Lightweight Technologies Forum
in Düsseldorf to premiere COMPOSITES EUROPE 2016
Soloists are passé. That message is resonating from all the industries actively involved with lightweight construction: While the weight reduction trend has driven the massive development of fibre-reinforced composites and the use of lightweight metals such as aluminium and magnesium in automotive engineering, aerospace and construction in recent years, the future will be dominated by lightweight materials systems that go beyond individual groups of materials. The right material in the right place - that credo is propelling hybrid lightweight construction to ever-greater significance. The new Lightweight Technologies Forum, which will be held in Düsseldorf as part of the ALUMINIUM and COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fairs in Düsseldorf from 29 November to 1 December 2016 (Fair ground, Composites Europe 2016), will provide an overview of materials composites from metal- and fibre-composites technologies.
From Ford to Premium Aerotec, from mechanical engineering company Engel to laser expert Trumpf, from the German Economics Ministry to the leading scientific institutions, experts will be on hand to showcase their know-how and lightweight design strategies in the areas automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing and production technology.
Automotive Engineering Drives Innovation
The automotive industry continues to be among the most important growth and innovation drivers - both for the composites and for the aluminium industry. In addition, the automotive sector is pioneering hybrid lightweight construction.
Presenters at the Lightweight Technologies Forum will include representatives from the Open Hybrid LabFactory. The Open Hybrid LabFactory was founded in 2012 as a public-private partnership under the leadership of the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF), TU Braunschweig and several industry partners. Put into operation just a few weeks ago, the LeichtbauCampus Open Hybrid LabFactory in Wolfsburg serves as the development site for scalable manufacturing and production technologies for the economically and ecologically sustainable production of hybrid lightweight components made from metals, plastics and textile structures.
Ford Research & Advanced Engineering Europe will present their aluminium technologies at the lightweight construction forum. Ford's radical lightweight design strategy was launched in 2014 with the F-150 pickup truck, whose pure aluminium body will on display in the forum's exhibition area. The company is a member of AMAP GmbH (Advanced Metals and Processes), the open-innovation research cluster for non-ferrous metals at RWTH Aachen University, which will also host several additional presentations on automotive engineering at the forum. Another highlight on 30 November (3:00 pm) is a panel discussion hosted by media partner bbr BÄNDER BLECHE ROHRE (published by Henrich Publikationen) on the trends in joining technology for hybrid solutions featuring aluminium in vehicle construction (chassis/body) - with a focus on aluminium/steel and aluminium/carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP). Plans include a high-calibre roundtable discussion with officials from research, science and industry.
Metawell will be in Düsseldorf to present real-world examples from automotive and railway engineering, shipbuilding, and manufacturing to illustrate the systematic implementation of lightweight construction in aluminium sandwich technology. Taking the basic properties of the material as the starting point, possibilities and limits in design and processing will be illuminated.
The Wickeder Westfalenstahl presentation will focus on clad materials, i.e. combinations of two or more metals. Cladding is a process in which a minimum of two different types of metal coils are joined to form an inseparable laminated material. The materials are simultaneously fed from the respective coil into a rolling mill, where, depending on material and material properties, they are combined by use of high rolling pressure. The end result is a metal composite with completely new and unique features.
The process technology "xFK in 3D" will be the focus of attention in Vogel Business Media Verlag's presentation block. The publisher's magazine Automobil Industrie is the media partner for the automotive segment. In the process, which is of particular interest to automotive production, fibre-reinforced plastics are wrapped three-dimensionally. The fibres can be arranged in any geometric dimension along the x, y, and z axes - based on the component's load. The fibre can thus be placed to match the force and tension absorption of the component (Hall plan, Composites Europe 2016).
Aviation Flying High With Hybrid Structural Components
Fibre-metal laminates (FML) from aluminium foil and fibreglass prepregs have emerged as a real alternative in aircraft engineering. Aeronautics supplier Premium AEROTEC will demonstrate just that at the Lightweight Technologies Forum. After positive experiences in the Airbus A380, this material is considered a real alternative to pure aluminium and composite structures. The most important step for industrial applications enabling large-scale aircraft production is the automation of production processes for FML components such as the automated coating of metal films and fibreglass prepregs. Premium AEROTEC will present the results of the first three years of R & D.
Hybrid Organic Sheets
Enable Short Cycle Times
The contribution by TenCate from the Netherlands will be centred on thermoplastic composite blanks. Fibre-reinforced thermoplastic blanks from organic sheets (fibre-matrix semi-finished goods) make possible the rapid, efficient and robust production of composites. Newer developments are aimed at making blanks that are inexpensive to manufacture and suitable for new product designs. Hybrid organic sheets allow for the cutting of composite blanks while simultaneously making cycle times cheaper and shorter. Moreover, the combination of organic layering and moulding technology facilitates the production of additional features like reinforcing ribs and bosses in a single moulding step.
Among others, the mechanical engineering firm Engel Austria will use their presentation at the forum to demonstrate that the hybridisation of components will require new developments in manufacturing technology and to introduce new process engineering technologies for thermoplastic fibre-reinforced composites (Hall plan, Composites Europe 2016).
Furnace-construction specialist Linn High Therm is working on innovative furnaces with excellent energy savings potential. At the forum, they'll feature systems for heat treating PAN (polyacrylonitrile) and lignin fibres as well as for the manufacturing of composite metal foam.
Joining Technology - A Key Technology
The key to unlocking the potential of the materials mixes of the future is fastening and joining technology. That's why processes are being developed to optimally join two different materials together by gluing, riveting or screwing. The laser is one of the tools used for making such hybrid connections, as TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH from Ditzingen will demonstrate. A forum presentation by Gummiwerk Kraiburg will showcase the hybrid connection of FRPs and metals with elastomers using the company's own KRAIBON® adhesive layer.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi), another Lightweight Technologies Forum partner, will be on hand in Düsseldorf to introduce the digital Lightweight Construction Competency Atlas. Still in planning, the publication is intended to provide an overview of the actors and competencies in the German lightweight construction sector. The presentation will be given by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Büter, managing director of the Fraunhofer Lightweight Design Alliance and coordinator of the project.
Besides the BMWi, organiser Reed Exhibitions managed to bring on board the leading lightweight construction associations, institutes and clusters to serve as content partners for the Lightweight Technologies Forum.
They include the VDMA Working Group Hybrid Lightweight Technologies, CFK-Valley Stade, the Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V. from Wolfsburg, the AVK, the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL), the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at the RWTH Aachen, the network kunststoffland NRW and the cluster NanoMikroWerkstoffePhotonik NRW (Fair ground, Composites Europe 2016).
Lightweight Construction Exhibits on Display in Exhibition Area
At the exhibition area accompanying the Lightweight Technologies Forum, select companies will showcase their multi-material lightweight construction solutions, including Gummiwerk Kraiburg, Gunnar International Weissenberger, Linn High Therm, Saertex, Trilogiq Deutschland, Wickeder Westfalenstahl and Havel metal foam. Exhibits will range from the body of a Ford F-150 pickup to aluminium foam sandwiches and 3D moulded parts to a CFRP fuselage shell.
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh
Source: Reed Exhibitions Deutschland