Mar 8, 2016 Düsseldorf / Germany
A lighter future
For the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industry lightweight solutions are still trending. Materials such as aluminum and carbon fibers improve not only the energy balance but also the comfort in application through concise formability. To save any further weight and to bind ultra-lightweight components, an increasing number of manufacturers are relying on high-performance adhesives. As market leader, Henkel Adhesive Technologies is currently exhibiting its innovative portfolio at the composite trade fair JEC in Paris.
In numerous industries lightweight materials have developed into a crucial success factor for resource efficiency: In the automotive and aerospace industry, for example, weight reduction leads to a lower fuel consumption. Solutions by Henkel help engineers around the globe to design and construct lightweight components, for which the adhesives need to overcome several challenges. In the aerospace industry Henkel solutions ensure 30 percent less weight than materials that are made of steel or aluminum. Therefore, a high adhesive power, faster curing and the possibility to bind them with various other materials is important. Matrix resins serve the production of particularly lightweight fiber-reinforced composite structural components.
The majority of lightweight materials is used in the automotive industry. Manufacturers must react to more severe emission regulations in Asia, Europe and the United States. For electrically powered cars it is necessary for the efficient but heavy batteries to be placed only into extremely lightweight cars, which can then ensure a more attractive reach. Modern industrial adhesives and composite materials reduce the weight of cars by up to 15 percent. They replace, for example, the steel used for the body of the car or for the axle, and heavy bitumen mats for sound absorption in vehicles. A further application is for coatings that improve the corrosion protection and the wear and tear of lightweight metal components.
To encourage cost efficient solutions for mass productions, Henkel has recently put a test center in its new composite laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany into operation, where customer trials can be done within the production sites of fiber-reinforced structural components. Henkel offers matrix resins and tailor-made adhesives for production and assemblies of composite parts, including hybrid concepts incorporating plastic/metal components.
For instance, Loctite MAX 2, a two-component polyurethane composite matrix resin system, enabled automotive composites specialist Benteler-SGL to develop an innovative, glass-fibre-reinforced leaf spring. The composite spring is designed for a production output of over 100,000 parts per year and allows a weight reduction of 4.5 kg of the rear axle. It is featured in the new Volvo XC90 as well as in the models Volvo S90 and V90. In future, a larger number of composite based solutions for cars are possible – for example in spiral springs and rims, but also for car tops and doors.