SKZ conducts research on series production of hybrid structures

Cooperation project deals with process technologies suitable for large-scale production of FRP-metal components.

SKZ conducts research on series production of hybrid structures

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Scientists from the German Plastics Center (SKZ) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) are joining forces with five industrial companies in the “HybridSwitch” research project to develop various process technologies suitable for large-scale production based on innovative materials and joining technologies.

The efficient use of lightweight construction makes it possible to save weight, material and energy. Due to the lightweight construction potential, fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are used in particular in the aerospace and automotive industries and, with an increasing share, also in rail vehicle and boat construction. This potential can be increased by using hybrid structures. SKZ, together with Fraunhofer IWU and the companies Hyconnect GmbH, CeH4 Technologies GmbH, Fisco GmbH, Suer Nutzfahrzeugtechnik GmbH & Co. KG and GreenDelta GmbH are developing process technologies suitable for large-scale production based on innovative materials and joining technologies. Unlike conventional joining processes such as adhesive bonding or riveting, these hybrid joints offer a promising alternative for new types of high-performance lightweight structures in fiber composite-metal mixed design thanks to their material- and production-oriented structure.

In the project, automated and scalable manufacturing processes for FRP-metal components are developed on the basis of established FRP series processes. Fundamentally new design principles for the load-compliant transition from FRP to metal as well as new joining technologies for multi-material lightweight construction will be realized and the necessary design techniques will be developed. The functional verification of the technologies is carried out on the basis of industry- and process-dependent technology carriers, which are tested in close proximity to the application.

As part of the project, SKZ will use modified textiles to develop a process suitable for series production that can be used to realize pipe joints made of FRP and steel. The technology will be demonstrated using a prototypical insulating joint for pipeline construction. For this purpose, the knowledge gained from the previous project “HyFiVE” regarding two-dimensional hybrid structures can be transferred to profile geometries. The primary aim of the innovative joining technologies is to achieve a reduction in the mass of technical systems. As a result, the project aims to demonstrate significant CO2 savings potential. The project will make material-hybrid lightweight construction cost-effective even for small and medium-sized enterprises and transferable to existing technical systems. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

The SKZ is a member of the Zuse community. This is an association of independent, industry-related research institutions that pursue the aim of improving the performance and competitiveness of industry, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, through innovation and networking.

More information www.skz.de