AZL, Toyota sign five-year lightweighting agreement

The Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will work with Toyota to develop production systems for large series production of composite automotive component.

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The Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL, Aachen, Germany) reported on June 26 the expansion of its strategic partnership with Toyota. Representatives of the AZL Aachen GmbH and Toyota Motor Europe NV/SA have signed a contract for a five-year premium partnership, the focus of which is development of production systems and quality assurance methods necessary for realizing large series production of composite automotive components.

In early 2013, Toyota was among the 33 founding members using the competences of the AZL for cooperative development of lightweight production technology between academic research and industry. In order to intensify the cooperation with the international research network of the AZL, representatives of Toyota have now decided to become a premium partner of the AZL.

Dr. Kai Fischer, managing director of AZL Aachen GmbH, explains: "We, as a service provider for lightweight production technology, offer our partners holistic solutions along the entire value chain of composites. This encloses research and development in the areas of materials, processes, machinery and production systems. Together, we develop future technologies for lightweight production. In the framework of the premium partnership, Toyota will benefit significantly from the interdisciplinary cooperation between different sectors through which we ensure that future challenges in terms of waste minimization, process capability, quality assurance and production planning can be achieved."

The key aspect of this cooperation shall be the improvement of the material and energy efficiency for large-scale production of lightweight components, with consideration of the complete composite supply chain. The continuous optimization of automated production processes in automotive manufacturing is of highest importance, particularly at very high volumes, as in the case of the global market leader Toyota, which sold almost 10 million vehicles in 2013.

The aim of AZL is to develop, in cooperation with its industrial partners, automated production of load‐ and cost‐optimized lightweight components, suitable for mass production and versatile process chains in composite and multi‐material design.