13th June 2017 by Richard Yen
Our next look back at the nominations from the 2016 Altair Enlighten Award concerns automotive supplier, Magna, and its work with Jaguar Land Rover to minimize the weight of its Range Rover vehicles.
Magna, together with Jaguar Land Rover, developed a high vacuum, high-pressure die cast aluminum allow rear rail to replace the conventional stamped steel assembly. By incorporating a high vacuum for the high pressure die casting meant that the casting could be to be heat treated without blistering, which brings a combination of strength and ductility to the component.
As well as switching materials, the combined team performed design optimization studies to design for optimum load paths & manufacturability without the constraints of existing stamped pressing processes. The team used optimization technologies to explore where material could be removed and where the gauge thicknesses of the material could be minimized, all while taking into account the requirements from Jaguar Land Rover regarding the joining of the component with the surrounding systems. Adhesives were used extensively to join the parts to the steel components around rear rail.
The resulting part achieved a 50% weight saving when compared to previous conventional stamped steel assembly. In addition, the team managed to significantly reduce the complexity of the rear rail, taking the design down from nineteen parts to a single one that does not require additional joining.
Magna’s entry showed that the use of lighter materials in conjunction with optimization techniques can lead to significant weight savings of course, but also demonstrated the additional part savings and resulting assembly simplification that the process can create.