the CT6’s engineers were able to select the best joining method depending on material combination and body location (for machine equipment access).

To weld both the inner and outer vehicle frames, 28 robots descend on the vehicle body in two separate framing stations, joining the body-in-white together from all angles. The robots are mounted above and beside the vehicle and can also reach beneath it. The two framing processes were choreographed to compensate for different microscopic vibrations, and CT6 body construction resembles an orchestra as the robotic arms move in and out around the vehicle.

“Never before has an automaker brought this combination of joining techniques together for a single vehicle,” said Travis Hester, CT6 executive chief engineer. “The manufacturing team has enabled body engineers to optimize the vehicle for mass, safety, stiffness and materials with more precision than ever.

“The result is a top-level large luxury sedan, with class-leading body stiffness that generates excellent driving characteristics and impressive fuel economy without compromises to safety, comfort or quality,” he said.

Once the body construction is complete, a large robotic arm lifts the entire vehicle from one part of the assembly line to an upper-level conveyer – unheard of for a vehicle the size of CT6 – to be transferred across the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Using these advanced manufacturing techniques allows for the CT6 to meet the highest standards in vehicle build quality, and to allow Cadillac to use the most mass-efficient materials while reducing fuel consumption and enhancing safety and driving dynamics.

The CT6 marks the return of a full-size luxury sedan to Detroit-Hamtramck. The plant also builds the Cadillac ELR electrified luxury coupe, among other products.
 

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That new technology has got to worry Ford. Ford did not invent a process of spot welding aluminum by using the existing welders like GM has, thus saving billions of dollars of retooling. Look at all the billions Ford could have saved if they could have done the same.

Great job GM. You are definitely going down the right path!!
 

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Self-Piercing Rivets, which are able to join different types of materials together with a clean appearance
Uh oh, we have been hearing how bad rivets are from the other threads on aluminum vehicles. Now Cadillac is using them too.

What a conundrum for some.
 
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Nice to see GM's research into aluminum welding processes, from a few years ago, come into the production environment.


Uh oh, we have been hearing how bad rivets are from the other threads on aluminum vehicles. Now Cadillac is using them too.

What a conundrum for some.
Aluminum riveted structures have been around for a long time in aerospace. If GM did their homework it shouldn't be an issue.
 

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All of these "tidbits" about the CT6 and STILL no leaks that we want! I remember someone on GMI saying that knew what engines will be offered but couldn't say anything. It might have been Nick. Can we get something now that we are a couple months away?

"Give me news about the plug in hybrid please!!!", SAID NO ONE EVER!

So don't go there. Thanks!
 

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Aluminum riveted structures have been around for a long time in aerospace. If GM did their homework it shouldn't be an issue.
You and I both know that but the comments by some in other threads have stated it would be a disaster. Using known assembly practices is bad for some but ok for others was the point that I was getting at.

How many airplanes are welded together instead of riveted?
 

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Love it. Any well engineered vehicle will take advantage of multiple materials and their individual strengths to create an optimized solution.

I'm looking forward to seeing the details on the CT6.

Awesome but I would think repairs at Bruno's Body Shop will be virtually impossible.
While true I don't see too many people taking a high end comparably low volume Cadillac to Bruno's Body shop.
 

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You and I both know that but the comments by some in other threads have stated it would be a disaster. Using known assembly practices is bad for some but ok for others was the point that I was getting at.
Ok, I misunderstood.

How many airplanes are welded together instead of riveted?
I laughed when I tried to picture what a welded together airplane looked like. I think it would look like some of my early model airplane efforts. :eek:
 

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Aluminum riveted structures have been around for a long time in aerospace. If GM did their homework it shouldn't be an issue.
Repairing an aircraft is super costly compared to cars and also often quite "ugly". These new school riveted and such cars are going to get deemed "totaled" a lot easier than traditional cars with the sorts of damage that are common in even somewhat minor roadway accidents. You can always find a way to efficiently get something together in a mass production environment....but there aren't always good ways to get it back to spec in a cost effective way after a wreck. Steel is much more useful in this respect.
 

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Since the Camaro and the Omega CT6 were developed at the same time and have a similar production schedule, I wouldn't be surprised if the Camaro had/will also take advantage of these technological advances.
 

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Love it. Any well engineered vehicle will take advantage of multiple materials and their individual strengths to create an optimized solution.

I'm looking forward to seeing the details on the CT6.



While true I don't see too many people taking a high end comparably low volume Cadillac to Bruno's Body shop.[/QUOTE

No certified GM body shop will be equipped to handle either.
 

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You and I both know that but the comments by some in other threads have stated it would be a disaster. Using known assembly practices is bad for some but ok for others was the point that I was getting at.

How many airplanes are welded together instead of riveted?
You don't weld much on airplanes because the alloys that are somewhat easy to weld are just as heavy, but weaker than alloys that are just almost impossible to weld....but much stronger. I help design airplanes and everything about how we do things is more labor intensive and expensive in general. You can get cost out with robots and mass production stuff that isn't viable for me on an airplane with a car....but at your local shop they are going to have to do it the more inefficient and costly ways.

So I am pretty confident insurance and repair costs will be a good bit higher and it's not really going to be possible to ever fully fix that with more knowledgeable shops and such as more and more products like these are on the market. It will probably be way worse here early on...but it will never reach a parity or even be really close probably.
 
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