Henkel-Rui Li to form a mobile transportation alliance to prove the lightweight potential of automotive hybrid parts
“The Mobility Alliance” is a strategic alliance between Henkel and global automotive engineering services provider RLE International to drive automotive innovation, which has proven high performance structural foam in automotive bodies. And the potential for lightweight applications in open and close parts. According to its research, fiber-reinforced polymer parts with structural foams and reinforcements can reduce the weight of each car by more than 40 kilograms compared to conventional all-metal designs.
As the automotive industry continues to focus on lightweighting, the “reengineering” of the largest part of the vehicle – body parts – becomes even more important. Lightweight can reduce fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions, but engineering limitations on thickness and steel grade are an industry challenge. The reduction in thickness may result in failure to meet the required mechanical strength and cause problems in collision protection. The Mobile Transportation Alliance is responding to this challenge with new perspectives and new processes.
David Caro, Head of Global Engineering for Henkel Automotive and Transportation OEM Design, explains the “Mobile Alliance” process. “We use a completely new approach to replace traditional all-metal design with hybrid fiber and structural foam reinforced polymer solutions. To study the possibility of overcoming these limitations. The results confirm that by selectively using foams and reinforcements to optimize fiber-reinforced plastic frame or carrier stiffness, we can achieve greater visibility without compromising typical collision safety. Weight loss and more competitive costs.”
The project includes all major body and opening and closing parts of the sport utility vehicle, including bumpers, fenders, pillars, doors, side panels and tailgates. The mixing component is molded into a strong frame or carrier using a higher percentage of fiber reinforced polymer and a selective reinforcing material made of Henkel’s epoxy Teroson EP structural foam. The foam is injected into the carrier in a predetermined portion, expanded in an electrophoresis furnace, and forms a rigid connection between the mixing member of the body-in-white and the adjacent member.
The collision simulations performed in this study strictly followed the stringent international automotive standards, and the hybrid design using Henkel’s Teroson EP structural foam completely passed all of these tests, while significantly reducing weight compared to conventional all-metal components. In some cases, the performance of partially mixed-structure plastic and foam solutions, including side doors, exceeded expectations beyond the all-aluminum design.