Reviewing Lightweighting Strategies for Low Budget Mass-Market Vehicles: What Combinations of Materials Will Deliver the Best Return on Investment

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1 Reviewing Lightweighting Strategies for Low Budget Mass-Market Vehicles: What Combinations of Materials Will Deliver the Best Return on Investment Presented by Jinkui Yang, Chrysler Group LLC

2 Contents Cost effective strategies to achieving scalable solutions for mass market production of lightweight components Recognizing shared learnings from low scale production: taking technologies proven in low scale production and scaling them up into mass production Limitations and constraints preventing widespread adoption of lightweighting for mass market manufacturers Best practices for designing for cost effective weight reduction; using the right material in the right place to get the best return on investment 2

3 Cost Effective Strategies Vehicle Dynamics Driven Strategy Manufacturing Driven Strategy Unique Requirements Strategy Performance Vehicle Strategy Regulation Driven Strategy 3

4 Vehicle Dynamics Driven Strategy Weight reduction in areas that improve the handling and braking balance of the vehicle are given highest priority, and consequently the highest cost value Highest Value for Weight Reduction Highest Value for Weight Reduction Lowest Value for Weight Reduction Front Engine RWD Vehicle Lowest Value for Weight Reduction Mid/Rear Engine RWD Vehicle 4

5 Manufacturing Driven Strategy Avoid (or at least minimize) costly disruptions to current OEM manufacturing processes Examples: Aluminum wheels Substitution from steel to Al drives no major changes to the OEM manufacturing process Al (or Mg) engine components Casting processes used for aluminum and magnesium are similar to the casting processes used for cast iron 5

6 Manufacturing Driven Strategy Examples (cont d): Aluminum hood Substitution from steel to Al drives no significant changes to the OEM manufacturing process and can easily be transitioned back to steel if desired Magnesium transmission housings Substitution from Al to Mg can sometimes be made without changing tooling and can easily be substituted back to Al if desired 6

7 Unique Requirements Strategy Use of specific lightweight materials to meet unique requirements Examples: Aluminum road wheels Improve appearance Magnesium steering wheels Reduce vibration Magnesium instrument panel structures Integrate many components into one Composite rear floor panels Integrate functional features into floor panel 7

8 Performance Vehicle Strategy Many high end performance luxury and sports car manufacturers use light weight materials to provide a performance edge over competitors Customers desiring maximum performance and image are often willing to pay extra for light materials The knowledge and infrastructure developed on these applications helps to pave the way for transition into higher volume mainstream markets 8

9 Regulation Driven Strategies Driven by fuel economy, GHG/CO 2 emissions regulations Current U.S. regulations favor mass reduction without vehicle downsizing Typically, 10% mass reduction equates to 3-4% fuel economy improvement (6-8% with powertrain resizing) Cost of mass reduction actions must be balanced against cost of alternative methods of meeting regulatory requirements E.g., diesel engines, electrics, hybrids, etc. 9

10 Regulation Driven Strategies If OEM cannot meet regulations with selective mass reduction actions, such as those described previously, then a more aggressive weight strategy may be required: In addition to material substitution and optimization, mass decompounding may be required Priority should be driven by effect on mass decompounding efforts 10

11 Example: Impact of Lightweight Body Structure for Mass Decompounding Typically, highest mass contribution High mass compounding influence on other systems Chassis components Brakes, suspension components, wheels & tires, etc. Powertrain components Engine, drivetrain, etc. Chrysler Minivan Typical Weight Distribution 11

12 Shared Learnings from Low Scale Production 1992 Dodge Neon Lite Al BIW, decklid, hood, and doors Composite frt and rr bumpers Mg/Al steering column Al engine block and transmission Ti exhaust and springs Al suspension knuckles and control arms Al brake pedal, Mg pedal bracket MMC rotors Mg seat frames Mg IP structure 12

13 Dodge Neon Lite Components 13

14 Magnesium Intensive Concept Vehicle Prototype Build -Complete Lower Level Underbody

15 Magnesium Intensive Concept Vehicle Reduced part count: 44 vs. 204 (- 78%) Total weight: 181 kg (- 43%) Variable cost: + 2% Tooling Investment cost: (- 28%) Complete Prototype Body Structure Prior to Adhesive Cure 181 Kg Complete Prototype Vehicle with Composite Body Panels 15

