Lightweight design and manufacturing of components and assemblies is an essential key factor when it comes to increasing economic and ecologic efficiency as well as customer benefits of a product. Using the automotive industry as an example, comprehensive use of lightweight design and manufacturing allows manufacturers to significantly reduce the vehicle’s weight and realize cars with reduced energy consumptions as well as reduced overall operating costs. Furthermore, the optimization of products in terms of load capacity, efficiency, design and conservation of resources are main objectives within the use of lightweight design and manufacturing.
While lightweight design offers many advantages for the customer, manufacturers are facing the challenge to find the most suitable solution from a wide range of potential lightweight technologies, both under technological and economic aspects. The realization of lightweight design and manufacturing does not only require a simple substitution of the materials used but a comprehensive approach, considering the best technological solution combined with the most efficient production technologies. Given these circumstances, the Fraunhofer IPT offers a systematic audit to evaluate the company's potential for efficient lightweight construction production.
- Target formulation and requirements analysis: First, we determine the relevant spectrum of components in the product range in order to identify the components with direct relevance to weight.
- Technology-Scouting: By abstracting the most relevant pain points, we scout and screen different product design solutions as well as alternative manufacturing and material-based technology potentials.
- Prioritization of technology alternatives: After screening all available technologies, we focus on the technologies which offer the best cross-benefit lightweight potential.
- Detailing of lightweight potentials: For each of the identified potentials, we investigate its technological feasibility and prepare technology data sheets.
- Feasibility analysis of lightweight potentials: The feasibility analysis covers the evaluation of technological opportunities and threats as well as an assessment of the economic potential.
- Evaluation and recommendations for action: Finally, we determine all necessary development requirements and efforts to develop a comprehensive technology roadmap.