In cooperation with nine European partners, engineering service provider EDAG, headquartered in Wiesbaden, has developed a new process for joining weight-optimized combinations of steel and thermoplastic composites. The process takes place in a fully automated production cell and requires neither special adhesives nor mechanical joining elements. The new components, developed as part of the EU research project FlexHyJoin , are to yield a 40% weight-saving compared to the reference construction method in steel.
EDAG leverages laser technology and electromagnetic induction to connect metal parts and organic sheets at contact points through the process of melting a polymer matrix material. After cooling, a hybrid structure is formed that makes conventional bonding of the components superfluous. Quality control also takes place in the production cell, through non-destructive lock-in thermography.
As the innovation driver of German industry , the automotive sector in particular is boosting demand for lightweight components; electromobility and autonomous driving are currently among the most crucial topics in this discussion.