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Lightweight Design

Lightweight Wins: The Winners of the Enlighten Award

| Editor: Alexander Stark

A vehicle with its weight reduced by more than 200 kg, a 3D printed standard metal component and other exciting lightweight concepts: Altair and the Center for Automotive Research announced the winners of the Enlighten Award.

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BMW won the module category with a focus on vehicle systems, sub-systems and components.
( Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

204.5 kg lighter than its predecessor, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado wins first place in the "Full Vehicle" category of the Altair Enlighten Awards. The award takes into account pioneering concepts and developments in lightweight automotive construction — the winners have now been awarded.

BMW won the "Module" category with the first 3D printed metal component used in series production. The component will be installed in the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster and is 44 % lighter.


Top positions in the "Enabling Technology" category were won by Asahi Kasei Corporation with its super-light pedal holder for the Mazda MX-5, Sika Automotive with its ultra-lightweight "Constrained Layer Material System" and by the United States Steel Corporation with its advanced high-strength martensitic steel "Mart-TenTM1500".

The award in the new category "Future of Lightweighting" went to American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. for its so-called Quantum powertrain architecture.

The Winners in Detail

General Motors used multidisciplinary CAE optimization to incorporate more high-strength steels and new assembly techniques into the Silverado cabin and frame development. The vehicle is 204.5 kg lighter than its predecessor, offering 23 % more storage space, higher dynamic stiffness, better corrosion protection and greater impact protection.

BMW won the module category with a focus on vehicle systems, sub-systems and components: with its additively manufactured metal convertible roof mount for the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster. It is the first 3D printed metallic component in a vehicle series production. Manufactured with selective laser melting (SLM) without the need for support structures, it was also the first time that a topology-optimized design was adopted almost 1:1 in a vehicle series production where it led to a 44 % reduction in weight and, according to the manufacturer, tenfold increase in rigidity.

"It is a great honor for us to receive this year's Altair Enlighten Award, and our thanks go to the jury who recognized the achievements of the i8 team," commented Maximilian Meixlsperger, Head of Additive Manufacturing Metal at the BMW Group.

Several Winners in Innovation

In the category Enabling Technology, which focuses on technological innovations, the jury saw the competitors very close together and decided to award three category winners: Asahi Kasei Corporation together with Mazda Corporation, Sika Automotive and United States Steel Corporation.

The winning contribution from Asahi Kasei Corporation was the production of a new brake pedal holder for the Mazda MX-5 using glass fiber reinforced polyamide 66. The new injection molding design reduced the weight by 83 %.

Sika Automotive's award-winning contribution is an ultra-lightweight constrained layer material composite for structure-borne noise reduction. The materials commonly used for structure-borne sound insulation have a base weight of 5 kg/m2, which was reduced by up to 80 %.

US Steel's Mart-Ten1500 high-strength martensitic steels for low-mass structural components were the winning contribution from US Steel. The material was recently introduced to the automotive market and has a maximum tensile strength of above 1,500 megapascals. According to the jury, US Steel's achievements in continuous annealing technology have consistently and repeatedly made it possible to achieve strengths in the gigapascal range in series production and thus to build vehicles that are more than ten percent lighter.


New Category "Future of Lightweighting

The "Future of Lightweighting" category was introduced this year to recognize ideas, processes, materials and technologies that offer very high potential for lightweight construction but are not yet being used productively in a vehicle platform. American Axle & Manufacturing was awarded first prize in this category for its Quantum powertrain architecture.

Quantum is a unique combination of proven materials and technologies that reduces the mass of the rear axle system of a light truck by 35 %, increases the transferred efficiency and provides robust NVH performance.

This article was first published by Automobil Industrie

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