euroLITE – The meeting point for all key players in the lightweight construction industry
When the gates of the Salzburg Exhibition Centre open to euroLITE for the first time on 26 June, visitors to the 1st international specialist trade fair for lightweight design will find a comprehensive overview of all current developments and trends in the field of lightweight construction. The accompanying lightweight construction forum, which is being held with the support of the "Leichtbau Cluster Landshut", offers information and impulses in and around the topics of design, materials and manufacturing.
As the only specialist trade fair for lightweight design in the whole of Europe, euroLITE covers the entire spectrum of development and simulation tools, from materials and production technologies, right up to component tests and series production. Various market leaders and numerous small and medium-sized companies, both domestic and foreign, will be showing their innovative products and services for the implementation of lightweight concepts in all these fields from 26 to 28 June 2007 in Salzburg (Austria).
New developments, from simulation right up to manufacturing
Abaqus' stand, for example, deals with composite fibre structures. Current simulation applications from industry and research will be on show, including applications for targeted use of anisotropy of the fibre-matrix bond, stability investigations, post-buckling behaviour, geometry realisation from CAD systems and model production. In terms of materials, exhibitors cover non-ferrous metals, aluminium alloys, lightweight steel, fibre reinforced plastics, composites, cellular materials and nano materials. Alongside numerous companies, such as Alulight International, Alcan Singen, Hydro Aluminium, Menzolit Compounds International, Metawell, Romay and Schwäbische Hüttenwerke, the Light Construction Cluster Landshut, the Plastics Cluster Linz and zellulare metallische Werkstoffe (ZMW) will be represented on shared stands. With its open- and closed-cell metal foams, hollow bead and fibre structures, ZMW will be presenting new multifunctional lightweight materials. These innovative materials have many useful properties – in particular a low specific weight, a high level of energy absorption (sound and impact) and favourable dynamic properties (high damping). The wide range of properties and the targeted combination of specific properties make cellular metallic materials ideally suited to numerous applications. Indeed, these materials are already being used in lightweight construction and damping components for machine tools, in crash-absorbing elements of motor vehicles and as heat shields or flame arresters. As they generally have an extremely permeable structure for numerous media, cellular metal materials are also ideal for use as filters. Applications here include high temperature filters and exhaust gas filters for diesel vehicles as well as catalytic converters and heat exchangers.
There will also be many interesting things to see in the field of manufacturing technology. For example, the lightweight metal specialists "Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen" are to present their compound casting materials with hybrid construction techniques that offer great potential for savings. Through the combination of various materials, this compound casting process can help components meet the most diverse of requirements. And with the hybrid construction process, the material bond is created by recasting – separate hot or cold bonding/jointing processes are not necessary. This in turn reduces the number of production steps needed in the manufacturing process. A good example of applications in this field is the manufacturing of engine blocks. The company Alutecbelte, for example, will present a process of heat treatment, which allows greater potential applications for aluminium processing. This process allows new market sectors to be tapped using the material as a substitute for steel. One application of the process is for engine components, such as crank casings and cylinder heads, where it allows internal stress to be minimised. This allows engine performance to be increased while simultaneously improving service life. The displacement can also be reduced, allowing the total output to be increased with lower consumption. Alongside this, heat treated structural aluminium parts and vehicle components are also being shown for optimisation of behaviour in the event of crashes due to improved material strength with lower weight and also lower fuel consumption. Alloy wheels, which offer lighter weight through thinner walls, are a further application. The weight reduction achieved with these parts offers a corresponding reduction in the unsprung mass and improves ride quality.
New processing technologies have recently also been developed for cheaper series production of components made of CRP. These include RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) and VARI (Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion) processes. With both of these processes, so-called preforms (dry fibre structures) are used, with resin then being injected into these. This allows production of components with complex contours and the use of different types of fibre, such as fabric, multiaxial mesh fabric and netting. A further advantage of using preforms is their better drapability. You can find more information on the potential applications of these developments from companies such as Carbo Tech Composites and Wimmer.
Supporting program with lightweight construction forum
In addition to the services on offer by the exhibitors, the euroLITE event managers "H & K Messe" from Karlsruhe and the Salzburg Exhibition Centre have organised a lightweight construction forum. The "Light Construction Cluster Landshut" will be on hand to help with all technical issues. The program encompasses lectures and discussions in and around the topics of design, materials and manufacturing.
For further information, a provisional list of exhibitors and the program of the lightweight construction forum, please go to www.euroLITE-expo.eu.
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