Alcoa unveils breakthrough RSR™ joining system for next generation lightweight vehicles

RSR resistance spot riveting technology solves long-time automotive challenge of joining dissimilar materials

 September 14, 2016
  • The RSR joining system allows for the flexible joining of various combinations of automotive material and results in joints that are 10-20% stronger than joints utilizing competing technologies
  • Automakers can utilize Alcoa’s RSR technology with existing spot welding equipment and robotic automation, saving capital expense, minimizing production interruption and providing greater flexibility in deploying a variety of materials in their vehicles
  • Alcoa engineers are working with Honda R & D Americas, Inc, in DOE project to demonstrate the use of RSR joining on a prototype scale

Detroit, MI, September 14, 2016 – Lightweight metals leader Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) today announced a breakthrough in resistance spot riveting called the RSR™ joining system, a high-performance joining solution for multi-material vehicles. RSR technology can join dissimilar materials using the same equipment as conventional spot welds but offers automakers the flexibility to switch between it and conventional welds, depending on the material.

“Our RSR technology is going to be a powerful tool in the array of joining options for the automotive industry,” said Ray Kilmer, Alcoa’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President. “As automakers continue to design vehicles using multi-material combinations, RSR technology is the ideal joining solution. It can easily accommodate stack up changes on the assembly line and it leverages existing welding robots outfitted with our automatic feeding systems.”

In addition to partnering with several customers on the RSR technology, Alcoa recently received a grant from the Department of Energy to work with Honda R & D Americas, Inc and Ohio State University to continue to demonstrate the use of RSR joining on a prototype scale. Ultimately, the goal is to enable multi-material automotive body structures that achieve an additional 10-20% weight reduction over those made from conventional high strength steel.

"We are working with Alcoa on advanced alloys and the RSR joining technology in conjunction with the Department of Energy because we are optimistic about the new value these advanced technologies will enable us to deliver to our customers in terms of performance and fuel efficiency," said Eric Boettcher, Technical Leader, Advanced Body Design of Honda.

Responding to the growing trend of using multi-materials in vehicles to achieve lightweighting objectives and improved performance, Alcoa developed the RSR technology to enable automakers to join a variety of dissimilar materials, including conventional aluminum, high-strength aluminum, steel, high- strength steel, ultra-high strength steel, magnesium and composites. It can be used in nearly any application, including frames, floors, closeout panels, pillars, roofs, seats and intrusion beams.

Notably, automakers can utilize Alcoa’s RSR technology with minimal modifications to existing production lines. Conventional spot welding equipment and robotic automation can be adapted for use with RSR technology, which can easily shift between material combinations and fastener types.

Alcoa expects the first commercial application for the RSR technology by 2018.

RSR technology has been in development for several years as a pilot program at the Alcoa Technical Center (ATC) near Pittsburgh, PA, where scientists and engineers have been collaborating with the Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings manufacturing facility in Waco, TX. The team has also been working on developing the rivet feed system in its Kingston, NY facility.

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About Alcoa Automotive Business
Alcoa’s automotive business will form part of Arconic – Alcoa’s new Value-Add company – to be launched following Alcoa’s separation in the second half of 2016. The separation remains subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including obtaining final approval from the Alcoa Board of Directors, receipt of a favorable IRS ruling and opinions of Alcoa’s tax advisors regarding certain U.S. federal income tax matters and the effectiveness of the Form 10.

About Alcoa
A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and today, our more than 57,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. For more information, visit, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at and follow us on Facebook

Forward-Looking Statements
This communication contains statements that relate to future events and expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "goal," "plans," "potential," "should," "will," or other words of similar meaning. All statements that reflect Alcoa’s expectations, assumptions, or projections about the future other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding the potential and future for the RSR joining system. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and are not guarantees of future performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include: (a) material adverse changes in aluminum industry conditions; (b) unfavorable changes in the markets served by Alcoa, including the automotive, commercial transportation, and other markets; (c) failure to advance or successfully implement, to achieve commercialization of, or to realize expected benefits from, new technologies or innovative products, including, without limitation, the RSR joining system, whether due to changes in the regulatory environment, competitive developments, or other factors; (d) the impact of the separation on the businesses of Alcoa; and (e) the other risk factors discussed in Alcoa’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Market projections are subject to the risks discussed above and other risks in the market. Alcoa disclaims any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.