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Alongside pioneers of lightweighting in automotive construction, Marcos Ierides of Bax & Company and Dinesh Thirunavukkarasu of ika-RWTH presented ALLIANCE at Auto Industrie’s Lightweight Summit 2019 (Leichtbau Gipfel 2019) in Wurzburg, Germany, on Wednesday 27 March.

More than 240 OEMs and suppliers met at the two-day event to exchange knowledge and came to the conclusion that “Lightweight construction is experiencing a renaissance”.

The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure opened the first day presentations, sharing Germany’s ambition to reduce the environmental impact of automotive making use of lightweight technologies and alternative powertrains.

Also, Dr Fabian Fischer from Volkswagen’s R&I department discussed how they managed to reduce the weight of Golf parts while maintaining performance and costs using “patching” of GFRP directly on metal parts. Moreover, he revealed cycle times are now lower than 60 seconds.

Daimler’s Dr Thomas Behr also spoke about the ever-increasing need for lightweighting due to growing safety and passenger requirements, which even included increasing passenger size. He also presented the ever-increasing complexity and accuracy of Daimler’s modelling and simulation methodologies, which combine not only the overall material properties, but also the part’s local properties defined by the processing and joining technologies, closing the accuracy gap between digital and physical testing and prototyping, and accelerating development.

Other highlights include a presentation from Toyota’s Dr. Kosho Kawahara, on how they use parametric modelling and machine learning to generate thousands of digital test cases and accelerate the development of lightweight parts.

The event’s lineup delivered a positive message about the future of lightweighting. The evolution of joining technologies is making multi-material design a viable solution, novel manufacturing technologies are able to reduce cycle times, and modelling and simulation are accelerating component development. In the age of EVs where range is a key issue, lightweighting is able to increase the driving range by some 10km per 100kg of lightweighting, which can be further increased with battery resizing.

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