TROY, MI—Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) recently announced the winners of the 6th annual Altair Enlighten Award, which honors achievements in vehicle lightweighting. Six winners were selected from a field of 57 finalists.
The winner in the Full Vehicle category was General Motors’ 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, which weighs 450 pounds less than its predecessor. BMW Group claimed the Module category with the first 3D-printed metal component used in a production series vehicle. It achieved a 44 percent component weight savings on the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.
Asahi Kasei Corp.’s super lightweight pedal bracket for the Mazda MX-5, Sika Automotive’s ultra lightweight constrained layer material system, and U.S. Steel’s martensitic advanced high-strength steel took the top honors in the Enabling Technology category.
The award for the Future of Lightweighting category went to American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. for its quantum driveline architecture program.
“The GM team applied a multidisciplinary optimization CAE approach, a higher percentage of advanced high-strength steel, and new assembly methods in the development of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado cab and frame,” says Carla Bailo, president and CEO of CAR. “In addition to the 450 pounds overall weight savings, GM engineers achieved 23 percent more storage space, greater dynamic stiffness, improved corrosion prevention, better NVH performance and increased impact protection.”
BMW engineers used selective laser melting technology to produce a convertible roof bracket.
“This innovative component marks the first time a metal 3D-printed part has been used in a series production vehicle,” claims Bailo. “Produced without needing any support structures, it was also the first time a topology-optimized design has been translated nearly one-to-one into a series production vehicle to capture a 44 percent weight savings and tenfold stiffness increase.”
“It’s clear that additive manufacturing has huge lightweight potential for vehicle designers when combined with the power of optimization technologies,” adds Maximilian Meixlsperger, head of metal additive manufacturing at BMW. “Getting a 3D-printed part onto a mass-produced vehicle would have been unheard of until very recently. But, with this success, we have an opportunity to make the process part of our standard design and manufacturing approach.”