German conglomerate Henkel AG and engineering company RLE International are targeting significant weight savings in automotive body parts, using hybrid structural foams.
The two companies, which have been collaborating under “the Mobility Alliance”, said they had established the lightweighting potential of high-performance structural foam in comprehensive engineering design and crash simulation studies.
The partners will present the results of their studies during the Automotive Engineering Expo 2019 in Nuremberg, Germany, 4-5 June.
In a statement 28 May, the two firms said they used Henkel’s commercially available epoxy-based Teroson EP to engineer a hybrid structural design which could enable “significant weight savings while maintaining structural integrity and safety.”
The optimised designs, according to the alliance, has passed all crash simulation tests, while offering overall weight savings of up to 50 kg per car compared to conventional all-metal components.
According to Henkel, Teroson EP foam delivers high strength and stiffness at extremely low weight and is currently used by several OEMs to replace traditional steel reinforcements in various lightweight structural parts.
“Our encompassing joint approach from concept to launch and series production ensures the security, efficiency and sustainability of all development, engineering and material processes,” explained David Caro, head of global engineering, OEM design, automotive & transportation at Henkel.
The service package offered by the alliance comprises full engineering and optimisation of each component for all crash load scenarios.
While the development process is carried out at six dedicated development centres around the world, final parts can then be manufactured at sites located close to customers, said Tobias Wigand, technical unit leader for advanced material concepts at RLE International.
Henkel and RLE announced their Mobility Alliance in November last year.
At the time, the partners said they aimed to work on new architecture designs and solutions to reduce weight and increase safety, using advanced simulation technologies.
Another area to address will be the integration and protection of batteries and electronic components in the cars of the future.