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Lightweight Thin-Walled Cast Steel Design Worth its Weight in Gold!

MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award 2013 - EDAG takes Gold

Special tribute to EDAG lightweight production team at this year's MATERIALICA in Munich: the EDAG team headed by Dr. Martin Hillebrecht received the gold award in the category "CO2".

"We are very proud of the fact that, ever since it was established, the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award has been regarded as one of the most important prizes on the international development scene. More than anything else, what sets the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award apart from other awards is the way in which it places equal emphasis on two criteria, namely design and technological competence," explained Robert Metzger, CEO at MunichExpo and organiser of the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Awards, who presented the awards along with jury chairwoman Nina Saller (designaffairs GmbH).

As its competition entry, EDAG, in cooperation with the CX Group in Stuttgart, submitted a "vehicle body joint made of thin-walled cast steel", the result of several years' innovative, multi-site cooperation.

One of the advantages of this future technology is the weight reduction (up to 30 %) of components in the vehicle's steel body as a result of minimum wall thicknesses, optimum crash performance and maximum function integration. Its eco-balance is extremely positive, as, compared to lightweight metals or composites, steel is very energy-efficient and low-priced. There are also recycling infrastructures for steel throughout the world.

In addition, the thin-walled cast steel body joint also offers the prospect of tangible economic advantages: for one thing similar joining technologies are used, spot welding can still be carried out or repeated, and what is more, the car manufacturers' chief production officers must surely welcome the great variability and flexibility of this forward-looking construction method.

Cast joints versus sheet metal

Consequently, thin-plated cast steel structures could well be the current vision of body developers if process reliability and technical realisation were already guaranteed. Following promising preliminary work in co-operation between EDAG, the CX Group and other technology partners, it is now our declared aim to help make the breakthrough, using new casting methods, bonding technologies, system concepts and design methods.

"All in all, the lightweight design factor, which involves very little extra cost (up to perhaps two euros per kilogram of vehicle weight), is very economical. We are very proud to have won this award, and see in it confirmation of the innovative focus of our engineers and recognition of our years of experience in lightweight design," commented Dr. Martin Hillebrecht, Head of the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction in Fulda during the award ceremony at the Munich Expo on 15th October, 2013.

Proud winners: Dr. Martin Hillebrecht (right), Head of the EDAG Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction in Fulda, Jens Nebel (centre), Head of Body Engineering Department, EDAG Sindelfingen, and Ivo Herzog (left), CEO of the CX Group in Denkendorf.

EDAG provides customer support in lightweight automotive design with the aim of meeting targets for 2020, and enabling manufacturers to meet the ambitious CO2 limits that have been set, and therefore avoid penalties. "In this respect, we are pressed for both time and results," said Hillebrecht.

EDAG has a wide customer base in the field of lightweight construction, from the premium segment and sports cars, through to special solutions for electric mobility and classic automobile mass products.

"EDAG's success factor: As lightweight construction innovators, we need to be able to think at least 10 years ahead. Not only do we need to have the ability to spot promising new technologies, but also to logically define and implement subsequent steps and overcome obstacles on the rocky path to series production. Enthusiasm alone is not enough, lightweight construction calls for clear-cut methods, high technical competence and sometimes also a degree of patience," explained Dr. Martin Hillebrecht from EDAG. 


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