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.
Additive Manufacturing | 19 Jun. 2018
Laser scanner facilitates the production of TP-FRP prototypes
TP-FRP prototypes cannot yet be produced economically due to the high tooling costs. A new photonics-based process is supposed to make it...
Lightweight Construction | 10 Jun. 2018
General Motors wants to print car parts, and thereby make them lighter
In collaboration with Autodesk, the US automotive group wants to develop 3D printing processes for individual parts, with the aim of making...
Lightweight Construction | 07 Jun. 2018
Boeing 777x folds up its wing tips
To make the huge new 777x wide-bodied aircraft fit a standard gate, Boeing engineers designed foldable wing tips for this airplane.
Industrie 4.0 | 06 Jun. 2018
MTU Aero Engines is increasingly relying on 3D printing
The Munich engine specialists are already well acquainted with the practical use of additive manufacturing processes. Now they have set up...
Industrie 4.0 | 29 May. 2018
Green Factory unites industry and research
The Fraunhofer Society and the Technical University of Munich celebrate the foundation stone being laid for the new Green Factory research...
Lightweight Construction | 27 May. 2018
UPS is switching to lightweight electric vans
The American parcel service provider is planning to modernize its entire vehicle fleet. The first Arrival vans will be entering courier...
Lightweight Construction | 26 May. 2018
Carbon fiber researchers establish a world association
In Dresden, leading carbon fiber researchers have founded the Global Scientific Association of Advanced Carbon Fibre. The world association...
Lightweight Construction | 25 May. 2018
Persistent drone capable of flying for one year
Two British companies develop a drone capable of flying for one year, thanks to lightweight solar panels. The first test flights are...
Lightweight Construction | 22 May. 2018
GM combines generative design and 3D printing
General Motors will in future be using Autodesk software, which leverages artificial intelligence to generate design alternatives for...
Digital Factory | 18 May. 2018
Next-generation 3D printing
HANNOVER MESSE 2018 saw the successful premiere of the Ultimaker S5 3D printer from Ultimaker. Its increased build volume makes it ideal for...
Lightweight Construction | 11 May. 2018
Production plus 3D printing saves materials and resources
Lightweight construction and 3D printing make a good match. A new brief analysis features four scenarios showing the potential for savings...
Lightweight Construction | 08 May. 2018
Fiber-reinforced composites from sugar cane make for lighter cars
Lighter vehicles consume less energy, hence the constant attempts to replace metal components wherever possible. Consequently, in...
Energy | 06 May. 2018
The first wind turbines are being recycled
Operators in Germany are currently getting rid of the first wind turbines for lack of economic efficiency. A Bremen company has specialized...
Lightweight Construction | 29 Apr. 2018
Aluminum replaces copper in board cabling
A company from the United Kingdom has developed a special coating that makes it possible to convert from copper to aluminum cables in...
Research & Technology | 20 Apr. 2018
A rollover in a cabriolet? No sweat!
At HANNOVER MESSE 2018, the Alfred Wegener Institute is revealing how it's joining forces with Volkswagen in an endeavor to strengthen and...
Lightweight Construction | 17 Apr. 2018
Carbon rear wheel swing arm gets the JEC Innovation Award
BMW has developed flexible procedures for the mass production of carbon motorcycle parts with scalable strength and has received an award...
Lightweight Construction | 12 Apr. 2018
High-performance steel in 3D printing replaces titanium
Researchers at the University of Kassel are using high-strength TRIP steel for additive manufacturing. The results show good predictable...
Research & Technology | 30 Mar. 2018
Heavy machinery for light metals
Light Metals Technologies Ranshofen is at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 to exhibit the latest addition to its industry-focused casting portfolio – a...
Lightweight Construction | 30 Mar. 2018
Titanium and sulfur make double-strength alloys
Researchers at Saarland University have developed a new class of amorphous metals. These alloys, also called metallic glasses, are suitable...
Lightweight Construction | 27 Mar. 2018
Carbon-fiber reinforcement through recycling
A Lower Saxony company is offering recycled continuous fibers made from carbon under the brand name CarboNXT. The solution is also...