Thermoplastic Lightweight Construction – Choice for the Future?
Themes: Process-Tech Forum
Partner: VDMA-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hybride Leichtbau Technologien
New technologies as well as the continuous development of existing products enable the plastics industry to establish innovative processes. The need and the pressure on the industry to offer sustainable for ecological problems are increasing. Thermoplastic lightweight construction plays an important role in the automotive industry and can contribute to CO2 reduction. More and more fiber-reinforced thermoplastic lightweight components are in use, such as door module, front-end or airbag housing.
But their use also involves restrictions. The production of fiber plastic material costs additional energy, the added value of lightweight construction in electric vehicles is critically questioned, and after end of their service life, no proper solution for recycling was found so far. So does thermoplastic lightweight construction lack the right to exist in future and won’t be able to solve tomorrow‘s problems?
The answer will depend very much on the future mobility and the importance of weight reduction. The possibilities for material recycling of such structures have not yet been exhausted and the speed at which the energy transition is achieved also determines the carbon footprint of these products.
A contribution to energy saving is already being made by thermoplastic lightweight construction today. Through functional integration and anisotropic material optimization, material and thus weight can be saved. It is precisely such properties that can provide the necessary added value in the future. The corresponding production facilities are available and are capable of processing short, long or continuous fiber in series.