On the evening of 5 October, the winners of the 20th MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award were announced. The jury of experts had selected the most innovative and sustainable products and projects as finalists for this prestigious award. It is the only one worldwide positioned at the interface of design, technology and materials. The award ceremony took place during eMove360° Europe 2022 (05-07 October) at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. The Gold Award in the Material category was presented to Gesenkschmiede Schneider GmbH for its lightweight steel and aluminium elements for vehicle construction.
Due to the progressive electrification of commercial vehicles, the task was to achieve a significant weight reduction in the area of frame attachments. Mudguard brackets, tanks, wiring harnesses, etc. are attached to the frame attachments. The highest load is in the connection from the forged flange to the vehicle frame. Until now, the components consisted of a forged flange and a steel tube. By combining a forged steel flange and an aluminium tube, the advantages of both materials can be used optimally. The forged steel flange is the connection to the frame and absorbs the resulting forces. Forging achieves higher mechanical characteristic values. In addition, higher strength is achieved with forging due to the fibre flow.
The aluminium tube is joined to the forged flange by friction welding. Holes are made in the tube and the wing brackets, tanks, wiring harnesses, etc. are attached to them. Friction welding is a pressure welding process that creates full-surface contact joints. Two parts are moved relative to each other under pressure, whereby the parts touch each other at the contact surfaces. The resulting friction causes the material to heat up and plasticise.
The first components have already been manufactured and are in the test phase. Test vehicles will soon be equipped with the steel/aluminium parts and tested. Based on the analysis of the components in commercial vehicles, there is considerable potential for weight savings through the implementation of forged and friction-welded steel/aluminium components. www.gsa-aalen.de