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How will lightweight designs change automotive production?

News International-French

18 Sep 2014

Peter Middendorf is a professor at the prestigious Stuttgart University, and will present the challenges of composites in automotive applications as well as future material and process technologies during the upcoming JEC conferences in October.  

Q: In your opinion, what the real challenge in terms of design for automotive? Can you tell more about ARENA 2036?
A: The real challenge in my opinion is the optimal use of the orthotropic carbon fibre material, i.e. a loadpath oriented design. Only if we achieve this in the design and sizing process, will we take full advantage of the superior mechanical properties. This has to be combined with the according process requirements and in the longer term also with functional integration. The latter is exactly one of the key topics when it comes to ARENA2036, a new “industry on campus” collaboration model being established in Stuttgart with industry partners like Daimler, Bosch and Siemens as well as research partners from University of Stuttgart, DLR, Fraunhofer and DITF. Here we are looking with a 15 years+ research perspective on innovative technologies, lightweight design and production for future automobiles. One of these is lightweight design through functional integration.

Q: What is the expertise of Stuttgart University in this field?
A: At my Institute of Aircraft Design we have been working for decades on composite technologies and lightweight design, mainly for aircraft applications. But due to the proximity to several automotive premium OEM’s we have also started working on adoption of processes and technologies already several years ago. And with our focus on textile technologies and the establishment of a composite simulation chain we are trying to learn from both industries: productivity and cost driven by automotive and performance and quality driven by aerospace.

Q: What motivates you to give a speech in Boston in October?
A: Boston is a great hub at the east coast with a lot of industry attention and at the same time world-wide recognized research institutions. I hope to meet and talk to representatives of both types to get to know more about their specific needs and environment, to exchange about technologies, maybe to establish new collaborations and also to advertise our ARENA2036 model. I am looking very forward to the JEC Boston event.

It will take place on October 29th in Boston during the JEC Composite conferences. 

More information: Automotive session - Registration