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5/6/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Lightweighting partnership to evaluate metal to composites joining technologies

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Detroit project team will recommend most optimal joining technologies for specific material combinations.


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Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT; Detroit, Mich., U.S.), a national manufacturing innovation institute operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), has announced a new project with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) to test and evaluate mixed-material joining technologies. The project aims to develop technologies that address the challenge of joining dissimilar materials — such as metals and polymer composites — in automotive applications. 

This project, part of LIFT’s Fast Forge program, is led by LIFT and CAR, and partners include CAR’s Coalition for Lightweighting Materials (CALM) working group and LIFT members. The project team will test various joining technologies and recommend the most optimal joining technologies for specific material combinations.

The results of this study will be published in the public domain and shared at various industry events, with the goals of increasing awareness and eliminating qualification barriers. One result of the study is intended to be a detailed catalog containing information on innovative mixed-material joining technologies, including selection criteria, computer-aided engineering results, physical testing data for various combinations and application-specific recommendations for the industry.

“Mixed materials are the future for not just the auto industry, but other industries as well, as they look to save on weight, time and ultimately cost,” says Hadrian Rori, chief technology officer at LIFT. “As we look toward a Smart Manufacturing future, testing, studying and validating those materials is critical to supporting the industry.”

“LIFT is the right organization to partner with on this project,” says Abhay Vadhavkar, director of materials and manufacturing technology at CAR. “With both LIFT and CAR here in Southeast Michigan, the epicenter of the auto industry, it is a perfect fit to team up to advance the materials technology into the future.”

The project, valued at $500,000, will take place in phases to be completed by Oct. 31, 2019:

  • Data collection, survey and application specific technology selections;
  • Computer-aided simulation studies;
  • Coupon-level testing;
  • Ranking of technologies for each material combination for specific applications, including: front structure, underbody, roof, body sides, rear-end and closures.