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Lightweight Construction

Current material customer belongs to technology management

Quo vadis, lightweight construction? A study answers this question for the field of electromobility. The 220 surveyed experts predict increasing pressure to develop environmentally friendly vehicles in the future.

16 Mar. 2018
Current material customer belongs to technology management (Photo: Deutsche Messe)

The analysis was created by the Research and Technology Center for Resource-Efficient Lightweight Structures in Electromobility (FOREL). The assessment incorporated, among other things, prognoses of companies such as suppliers and OEMs in the automotive industry and associated sectors. Respondents expect to see more lightweight construction, growing technical requirements, greater flexibility in manufacturing and resource efficiency, as well as an improved and consistent ability to make predictions.

The study also describes ways to achieve these goals. For example, numerical simulation is currently an “indispensable tool for designing manufacturing processes and structural components.” However, in some areas, key parameters and uniform simulation interfaces are still in short supply. The authors of the study also see a need for systematic technology management that can provide speedy insight into which technologies are actually being used successfully in production. Furthermore, in the future, ecological sustainability will become a basic requirement in lightweight construction. While the drive to increase the focus on ecological aspects has been clearly formulated, doing so represents a significant investment in both personnel and money.

Sabri Ben Naceur of consultancy firm Rödl & Partner emphasizes the environmental significance of lightweight production: “To meet the CO2 targets, lightweight construction for vehicles is non-negotiable.” He cites the Association of German Engineers’ (VDI) estimation that, by 2020, conventional steel will make up only around 20% of the total combination of materials in a given vehicle. He advises suppliers to orient their own customer-to-customer processes around stability and automatization and modernize their product portfolios by adding intelligent digital tools.