The AEROCAR project led by Leartiker and four other speakers carried off a program that focused on lightening and new materials to address the demands of the sector and to contemplate the opportunities it offers.
All along this day, different aspects of the materials that allow the optimization of the lightening were exposed, obtaining thus lighter parts that keep their functionality and their mechanical properties.
Last Friday, March 31, 2017, at the Lea-Artibai Innovation Pole, Leartiker organized the Lightweight Technologies Day through Thermoplastic Composites , in which the technological center also launched the European AEROCAR project. Throughout the half-day of the conference, which focused on lightening and new materials, was attended by four invited speakers. They shared with the participants their experience and the possibilities of these materials of vital importance for the two sectors, namely the aeronautics and the automotive ones, which are the main objectives of the AEROCAR project.
José Javier Egurrola, Leartiker’s Manager of Polymer Technology, was in charge of running the Day and presenting the Aerocar project. The transfer of technology between the automotive and aeronautics sectors being the main goal of Aerocar, Egurrola explained that the project would have five phases. The first two will be theories or research phases. They will serve to identify and to know better the existing technology in both sectors. In the third phase, the most interesting and viable technologies for this transfer will be contained. Finally, there will be two practical phases in which the different partners of the project will develop several prototypes for each sector, which will eventually be introduced in the companies that wish so.
Presently, within the project, partners are immersed in the research phase. Leartiker has consulted the companies about their concerns and needs for the future, which, in many cases, coincide with issues related to new materials and lightening. This is the reason why the organization of this day was decided, focusing on both aspects. Currently, the industry demands the reduction of weight in cars and airplanes. Moreover, it is also an interesting feature for companies since it allows them to reduce the CO2 emissions. Both in aeronautics and in the automotive industry, there are cases where some metal parts have been replaced by other parts made of lighter materials such as thermoplastic compounds reinforced with fiberglass, carbon or natural fibres. Experts in this sector expect that this trend will keep growing and will be extended to parts with increasing structural responsibility.
After Egurrola’s presentation, four other speakers who are currently working within this sector and field showed to those present in the audience their experiences and the opportunities offered by the industry. Thus, the first to participate was Sebastián Picheta, from the Austrian company Engel, a brand that has an automotive business line. It developed a composite manufacturing process called Organomelt that works through a fully automated machine combining thermoforming and injection molding. Using videos, Picheta explained how the machine works and creates parts of different features in a single manufacturing unit.
Then followed Joana Manzanares, from CAE Innovación, a company of consulting and implementation of calculation and simulation systems. She presented Digimat, a software developed by E-xtream to investigate and predict the behaviour of composites that allows, among other things, a more accurate and effective development of components.
Sergio Moriano was in charge of the third presentation. His company, Polyone, a multidisciplinary multinational has one of the largest catalogues of composite materials on the market. They offer short, long and continuous fiber materials that are adaptable to every need. As an example, Moriano brought samples of two materials that were developed by Polyone and that already have practical applications. The attendees could check their characteristics and manipulate them with their hands.
Lastly, it was the turn of Javier Martinez Cue, from the Batz group. This latter has several business units. However, Martínez Cue talk focused on the practical cases of the composites use in the automotive sector, such as the front-end, pedals and bulkhead they have developed for different models that are already in use.
Although each speaker spoke of a different aspect of these materials, all agreed that these materials allow the optimization of lightening, thus producing parts with less weight but maintaining their functionality and mechanical properties.