Today, the automotive sector is increasingly pressed by competitive factors and there is a great demand for high-performance materials. The search for differentiative technical solutions, with associated added value and weight reduction, is, therefore, a continuous goal in this sector.
Based on market needs, DT2-RMC has identified an important opportunity that involves the production of hybrid components for automotive use. Currently, these components are produced in steel or aluminum. Consequently, there are not many solutions in the market for the use of alternate materials such as thermoplastics, thermosets or composites. Our aim of this project is to combine dissimilar materials like thermoplastics, fiber, and metals and to optimize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of each material.
There are numerous benefits of strong metals and continuous fiber composites that support the automotive hybrid component development directives. They have high capacity for adaptability and conformability and there is a possibility to eliminate the use of raw pollutant materials.
The HybridTec project aimed to develop new technological production techniques, supported by an innovative product to be applied on the horizontal support structure of a front seat of a car. Through the use of hybrid materials and innovative processing techniques, one can integrate components and functionalities on a single structure. The development process focused on automated one-shot process with the integration of a linear robot, using an IR wall and planar carbon reinforcement with in-mould thermoforming. The project resulted in a 41% weight reduction of the front seat horizontal structure component.
Along with our scientific partner PIEP, the development was focused on the reduction of the average weight of the currently produced structures and creating a better weight/performance ratio. The integration of several components and functionalities into a single, final product will result in a global reduction in production costs as compared to today’s methods.