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Lightweighting Technologies These are the Winners of the 2020 Altair Enlighten Awards

| Editor: Nicole Kareta

Altair has announced the winners of the 8th Annual Altair Enlighten Awards. Presented jointly with the Center for Automotive Research, the competition acknowledges the world’s best initiatives to reduce vehicle weight and meet emissions targets, inspiring breakthrough advancements that push the industry towards a more sustainable future.

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Presented in four categories, the Enlighten Awards recognize commercial automotive lightweighting achievements and technologies.
Presented in four categories, the Enlighten Awards recognize commercial automotive lightweighting achievements and technologies.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Pixabay )

“As we sit at the crossroads of science, engineering, art, and design, creating a more sustainable future is the essence of Altair as we are a pioneer in lightweighting technologies and methodologies,” said James Scapa, founder and chief executive officer of Altair. “I am proud to see that the Altair Enlighten Awards have become a sought-after recognition that acknowledges the world’s greatest automotive lightweighting innovations, while inspiring interest from industries, engineers, policymakers, educators, students, and the public.”

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Presented in four categories, the Enlighten Awards recognize commercial automotive lightweighting achievements and technologies. The 2020 winners include:

  • Full Vehicle winner: Harley Davidson Motor Company utilized electrification to improve energy capacity of its Livewire electric motorcycle by 90 %, while increasing the ratio of energy capacity to vehicle mass by 60 %. In addition to further improvements, this initiative established mass and stiffness design and optimization practices for future motorcycle programs.
    Runner-up: Nissan for its new Sentra 2020 platform, designed to dramatically improve safety and dynamic performance without increasing weight by using simulation to place the right materials in the right locations.
  • Module winner: An industry first, Toyota created a free standing two occupant injection molded back-frame with no molded reinforcement for the 2021 Sienna. It consolidated 15 components to one part with one injection, driving down costs by 15 %, reducing mass by 30 % and improving safety performance by two times.
    Runner-up: ZF created the first-to-market electric park brake (EPB) with more than 75 million vehicles fitted with EPB for world roadways. The Heavy Duty EPB offers a weight savings of 25 pounds or more for large trucks and SUVs when compared to conventional drum-in-hat park brakes.
  • Enabling Technology winner: Mubea developed a glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) Tension Leaf Spring with weight savings of up to 75 % compared to a standard multi-layer steel spring. The company used a scripted and automated workflow that begins from a parametrized spring model in which all spring parameters can be adapted.
    Runner-up: DuPont’s BETASEA bonded thermoplastic liftgates for its use of BETASEAL X2500 structural adhesive, which quickly joins thermoplastic inner and outer panels and enables modular lightweight assembly. The company’s Magna thermoplastic liftgates bonded with BETASEAL X2500 structural adhesive have realized a 20-30 % weight savings compared to welded steel liftgates.
    Honorable mention: Mazda’s computer-aided engineering (CAE) multi-disciplinary design optimization (MDO) methodology captures top technology trends by applying simulation-driven design and data analytics for product design.
  • Future of Lightweighting winner: Marelli developed a new advanced sheet compression molded suspension steering knuckle that ensures a 25 % mass savings compared to the aluminum version used on the Jeep Compass and a 50 % savings compared to the cast iron version.
    Runner-up: Nissan’s ultimate lightweight aluminum/carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) body side panel using topology design reduced weight by utilizing a multi-material structure of aluminum and short fiber carbon fiber reinforced thermal plastic (CFRTP). Compared to conventional steel body side panels, it can reduce weight by approximately 50 %.

“We are proud to offer the automotive industry’s only award dedicated to vehicle lightweighting and are thrilled to see how many advancements are made through the use of optimization technologies,” said Richard Yen, Altair senior vice president, global industry verticals. “Each year the entries are more and more impressive, making it increasingly difficult to select the winners as entrants are making great strides in lightweighting, and using inventive approaches through simulation and materials.”

“On behalf of myself and the Toyota North American Research and Development team, it is an honor to accept this Altair Enlighten Award for the resin back-frame in the new Toyota Sienna 3rd row seat. We are excited to release this industry-leading seat back that focuses on customer satisfaction with lighter touch and ease of operation,” said Todd Muck, senior principal engineer, Toyota TSPO – Advanced Development Group. “Strong teamwork and collaboration allowed us to accept the monumental challenge of lightweighting and improved performance while still achieving a lower cost. The final design, which demonstrates a reduction in both weight and cost, is a testament to our entire Toyota development team and the invaluable support of our supplier partner, BASF. We turned a dream into reality by creating something entirely new for this vehicle segment.”

“Design optimization is critical for every new product in the automotive industry and lightweighting is a key component. We are honored to collaborate with Altair in acknowledging these design innovations in the automotive sector,” said Carla Bailo, president and chief executive officer at CAR. “CAR’s multidisciplinary approach gives us a clear viewpoint on critical issues facing the global automotive industry and it is thrilling to see advancements in lightweighting making an immediate impact.”

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