SOUTHFIELD - Grede, a leading producer of cast iron components for transportation and industrial applications, is working with Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) in leading the group's first-ever project on component lightweighting.
The LIFT project, which is focused on thin wall ferrous castings, will examine the manufacturing methods of lightweight structures, thin wall castability of ferrous materials, and performance expectations of lightweight structures.
"With transportation companies globally pushing for lightweight solutions to improve powertrain efficiency, LIFT is the perfect catalyst for achieving innovative breakthroughs. As a leader in the development of cast components, Grede brings its years of expertise and is pleased to be leading this thin wall castings effort by LIFT," said Jay Solomond, vice president, Engineering and Technology, Grede.
"In certain cases, alternate materials have been used to lightweight but they are more expensive and may not perform as well as ductile iron castings. In reality, though, thin wall ductile iron components and high strength iron chemistries are a better solution for customers while maintaining the higher performance of ductile iron and improving cost," Solomond said.
Grede's Solomond will head the LIFT project on thin wall ferrous castings for the next two years.
The group includes experts from other leading companies, organizations and universities, including Eaton, Comau, the American Foundry Society (AFS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Michigan Technological University.
They will collaborate to identify manufacturing barriers and the solutions necessary to achieve volume production thin wall castings. They also will produce samples of lightweight alternatives to prove feasibility.
LIFT is a federal government consortium of businesses and universities working together to develop lightweight materials across a number of industries, including automotive, heavy truck, defense, aerospace, energy and consumer products.
LIFT addresses the requirements of the U.S. government's Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) project, bringing together a 60-member group that pairs leading aluminum, titanium, iron and high-strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research.