Auto designers and manufacturers have been swapping traditional materials for plastic car parts for some time now, and the reasons for doing so are clear: Plastics in automotive are ligthweight yet strong, and can help automakers to meet increasingly strict CO2 emissions standards. In the same time, comfort and security are naturally high on the agenda for customers. Thus growing technologies like electromobility and self-driving cars mean new challenges for the car industry. Which measures are taken to fulfil these requirements was part of the discussion with representatives from politics, science and industry at the theme of the day “Lightweight Design” at the K 2016 special show. First, the penalists paid attention to the manifold applications in which plastics already replaces car parts with lightweight materials. Up until now, automakers have found innovative ways to use plastics in car elements for door panels, auto interiors, or as the supporting frame of a vehicle, the chassis. Yet, still new breakthroughs in automotive lightweighting are coming up, e.g. moving towards an all-plastic car engine by using special polymer technologies for metal replacement. Current numbers from PlasticsEurope support the final conclusion of the penalists that the automotive sector will be accountable for high growth rates for the plastics industry in the nearby future.
Leading into the theme day: Jonas Grünwald, Dipl.-Ing. and competitive athlete, Airbus Group Innovations, Munich, talking about his experiences with lightweight design in triatholon.