Winteria is a spin-off from several research projects between academia, research institutes and industries in Sweden. The main focus within these projects has been how to facilitate lightweight design of welded structures. To reduce the weight in a load carrying structure such as a loader crane, truck, construction vehicle etc. it is necessary to introduce high strength steel in the design which enables reduction of plate thickness (and correspondingly, the component weight) while maintaining or increasing the performance of the product.
One of the main challenges when using high strength steel to achieve lightweight design of welded structures is to reduce the scatter of quality in production, and at the same time increase the weld quality. The size of critical defects tends to decrease for steels with an increased strength. This means that the sensitivity to notches and imperfections increases for high strength steels. Consequently, introducing high strength steel in the component also demands an increased quality requirement to avoid structural failure, which most likely will occur at a fraction of the expected service life of the structure.
The lack of reliable quality assurance methods for usage in serial production prevents designers to introduce high strength steels in their products. The result is that many components are 20 – 40% heavier than necessary.
For the manufacturing company, non-weight optimized products result in:
- High consumption of steel and weld filler material, including excessive transports and ineffective use of natural resources.
- High cost of manufacturing and internal logistics.
- Low competitiveness on the global market.
The customer who for example bought a construction vehicle which carries unnecessary weight will experience:
- Increased fuel consumption, resulting in increased CO2 emissions.
- Less payload due to total vehicle weight regulations which increase the amount of transports to move the same amount of cargo.
The Winteria system will monitor the produced quality and make sure that no detrimental defects are present in the final component. By knowing the true quality being produced, designers are able to optimize the welded component and increase usage of high strength steel and ultimately reduce the weight of the final component.