On September 19, the AffordabLe LIghtweight Automobiles AlliaNCE (ALLIANCE) hosted its final event at the Institute for Automotive Engineering (IKA) in Aachen, to celebrate three years of automotive lightweighting research.
Around 80 people joined the project’s final event, to get to know about the novel materials and processing technologies as well as support tools that were developed within the last three years by the ALLIANCE consortium.
The day kicked off with a welcome by project coordinator Sama Mbang from Daimler AG and project secretariat Thilo Bein from Fraunhofer LBF. The welcome was followed by a presentation of the novel materials, namely the 3rd generation Q&P steel by ThyssenKrupp, which can be cold-formed – therefore reducing energy consumption and cycle times – and the Fusion ® 6 and 7 series aluminium grades by Novelis, providing high formability and enhanced properties. Materials were followed by presentations of the relevant processing technologies; forming for the steel and aluminium grades, hybrid metal-composite thermoforming process, as well as an improved thermoplastic composite manufacturing process combining water injection and IMC.
Next to the manufacturing technologies, an overview of the variety of joining technologies studied and evaluated was presented. The attendees then had a chance to look at the demonstrators developed in the project, a front bumper beam from a Jeep Renegade, manufactured by Benteler, a rear bumper beam of a Toyota C-HR, also manufactured by Benteler, a patchwork hood of a Fiat 500, a rear floor pan by Toyota Motor Europe and BATZ, a front bumper beam by Daimler AG, a front door hybrid structure for a Volkswagen automatic car and a front door structure by Volvo. The developed demonstrators exhibit a weight reduction from 25% up to 52%, and a reduced GWP between 10% and 56%.
After the demonstrator tour, the support tools that were developed in the project were presented, namely the Extended Target Weighing Approach by IPEK – supporting early design decisions – the Scalability and Transferability methodology by Ricardo, and the Lifecycle Cost and Environmental Assessment tools developed by Bax & Company and ika-RWTH, and University of Florence. Results of the support tools show that transferring ALLIANCE technologies to a whole vehicle would result to a weight reduction of an ICE vehicle of 15.6%, reduce GWP by 6-8%, most of which can be done at a cost of €3/kg saved.
More information about the results of ALLIANCE will shortly be uploaded on the project’s website.