ContiTech receives Altair award

ContiTech was recognized for its use of a fiberglass-reinforced polyamide rear crossbeam.

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Altair Engineering Inc., Troy, Mich., and with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) has announced the winners of the 4th annual Altair Enlighten Award, which was created specifically to acknowledge innovation in vehicle weight reduction. After a lengthy judging process, the winner of the OEM focused full-vehicle category was GM for the 2016 Cadillac CT6, which is a vehicle 157 lb (71 kg) lighter than the BFI construction. For the module category, which focuses on the achievements from within the automotive supplier base, the winner was ContiTech, Fairlawn, Ohio, for its unique polyamide rear crossbeam for the 2016 Mercedes S-Class. The awards were presented during the 2016 CAR Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Mich.

“The winners of this year’s award deserve the auto industry’s recognition and respect for their innovative use of lightweighting methodologies. Cadillac’s CT6 is a work of art that was carefully and skillfully designed and engineered by General Motors,” says Richard Yen, senior vice president, global automotive at Altair. "ContiTech’s use of a cross member in an area with such critical loads is a breakthrough in design and sets a high standard for others to follow.”

ContiTech’s Polyamide Cross Member developed for the 2016 Mercedes S-Class achieved a 30% weight savings compared to the previous aluminum component. The award judging panel had not seen an application of polyamide materials in this manner before making it a standout entry and a worthy winner of the Module category.

"We are very honored to receive this special recognition from Altair for our polyamide components," says Kai Fruehauf, managing director for ContiTech Vibration Control. "The ContiTech team has done an outstanding job collaborating with its customers early in the development process to create high performance materials for the automotive industry. Receiving the 2016 Enlighten Award is a testament to the dedication, determination and expertise displayed by the Vibration Control colleagues at ContiTech.”

Cadillac’s entry was one of 21 finalists that competed for the awards, winning its category for its strategic approach to weight reduction. Simulation methodologies including topology and multi-disciplinary optimization studies were used extensively throughout the vehicle’s development to ensure an efficient use of material. In addition, an innovative use of mixed materials were employed across the CT6 to further minimize weight without compromise to performance.

“This award is recognition of one of the most-advanced body systems we’ve ever produced,” said Lyndon Lie, CT6 chief engineer. “Even better than the award, this new formula of producing a prestige luxury sedan directly benefits CT6 buyers with a vehicle that is lighter, more efficient, and more fun to drive than any other vehicle of its size.”

The runners up for this year’s award were BMW for its multi-material 2016 7 Series in the Full-Vehicle category, and Alcoa who took 2nd place for the Module category for its Micromill aluminum processing technology used on the Ford F150.

The Altair Enlighten Award is intended to honor the greatest achievements in weight savings each year; to inspire interest from industry, engineering, policymakers, educators, students and the public; to create further competition for new ideas in the industry; and to provide an incentive to share technological advances.