Lighten Up: Altair’s Enlighten Award Presented
Although Altair is a company that provides advanced computer-aided engineering (CAE) software and high-performance computing applications, it has a particular interest in innovative automotive lightweighting, which has led the company, for the past six years, to provide the Altair Enlighten Awards to OEMs and suppliers that have come out with products that show notable achievements in weight savings. The award is presented at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars.
And the latest awards were presented today. . .
· Full Vehicle: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. A weight reduction of 450 pounds compared with the previous-generation truck achieved through a multidisciplinary optimization CAE approach.
· Module: BMW Group, for a 3D-printed metal printed convertible roof bracket for the i8, a part that is said to be the first printed metal component used in a production vehicle. It features a topology-optimized design that has a 44 percent weight savings and a 10X stiffness increase. (Proponents of 3D printing for production applications shouldn’t get too carried away, however, given that in the U.S. market, for example, BMW sold 488 i8s—for calendar year 2017.)
· Enabling Technology: A lightweight pedal bracket for the Mazda MX-5 from Asahi Kasei. The bracket was injection molded with a glass fiber-reinforced polyamide 66. It provides an 83 percent weight save.
· Enabling Technology: Ultra lightweight constrained layer material system from Sika Automotive that is engineered to provide noise damping in structural applications. It is being used in a number of vehicles, including the previously mentioned i8,the Audi Q7 and Mercedes A-Class.
· Enabling Technology: Mart-Ten 1500 martensitic advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) from U.S. Steel provides ultimate tensile strength of 1,500 MPa or greater, which can provide a weight savings on the order of 10 percent.
· Future of Lightweighting: The Quantum Driveline Architecture from American Axle & Manufacturing receives an award for something that has yet to be deployed in production vehicles, but when it is, it will provide significant weight savings. This system is designed for deployment in light duty pickups, where it not only can reduce the mass of rear axle systems by 35 percent but also increase power transmission efficiency and have good NVH characteristics.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.
According to Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, “We engineer and build our trucks with customers’ expectations in mind.”
Delegates to the United Auto Workers union’s annual convention in Detroit have overwhelmingly approved a 31% raise for their salaried international leaders.