FOREL 2018

FOREL Study 2018 - Change - Prognosis - Transfer

| Author / Editor: FOREL / Janina Seit

The Research and Technology Centre for Resource-Efficient Lightweight Structures for Electric Mobility (FOREL) has published the FOREL Study 2018 under the title "Resource-Efficient Lightweight Construction for Mobility: Change - Prognosis - Transfer".

FOREL Study 2018: "Resource-Efficient Lightweight Construction for Mobility: Change - Prognosis - Transfer".
( Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

The study focuses on innovative production technologies for future vehicle architectures, identifies deficits and derives the need for action. This year for the first time, the survey with more than 220 insiders will be supplemented by detailed interviews with decision-makers from the automotive and supplier industry and associated service providers.

Technological Change in Progress

Building on the findings of the FOREL 2015 study and the research and development results of ten FOREL technology projects, the study examines the current technological change in mobility. Against the background of competition between conventional and new drive concepts, changing usage profiles and new construction methods, functionally integrative lightweight system construction continues to play a key role as a cross-sectional discipline. In addition to higher degrees of lightweight construction and increasing technical requirements, the experts surveyed also expect significantly increasing development pressure with regard to the environmental friendliness of future vehicles. At the level of component production, in addition to increased production flexibility and resource efficiency, improved and consistent forecasting capabilities are also required.


Simulations and Systematic Technology Management

The study provides methodological recommendations for action to meet these manifold challenges. It is shown that numerical simulation has become an irreplaceable tool for the design of manufacturing processes and structural components. However, so that virtual methods will be able to map the complexity of the technologies in the future, the experts demand better accessibility of characteristic values and uniform simulation interfaces.

In order to know as early as possible which innovative technologies will actually arrive in production, systematic technology management is still required. According to the results of the study, it is particularly difficult for suppliers to actively pursue the industrialization of promising technologies.

Ecological Sustainability as a Basic Prerequisite for Lightweight Construction

The experts also agree that the decision for or against a lightweight material will in future increasingly be based on the effects on the entire product life cycle - from the cradle to the grave. The method of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has become established for this purpose. However, the study paints a differentiated picture here. On the one hand, the will to take greater account of ecology is clearly expressed. On the other hand, obstacles, such as the high, necessary personnel and financial expenditure are apparent, which to date have limited the use of the LCA.

Long-Term Development of Lightweight Construction Applications

The FOREL Study 2018 provides important impulses for the future orientation of the FOREL platform and the application-oriented further development of lightweight construction for the mobility of tomorrow. The analysis of the survey results and expert interviews reveal complex tasks that go far beyond conventional technology development. The researchers around the coordinator Prof. Dr. Maik Gude see the idea of a comprehensive and open platform as exactly the right approach: "The unique combination of know-how and production facilities available within the framework of FOREL characterizes the network. The FOREL Study 2018 formulates clear requirements for resource-efficient lightweight construction. The objectives can only be achieved through the application of holistic methods and the integration of all actors along the entire process chain".

In addition to initiating further technology projects under the umbrella of FOREL, the scenarios formulated in the FOREL Study 2018 serve to update the National Platform for Electric Mobility’s (NPE) lightweight construction roadmap.

The FOREL study included responses from small and medium-sized enterprises, research and development (R&D) and forecasts from large companies such as suppliers and OEMs in the automotive and related industries.

The FOREL study can be ordered as a book at or downloaded online at

This research and development project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Framework Concept “Research for Tomorrow’s Production” (funding number 02P16Z010–02P16Z014) and managed by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). The author is responsible for the contents of this publication.

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