Hybrid—Not What You Think

When you think “hybrid,” you probably think something like this: But that’s not what equipment supplier KraussMaffei thinks.

When you think “hybrid,” you probably think something like this:

Prius

But that’s not what equipment supplier KraussMaffei thinks. It is working with the Institute for Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology at Dresden University of Technology and other partners from industry and academia on a research project named “LEIKA,” which stands for Leichtbau in Karosseriebauteilen, or “lightweight construction in auto body components.”

So that idea of “hybrid” looks like this:

Hybrid

Photo: Dresden University of Technology/ILK

The hybrid is the material. In this case it is the center tunnel for an electric vehicle that consists of outer layers of steel and a core of carbon fiber reinforced polymer. (CFRP).

KraussMaffei has provided a system for the LEIKA lab about which Martin Würtele, Director of Injection Molding Technology Development at KraussMaffei, said, “The new lab system at the Institute for Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology allows us to form and back-inject FRP-metal hybrid materials in one step. The resulting process and structure quality, together with the achieved cycle times of significantly less than two minutes, supports the potential of such hybridization on both the material and production end.”

Würtele said, “The first test results are excellent. The mass is reduced by 25 percent compared to an all-metal lightweight construction solution. Simultaneously, it was possible to demonstrate comparable performance under the most important load conditions with regard to stiffness and crash situations for components with significantly lower mass."

With that kind of performance, clearly this kind of “hybrid” ought to be of serious interest to all OEMs.