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This is particularly true of Hall 6, which in recent years has developed into a central platform for lightweight design solutions and is now the first port of call for the visiting public.

"To an increasing extent technological advances in lightweight design are influencing the entire development and production process," says Marc Bicker, who at next year's HANNOVER MESSE will once again be representing the Lightweight Design Cluster based at Landshut University of Applied Sciences. "The component supply industry, in particular, is developing innovations for OEMs that transcend traditional value chains and industrial sectors." This applies to new materials, as well as joining and bonding techniques, which, in combination with innovative production and surface treatment methods, are paving the way to entirely new solutions. A unique feature of HANNOVER MESSE is the side-by-side presentation of lightweight alloys, high-strength steel, polymers, composites, foams and multi-material design solutions.

Digitalization plays a key role

"Less is worth more" is the motto of the group presentation mounted by the state of Baden-Württemberg at HANNOVER MESSE. The participating enterprises focus on key issues in the lightweight construction sector – e.g. digitalization, additive manufacturing, hybrid materials and innovative design and simulation methods. "Digitalization is central to the continued development of lightweight design," emphasizes Dr. Wolfgang Seeliger, Managing Director of Leichtbau BW GmbH. "Lightweight design pushes materials to their absolute limits, products have to be completely redesigned, and new functions have to be incorporated into components. To exploit the potential of lightweight design it is essential to implement seamless data communication along the entire value chain. This delivers significantly enhanced competitiveness, plus value-added benefits for the customer."

Schunk Carbon Technology pushes back functional boundaries

The Schunk Group numbers among the leading lightweight design specialists. This leading international player offers a broad spectrum of products and services in the fields of carbon technology and ceramics, environmental simulation and air conditioning technology, sintered metal and ultrasonic welding. The Schunk Carbon Technology Division specializes in the development, production and application of high-performance industrial components made of carbon, ceramics and quartz. These components are deployed in road vehicles, electric motors, pumps, wind power installations and other high-tech applications. Carbon figures prominently in this context. Carbon-based composites present a lightweight alternative to metals and deliver noticeable savings in terms of mass, energy consumption and emissions. In addition, such components perform reliably in situations where metal materials are liable to fail. Schunk Carbon Technology's capabilities extend beyond weight-saving carbon and ceramic materials. The company has also dedicated itself to enhancing the functions of individual components – something known as Process Added Value Engineering (PAVE). "Thanks to this unique development process, we have become an innovative development specialist for CFC, CFRP and ceramic components intended for thermal, electrical, mechanical and structural applications," explains Dr. Hartmut Groß, Head of the Advanced Solutions Division.

The Schunk portfolio includes innovative CFRP solutions for permanent magnet motors and high-speed current collectors, thin-walled reinforcement sleeves for the mounting of drive magnets in high-performance electric motors, and lightweight CFRP pantograph heads designed to replace conventional aluminium systems. In addition, Schunk develops ceramic matrix composites which offer reduced weight, improved thermal stability in high-temperature applications, as well as outstanding oxygen corrosion resistance. These ceramic materials are ideally suited to aerospace applications.

Lightweight design also a hot topic in Halls 4 and 5

Lightweight design solutions also figure prominently in exhibition halls 4 and 5. In Hall 4 the German Solid Forming Association will be presenting weight-saving concepts for cars and commercial vehicles as part of its Solid Lightweight Construction Initiative. In Hall 5 the foundry industry, spearheaded by the industry association BDG, will demonstrate its lightweight construction capabilities. Lightweight alloys and structures will also be on the agenda at the central Industrial Supply Forum, alongside fibre-reinforced composites and polymers. A special Lightweight Construction Guide (available free of charge in a printed or downloadable version) keeps visitors informed about all the latest developments.

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