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 | 31 Jul. 2018
A Roth plant wraps fiber strands for Ariane 6
The German special machine manufacturer, Roth, has developed a fiber wrapping plant for the production of propulsion rockets for Ariane 6 in...
Research & Technology | 27 Jul. 2018
Research into electrical aircraft is taking off
According to a current Roland Berger study, electric-powered aircraft are about to turn the industry upside down. The number of experiments...
Industrie 4.0 | 26 Jul. 2018
Bavaria intends to become leading flying taxi location
Bavaria intends to be a pioneer when it comes to air mobility. A corresponding catalog of measures includes, among other things, a trial for...
Startups | 25 Jul. 2018
Bio-rockets launch satellites into space
On the A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland, the UK Space Agency is currently setting up a site for rocket...
Artificial Intelligence | 22 Jul. 2018
AI constructs an ultra-aerodynamic bike
To crack the previous record, a French university team wants to send a bike into the race, which has been aerodynamically optimized by...
Industrial Supply | 22 Jul. 2018
Highly adhesive diamond coating saves tool costs
A new method improves the adhesion of the diamond coating on carbide tools, which are used for example for the machining of lightweight...
Integrated Industry | 08 Jul. 2018
MT Aerospace launches a digital rocket factory
MT Aerospace inaugurated a highly automated factory in Augsburg to manufacture various components of the upcoming Ariane 6 launcher....
Trade & Invest | 05 Jul. 2018
ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe invests in China
Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe is making a major contribution to the production of lightweight and steel design wheels for the Chinese vehicle...
Lightweight Construction | 03 Jul. 2018
PEEK protective coating makes lightweight components more durable
Magnesium components are given PEEK coating with a new process. Thanks to laser technology, this is even possible in a very targeted manner.
Lightweight Construction | 28 Jun. 2018
Lightweight pedelec from London will be a crowdfunding success
A British startup has presented a new bicycle with an auxiliary motor and aluminum frame at no more than 14 kg. The supporters are excited.
Lightweight Construction | 23 Jun. 2018
Siemens makes the ICE (German intercity express train) 15 % lighter
The Munich-based company has unveiled the new Velaro Novo: lighter, faster, more spacious and even more economical in terms of energy...
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...