After they announced a while back ELR would go all LED for the exterior lighting features, the engineers at Cadillac treat us now to aerospace technology – ultrasonic welding.

This is a high-tech manufacturing process used in the aerospace and medical industries, which helps ensuring a high quality for the new Cadillac ELR extended-range electric luxury coupe, slotted for release in North America in early 2014.

Ultrasonic welding has the key advantage of exceptional and predictable quality, with high performance from one battery pack to the next. Every ELR battery has close to 200 ultrasonic welds and each is required to meet stringent quality requirements, translated to Cadillac’s eight-year/100,000-mile battery system warranty.

“Ultrasonic welding is a far superior joining technology in applications where it can be deployed,” said Jay Baron, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Cadillac’s process will produce batteries with superior quality compared with traditional methods – and do it more efficiently. This is one example of technology development that is becoming pervasive in today’s vehicles.”

General Motors’ Brownstown Battery Assembly plant near Detroit uses ultrasonic welding to join metal electrode tabs on ELR’s 16.5-kWh lithium-ion battery system, the procedure using specialized tools called an anvil and horn to apply rapid mechanical vibrations to the battery’s copper and aluminum electrodes. This creates heat through friction, resulting in a weld that doesn’t require melting-point temperatures or other joining materials such as adhesives, soldering or fasteners.


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