16 Low Volume Application with Mg Front of Dash Structure Feature Integration Steering column attachment HVAC opening Brake booster attachments Pedal attachments Wire harness attachments IP structure attachments Door hinge attachments Hood hinge attachments A pillar mounting attachments Weight Reduction 15.4 Kg (51%) Cost Reduction ~30% Viper Front of Dash Part Integration 51 parts replaced by 10 parts Low volume application <5,000/yr 16

17 High Volume Application with Mg Spare Tire/CHMSL Bracket 2007 Jeep Wrangler Spare Tire and CHMSL Module 17

18 High Volume Application with Mg Spare Tire/CHMSL Bracket 4 x CHMSL Screws CHMSL Assy Tether & Studs Magnesium Casting Wiring Harness Double ended Stud Plant part complexity savings of 6 parts Weight Savings of 7.5 Lbs (65%) Piece Cost Saving of ~2% Investment Penalty of ~21% Jeep Wrangler Spare Tire and CHMSL Module Exploded View 18

19 Limitations and Constraints (general) OEM and Tier 1 material selection processes that focus on cost of material in /Kg or $/lb. Huge investments in current materials, processes and technologies (primarily steel) Unique pre-treatment, coating, and paint issues for lightweight materials Limited infrastructure for many lightweight materials Limited knowledge base within OEMS and Tier 1s regarding applications of lightweight materials 19

20 Limitations and Constraints (aluminum) Higher cost per weight compared to steel Sheet aluminum more difficult to form than steel Cast aluminum properties and thickness limitations limit mass reduction capabilities Limited automotive infrastructure compared to steel (but better than most other lightweight materials) 20

21 Limitations and Constraints (magnesium) Wrought material higher cost per weight compared to steel or aluminum (casting alloys more competitive) Wrought material more difficult to form than steel or aluminum (and poor corrosion performance) All Mg alloys highly susceptible to galvanic corrosion from steel, copper, nickel, and carbon Joining can be challenging, especially to dissimilar materials Low elongations limit energy management applications Limited infrastructure and supply base Primary material production largely limited to China 21

22 Limitations and Constraints (SMC) Higher cost per weight compared to steel or aluminum Low production rates favor low volume vehicles Tooling can get expensive in high volume application Mass reduction potential less than other lightweight materials due to relatively high density for a low elastic modulus material Low elongations limit energy management applications 22

23 Limitations and Constraints (thermoplastics) Higher cost per weight compared to steel or aluminum Mass reduction potential typically not as high as aluminum sheet or magnesium due to low elastic modulus (but better than SMC) High thermal expansion compared to other materials creates design challenges High and low temperature capabilities of most thermoplastics limit applications 23

24 Limitations and Constraints (carbon fiber) Higher cost per weight compared to other structural lightweighting materials Slow production cycle rates limit mass market potential Limited infrastructure compared to most other materials High level of galvanic potential creates significant corrosion problems for adjoining aluminum or magnesium components Low elongations and difficult modeling limit energy management applications 24

25 Best Practices Mass Reduction Potential (typical) High strength steels (5-10%) SMC (20-30%) Cast aluminum (25-35%) Thermoplastic polymer composites (30-40%) Sheet, extruded, and forged aluminum (40-50%) Die cast magnesium (45-65%) Sheet, extruded, and forged magnesium (55-75%) Carbon fiber prepreg composites (60-75%) 25

26 Best Practices (steel) For very aggressive weight reduction, the use of steels will be limited Most automotive applications are initially dominated by stiffness/nvh requirements The modulus for high strength steels is no higher than for mild steel High strength steels can benefit components where strength truly is the dominant requirement and space is limited 26

27 Best Practices (aluminum sheet) For most thin walled panels that do not require a high level of shape and reinforcement, aluminum sheet can be the most cost effective solution with potential for up to 50% weight reduction (typical for hood panels) at relatively low cost increase over steel Common examples include: Hood panels Roof panels Fenders Doors Floor panels Body-in-White 27

