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Metallic steel and honeycomb element background texture Metallic steel and honeycomb element background texture | © – © Kaikoro

Lightweight Industries

The development and use of lightweight construction solutions is an important requirement for the competitiveness of German industry. Lightweight construction is of great importance for a number of industries including, for example, the automotive construction and transportation, mechanical engineering, and production technology sectors as well as the construction industry. Lightweight construction will be decisive in determining whether German industry will also be successful in establishing itself as a lead provider of innovative energy and resource-efficient products in the future. Against the background of the fact that Germany is a worldwide leader in the production and production techniques of innovative materials, lightweight construction is a central industrial political issue.

Issues and Areas of Activity

Tradition provides the basics…

Ideas in lightweight design need demand from industry. Industrial production has been Germany’s USP ever since.

Relevance of German Industry Sectors
Relevance of German Industry Sectors | © Forschungszentrum Jülich; Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF)

Lightweight construction represents not only weight savings for industry, but also the implementation of new applications as well as system properties. This leads ultimately to own-product cost reductions as well as the production of completely new products. Using lightweight construction, companies are able to strengthen their own competitive position.

Lightweight construction is reflected in three ways in Germany’s industrial and technological landscape:

  • in the design and construction process
  • in the mastery of production technologies
  • in the selection of suitable materials

Germany means that you are in the center of future trends in lightweighting:

  • Benefit from a dense network of centers of excellence which include producers and R&D players in new materials, automation and tooling, who continually expand their knowledge by learning from each other.
  • Chose your material either from refined metal processing or be part of pushing the industrialization of carbon fiber into new uncharted applications.
  • Join a lightweight community and benefit by a support structure, not only offering public aid for R&D and production but also market intelligence and community building in at least five main clusters.

Lightweight Construction in Germany

Automation is the shining star…

Industrial automation is critical for minimizing costs in lightweighting. Engineering and tooling are Germany’s flagship industries.

Industrial automation
Industrial automation | © Fraunhofer Institute for Production and Automation (IPA), Stuttgart
  • Sensors, actuators and Big Data processing facilitate lighter construction and allow unique functions based on new solutions in design and production.
  • “Plattform Industrie 4.0” is a nation-wide infrastructure that supports also the lightweight industries. The platform sets standards & norms, creates a legal framework that ensures safety issues and solves skill mismatches.

Aerospace sets the pace…

Aerospace has been traditionally the catalyst for lightweight design. The R&D-driven German aerospace industry is continuously raising demand.

Development of sales and employment in German Aerospace
Development of sales and employment in German Aerospace | © XXX

Automotive is the future promise …

Electric mobility desperately needs lightweight design to raise a car’s performance. With a total of 40 EV worldwide, 29 are from German OEM´s

Electric mobility desperately needs lightweight design to raise a car’s performance.
Electric mobility desperately needs lightweight design to raise a car’s performance. | © NPE; Germany Trade and Invest Research (2016); ILK Dresden (FOREL Study)

New technologies will be core enablers…

The complexity of lightweight design needs new production technologies. Germany hosts more world market leaders in 3-D printing than any other.

  • Industrial 3-D printing will enhance lightweight design to new levels.
  • It will increase rapid response to markets, overcome design restrictions and increase construction complexity. Supply chains will be compressed producing a just-in-time quantity of parts by keeping the flexibility to change product design.
Map: New technologies will be core enablers
Map: New technologies will be core enablers | © GTAI Research 2016
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