How can structures and materials help minimize the weight of the end product without affecting its stability and reliability? Reducing material and energy use alone is not enough. To remain competitive, both SMEs and global corporations must act quickly in embracing new trends in lightweight construction.show more
Lightweight construction in better shape than ever
How can structures and materials help minimize the weight of the end product without affecting its stability and reliability? Reducing material and energy use alone is not enough. To remain competitive, both SMEs and global corporations must act quickly in embracing new trends in lightweight construction.
Reducing weight through reinforcement
The current focus in lightweight construction is on continuous fiber reinforcement, which involves using oriented fibers to create a stronger mechanical structure. BMW employs the technique for its i Series, using carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) in producing the chassis. When it comes to manufacturing front ends, seats, pedals, and pillars, thermoplastic systems show huge potential – minimizing weight while ensuring stability.
Hybrid lightweight construction gaining traction
Hybrid lightweight construction depends on the right mix of materials. Combining the likes of aluminum, steel, magnesium, and CFRP to meet the specific load is increasingly preferred to using more expensive monolithic options. This results in tougher, firmer, more rigid components that provide more effective vibration damping. Engel Austria, a producer of injection molding machines, joins aircraft and automobile manufacturers in deploying hybrid lightweight construction. At its technology center, the company recently developed a component for a new pick-and-place robot. By mixing aluminum casting and thermoplastic carbon fiber polymer tape, Engel Austria reduced the weight of the machine’s swivel arm by around 40 percent. The robot also requires less electricity to grip objects and accelerates 20 percent faster.
Additive manufacturing Is becoming standard
3D printing revolutionized lightweight construction within just a few years. The method enables manufacturers to construct any three-dimensional form in a single step – and without tools. 3D printers can even generate complex structures, internal functional parts, and indentations. What’s more, a printed component weighs up to 50 percent less than one constructed using traditional means.
Bionics: nature’s solutions
Another exciting trend in lightweight construction, bionics sees technology taking a leaf out of nature’s book. The idea is based on how flora and fauna such as trees, fish, and birds are perfectly adapted to their environment. Seat manufacturer Recaro has drawn inspiration from the animal kingdom on several occasions. For instance, the engineers based their design for the seat of an electric car on reptile skin, resulting in a space-saving and stable construction. The seat’s gill-like vents make it breathable, too.
As conventional lightweight construction techniques reach the limit of their capabilities, there is a need for innovative approaches. Visitors to Industrial Supply experience new solutions and ideas firsthand. The leading trade fair for innovative subcontracting solutions and lightweight construction provides insights into existing technologies and the latest developments.
Lightweight Construction | 10 Oct. 2018
New software optimizes CFRP production
Cevotec from Taufkirchen near Munich is refining its process for components made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP). Waste should...
Lightweight Construction | 09 Oct. 2018
Silk should make aircraft lighter
Together AMSilk and Airbus are hoping to develop the first composite material made of a bionic high-performance fiber based on silk. The new...
Lightweight Construction | 08 Oct. 2018
BASF presents a new particle foam
The lightweight material based on polyethersulfone is designed in particular for aircraft construction. The material is light,...
Lightweight Construction | 06 Oct. 2018
German and Chinese put super-light subway train into service
A German-Chinese company has built a train made significantly lighter by the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Thanks to a...
Lightweight Construction | 05 Oct. 2018
Austrian freight cars getting lighter and more compact
The voestalpine group is building a new type of freight car with different superstructures in a lightweight design. It will be deployed for...
Lightweight Construction | 01 Oct. 2018
Researchers study the vibrational behavior of FRCs
In a joint project, three German companies and institutes are researching the vibrational behavior of bonded fiber-reinforced composites....
Lightweight Construction | 29 Sep. 2018
A new chassis makes cars 50% lighter
Former Formula One designer Gordon Murray uses aluminum and carbon fiber instead of steel to reduce the weight of cars. Thanks to its...
Lightweight Construction | 28 Sep. 2018
Danish researchers refine 3D printing in the construction industry
The more economical use of concrete should enable lighter products. Scientists in Denmark have developed a new printing process for this...
Lightweight Construction | 26 Sep. 2018
Hydrogen car tanks should become lighter
As part of a research project, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and industrial partners aim to develop a light...
Lightweight Construction | 17 Sep. 2018
Fraunhofer develops sustainable lightweight material
Combining wood foam and metal sponges creates a new lightweight hybrid material that also boasts good insulating properties.
Lightweight Construction | 13 Sep. 2018
Voith Composites wins the engineer's lightweight design award
The award is for the innovative production of carbon fiber reinforced plastic parts that Voith has developed in cooperation with Audi. The...
Lightweight Construction | 13 Sep. 2018
Ultralight fuel cell car enters test phase
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed a small car with an ultra-light body. The vehicle with a fuel cell is intended primarily for...
Lightweight Construction | 10 Sep. 2018
Researchers discover new welding technology for lighter aircraft
Engineers at the Fraunhofer IWS in Dresden have developed a new method for processing a particularly light metallic alloy. It is intended...
Lightweight Construction | 06 Sep. 2018
LANXESS lets drones fly longer
The German specialty chemicals group has developed high-performance, lightweight construction plastics that are suitable for the...
Lightweight Construction | 05 Sep. 2018
Ford hopes to make brake discs much lighter with 3D
The U.S.-based automobile manufacturer seeks to make brake discs from an aluminum alloy which is intended to only weigh half as much as...
Lightweight Construction | 02 Sep. 2018
German researchers develop the lightest truck axle to date
Scientists from Göttingen have built the lightest chassis of its type for commercial vehicles. It should reduce fuel consumption and make...
Lightweight Construction | 30 Aug. 2018
Bionics set to boost lightweight construction
Together with partners from industry, Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences is investigating how findings in bionics can be applied to...
Lightweight Construction | 30 Aug. 2018
Research factory practices protection against cyber attacks
External attacks on companies are now part of everyday life. The Fraunhofer IOSB-INA Industrial Automation branch and RZ products have now...
Lightweight Construction | 29 Aug. 2018
A lightweight bicycle can move heavy loads
A Danish company has developed an extremely light cargo bike. It is intended to make transport more ecological and economical in towns and...
Lightweight Construction | 27 Aug. 2018
The heli-drone will soon be taking to the skies
The Workhouse SureFly is a small helicopter that can be flown as easily as a drone. The flying taxi carries two people and is due to come...