Car body, lightweight construction and safety

HPCi® joining gun for joining metal and thermoplastics within seconds. Possible application: joining of a hybrid B-pillar in car body construction.
© Fraunhofer IWS
HPCi® joining gun for joining metal and thermoplastics within seconds. Possible application: joining of a hybrid B-pillar in car body construction.

Weight reduction is one of the biggest challenges in automotive engineering: Lighter vehicles consume less fuel and help reduce CO2 emissions. With many years of expertise in researching materials, processes and technologies as well as systems engineering, we support automotive manufacturers and their suppliers in developing lightweight design concepts and processing advanced materials.

Body construction in particular benefits from material-optimized multi-material design: laser-based processes for joining and cutting as well as additive manufacturing technologies allow the realization of similar and hybrid lightweight designs using modern materials such as aluminum and fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) composites. We also concentrate our research on safety-relevant topics such as airbag manufacturing and pollutant-free car interiors.

Our solutions

Technologies for metal lightweight construction
 

Technologies for fiber composites and mixed construction methods

Construction solutions

  • Construction solutions for lightweight and stressed crash components: simulation, design and local laser hardening

Latest research and development results

Processing of fiber-reinforced plastic composites

Pulsed lasers enable selective matrix removal on fiber-reinforced plastics to reliably create composites using injection molding with plastics.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Pulsed lasers enable selective matrix removal on fiber-reinforced plastics to reliably create composites using injection molding with plastics.

Modern lightweight construction concepts in sectors such as the automotive industry or aerospace require high-performance materials. In this respect, fiber-reinforced plastic composites are particularly promising. In order to be able to cut, coat or join them with metals despite their high temperature sensitivity and severe tool wear during processing, we are developing new processing methods applying high-precision laser technology. Pulsed lasers can work on a wide variety of fiber and matrix materials. The short pulse duration allows the material to be processed "non-contact" and selectively without noticeable heating. Thermal stress on the entire component can thus be avoided.

In addition, efficient laser processes are employed to prepare fiber-reinforced plastics for further production steps. This includes, for example, surface treatment for subsequent joining, e.g. by means of adhesive bonding – or the deposition of customized protective and functional layers of metal, polymer or ceramics by thermal spraying.

 

News / 18.8.2021

Simulation and manufacturing working closely together

 

News / 3.6.2021

Light vehicle superstructures thanks to optimized joints