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Multi-material Design is the key to Future Lightweight CAFE-compliant Vehicles, According to Fraunhofer ICT's Frank Henning

TROY, Michigan, November 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Commenting on the CAFE standards that impose the 54.5 MPG rule on automakers to comply by 2025, Dr. Frank Henning gives an exclusive preview of his Keynote Speech at the Lightweighting AutoPlastics 2012 Conference in an interview with PlasticsToday. Dr. Henning also makes recommendations for technologies that U.S. car manufacturers can adopt quickly to achieve large-scale manufacturing of composite components and catch up with their European counterparts. The conference takes place on November 14 - 15, 2012 at Altair HQ in Troy, Michigan USA. For more information, visit http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com 

In an exclusive interview preceding the Lightweighting AutoPlastics 2012 Conference, Dr. Frank Henning shares his views on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and discusses some of the polymer composite technologies that could be utilized to achieve the light weight goals. He is convinced that the pressure North America's car manufacturers are facing to build more efficient vehicles will force them to catch up and adopt many technologies that are already utilized in Europe today. "We will see highly automated composite manufacturing technologies in both of these markets," Henning said.

Q. Is the dramatic increase in CAFE standards (54.5MPG) by the U.S. government feasible? How does this compare to the EU?

A. From a pure technology standpoint - Yes, it is feasible. But nothing is feasible from today to tomorrow. Besides long enough time for realization, a strategy for technology development and funding for it is required. Technologies must be enabled and adapted for North America's car manufacturing industry - the automotive industry needs economically feasible technologies.

Q. Can lightweighting be accomplished without compromising safety? Why or why not?

A. Absolutely - Composites are very suitable for crash performance- if designed and allocated in a suitable way- as it can be seen in Formula One or motorsport in general at its extreme. We will need a different approach for vehicles on the road. Adequate material selection and component design with respect to composite materials is the answer to this question/challenge.

Q. Can lighter cars co-exist safely on roads and highways with heavier, legacy vehicles?

A. Obviously there is a physical boundary which we have to life with. We have to manage energy with deformation as well in order not to bounce back the lighter cars too much. Acceleration of the human body in the car is crucial as well as the vehicle movement in general. When a car hits a truck we can see the interaction between the vehicles - the weight of the fleet must come down in general.

To download the rest of the interview, click here or visit http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com 

Dr. Henning will deliver a Keynote Address titled "Large-scale manufacturing of automotive composites - Technologies and trends" on Day Two of the Lightweighting AutoPlastics 2012 Conference, November 15, 2012 in Troy, MI.  Dr. Frank Henning is currently European Liaison for the SPE Composite Division as well as a full professor for Lightweight Technologies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology. To learn more about the conference, visit http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com

For more information about this interview and about the conference, contact:
Vu Nguyen
[email protected]

SOURCE UBM Conferences

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