Henkel and RLE International have joined forces to help OEMs and tier 1 suppliers in the automotive industry leverage weight savings of up to 50 percent with hybrid structural body parts.
Collaborating under the moniker of The Mobility Alliance, the partners will highlight the lightweighting potential of high-performance structural foam established in comprehensive engineering design and crash simulation studies. Results will be on display at Booth 108 in Hall 12 during the Automotive Engineering Expo 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany, June 4 and 5.
Combining Hybrid Structural Design Using Advanced Material Science
Lightweighting remains a continuing challenge for automotive manufacturers. Even one tenth of a millimeter in body part thickness can save a lot of weight and add to the overall fuel efficiency or battery reach of a vehicle. However, on most modern cars these parts have already become so thin that further reductions may compromise buckling strength and rigidity, resulting in insufficient crash protection.
In several studies targeted at optimizing the performance of existing and future vehicle concepts, The Mobility Alliance has proven that the combination of innovative hybrid structural design using advanced material science and engineering expertise can still enable significant weight savings while maintaining structural integrity and safety.
“Our encompassing joint approach from concept to launch and series production ensures the security, efficiency and sustainability of all development, engineering and material processes,” explains David Caro, Head of Global Engineering, OEM Design, Automotive & Transportation at Henkel. “Customers are granted access to best-in-class material science and extensive engineering know-how, resulting in new levels of lightweighting at minimized turnaround times.”
High Strength Epoxy-based Structural Foam
The structural foam behind the hybrid designs is a commercially available epoxy based Teroson EP material from Henkel that delivers high strength and stiffness at extremely low weight. Several OEMs are already using it to replace traditional steel reinforcements in various lightweight structural parts.
“The service package offered by The Mobility Alliance comprises full engineering and optimization of each component for all crash load scenarios at one of six dedicated development centers around the world,” adds Tobias Wigand, Technical Unit Leader for Advanced Material Concepts at RLE International. “Final parts can then be manufactured for on-time delivery at sites located close to customers.”
The crash simulations performed in the studies adhered to strict international automotive standards, including:
- Offset and small overlap frontal crash
- Side/pole crash
- Rear impact and roof crush testing
…according to European and U.S. NCAP, IIHS and FMVSS specifications, respectively
The optimized hybrid designs using Henkel’s Teroson EP structural foam passed all these tests within the limits of deformation and intrusion, while offering overall weight savings of up to 50 kg per car vs. conventional all-metal components.
Henkel and RLE International’s experts will be available at AEE 2019 in Nuremberg to explain and discuss the innovative approach of The Mobility Alliance in greater detail at Booth 108 in Hall 12.