Hybrid Design for Automotive Body Panels 2012-01-0746
The increasing trend for electric mobility adoption brings new challenges to the automotive industry, requiring a new approach to the manufacture processes, materials adopted and adaptation the market needs. The conventional technologies used to manufacture automotive parts imply significant overhead costs (tooling, assembly, etc.) which can only be justified by large series. The need of light and cost effective materials was the driving force of this study, acknowledging that the growth of the electric vehicles market will be driven by price. The study aims to deliver a hybrid design material solution that would offer quality and security to the vehicle, affordable to everyone, developing engineered solutions in terms of design and production process.
To the study were considered exterior body panels that are conventionally manufactured by sheet metal stamping or conventional thermoplastic injection, both having associated high investment costs related with tooling. To follow up this case study was defined as constrains that small series should be considered and weight reduction has to be achieved. The adoption of engineered materials leading to hybrid body panel's configuration was studied with increased resistance and reduced weight, using processes with low cost assembly operations and low tooling investment for a start. Structural reinforcement inserts were used on the test case to provide the desired results on the final component behavior.
The approach taken, considered different materials and methodologies focusing on the use of DCPD RIM components having as baseline the materials used nowadays in the automotive industry for the same type of exterior body panels. For deeper understanding on exterior panels' state of art, an analysis through several vehicle doors was made, analyzing the materials used and their combination. As a result, different combinations of materials were considered as adequate for weight reduction and for production on small production series.
Virtual simulation of two exterior body panels' solutions was done demonstrating the potential of DCPD as a hybrid solution to deliver structural consistence in conjunction with weigh reduction at a reduced cost.