The ALLIANCE project had its first General Assembly (GA) last week at the Fiat Research Centre (CRF) in Turin, Italy.
On October 25, the ALLIANCE steering committee, including work package leaders IKA, TME, CRF, Opel, Volkswagen, Fraunhofer and Bax & Company, met at the CRF headquarters to update the project’s status and plan the next vital steps.
The GA kicked off on October 26 with all ALLIANCE partners present. Thorsten Michler of Opel presented the ‘Extended Target Weighing Approach’, a multi-parameter optimisation methodology for reducing automotive component weight, while taking into account the number of other parameters.
The approach is based on Value Engineering & Target Costing and abstracts their basic principles for lightweight design. The core of the method is the so called “Function-Effort-Matrix”. It assigns the estimated percentage contribution of one subsystem of the product to the fulfilment of the functions of the considered system.
Based on that, mass, costs and CO2-emissions per function can be determined and search fields for lightweight design potentials can be derived. The methodology has already been finalised, and training materials have been prepared and delivered to relevant engineers and PhD students.
Volkswagen also presented the modules selected by the project partners to be used as demonstrators for the novel materials and manufacturing technologies..
Dinesh Thirunavukkarasu from IKA presented the life-cycle environmental and cost analysis performed for the reference vehicle, to be used as a benchmark. The analysis shows that reference vehicles perform well in both aspects, as the conventional materials and manufacturing technologies have been used for several years and are well known by the industry. However, ALLIANCE partners believe that the concentrated expertise in the consortium will allow them to come with better solutions.
Additionally, IKA presented the on-going work on the technology database developed by work package 1 (WP1) partners, which will contain information on automotive materials and manufacturing technologies.
The on-going work on the development of novel materials was presented by TME. Material samples for the aluminum and steel parts have already been produced by Benteler, Novelis, and ThyssenKrupp, and a test plan has already been finalised, while material development is ongoing.
CRF presented the status of development of the manufacturing and joining of technologies for high-strength steel, aluminium, and polymer reinforced materials. Additionally, first surface tests for hybrid materials showed positive results.
Finally, Bax & Company presented all dissemination actions that have already taken place, such as the development of the ALLIANCE identity and project dissemination and communication strategy, dissemination activities that have already taken place, and the ones planned by the end of the year. Additionally, the launch of the Lightweight Open Innovation Challenge was announced, as well as a call to action from the partners, to attract innovative submissions.