28 Best Practices (aluminum castings & forgings) For thicker walled structural components with challenging shapes, castings provide a cost effective solution If greater weight reduction is required, then forgings may provide more weight reduction but typically at higher cost Common examples include: Wheels Brake calipers Steering knuckles Shock/strut towers Control arms Engine blocks Engine heads Trans housings Axle housings Engine mounts Body reinforcements Engine cradles 28

29 Best Practices (aluminum extrusions) For profiles with constant section (especially for tubular sections), aluminum extrusions can be very cost effective, with low investment, low scrap rates, and low labor, but this process is restrictive on shapes Common examples include: Bumper beams Front crush rails Seat frames 29

30 Best Practices (magnesium) Best practice is thin-wall die casting Mg die casting can be very cost effective Reasonable material cost Thinner section capability than aluminum High level of component integration capability No need to heat treat Not cost effective for wrought alloys due to high material cost and forming difficulties for sheet, extrusion, and forging 30

31 Best Practices (magnesium) Common examples include: Instrument panel structures As many as 20 stamped steel components combined into one die casting at slightly more than ½ the weight Steering wheel armatures Seat structures Closure inner panels Trans housings 31

32 Best Practices (SMC) While SMC does not save as much weight as some of the other materials considered here, it has a good infrastructure and good success for several applications including: Integrated liftgate panels/modules Integrated rear floor panel applications (those requiring more shape and integrated features than available from sheet aluminum) 32

33 Best Practices (thermoplastic) Best practice for thermoplastics is injection molding to achieve high levels of functional integration and appearance. Common examples include: Almost all interior trim panels, including hard trim, instrument panel and console trim, etc. Most exterior fascias, lighting, and cladding Fender panels Liftgate modules 33

34 Best Practices (Carbon Fiber Composites) To date, there are no high volume applications of carbon fiber composites With known current process times and raw material cost, there is no good estimate of when CF applications will be affordable for high volume vehicle production 34

35 Multi-Material Body Optimized Approach Must start out with clean sheet First step is multi-disciplinary optimization to identify optimum usage of materials for critical load cases Conduct initial design study using knowledge of material structural properties and processes to meet requirements identified by the optimization study Evaluate compatibility of selected materials for joining, galvanic corrosion potential, and thermal expansion coefficients 35

36 Optimized Usage of Light Materials Can enable weight reductions beyond what aluminum or steel vehicles can provide, potentially at lower cost Can incorporate Mg, Al, HSS, and composites in the areas where these materials are suitable Optimized construction using best materials for each application may offer the best weight reduction for lowest cost 36

37 Structural Considerations Most body structural requirements are stiffness and fatigue strength dominated The next area of importance is yield strength Finally, a few key systems are dominated by energy management requirements For front and rear crash management, a high level of elongation is required For side impact and roof crush, a very high level of yield strength is the dominant requirement 37

38 Some Generic Recommendations Primary energy management applications Front and rear rails Extruded aluminum or welded sheet aluminum A-pillar and B-pillar reinforcements, door side impact beams Boron steel (or newer higher strength alloys) Trip 780 steel 7075 sheet aluminum A365 die cast aluminum 38

39 Some Generic Recommendations Secondary energy management applications Torque boxes, reinforcements, crossmembers, etc. High quality die cast Al or Mg, or sheet Al depending on wall thickness requirements, elongation requirements, and overall shape complexity Outer panel (painted Class A) applications Sheet aluminum Thermoplastic composites SMC 39

40 Some Generic Recommendations NVH, stiffness, and durability applications Strut towers, strut braces, C-pillar reinforcements, etc. with relatively thick walls Die cast Al or Mg Dash panels, floor pans, and other thin-wall nonappearance panels Sheet Al or Mg Thin-wall die cast Mg can be cost effective on some of these panels as well If the panels have many reinforcements 40

41 Conclusion Body mass savings of up to 40% compared to steel are feasible with aluminum construction. This could be improved with optimized inclusion of Mg, composite, and HSS in selected areas % weight savings is possible in chassis, suspension, and brake systems, especially if components are downsized as a result of lighter body and interior. Systematically optimized lightweight material vehicle construction should yield best results for the future. 41

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