There’s a lot of hype about new power trains and lightweight plastics, but traditional materials are sure to play a big, if not leading role, in making cars more fuel efficient. The new models on display at the International Motor Show Sept. 19-27 in Frankfurt are a case in point. Ten of the models from Audi, BMW, Opel, Peugeot and Renault use Hydro aluminum components and systems. Examples include:
Opel Astra, front and rear bumper beams;
Rolls-Royce Ghost, front end;
Audi R8 Spyder, rollover protection system; and
Peugeot 5008 MPV, rear bumper.
In addition, Hydro is supplying flat-rolled aluminum strip for body parts to the new BMW 5 series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class station wagon and all versions of the new C-class model, as well as the current Porsche Panamera.
Hydro supplies the aluminum content pictured above for several BMW models, including the new “small” Rolls-Royce.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.