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TWO INDUSTRIES ‒ ONE GOAL Stahlinstitut VDEh Industrieverband Massivumformung e. V. (IMU) Industrieverband Massivumformung e. V. (IMU)

Phase III with 39 international companies from Western Europe, the USA and Japan Completed – Promising Results Available
93 kg of lightweighting potential in a four-wheel, full-hybrid SUV
124 kg of lightweighting potential in the transmission, drive shaft and rear axle of a conventional truck

Further reducing the weight of vehicles is one of the decisive challenges facing the automotive industry in the near future. This is because less weight means lower CO2 emissions as well as improved material and resource efficiency. Thanks to its lightweight design qualities, modern steels will retain a central role in these developments. Since 2013, The Lightweight Forging Initiative, a cooperation of companies from the steel and forging industries, has been revealing the previously unknown lightweighting potential offered by forged steel parts in the powertrain and chassis.

Phase III, consisting of 39 cooperation partners from Western Europe, the US and Japan, began in July 2017 with the disassembly and documentation of a hybrid split-axle four-wheel drive SUV. This work was carried out by the automotive research company fka Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH, located in Aachen, Germany. Likewise, the transmission, drive shaft and rear axle of a heavy-duty commercial vehicle were disassembled. During a workshop at the end of January 2018 at the fka in Aachen, 80 experts from the companies involved in the project then had the opportunity to assess over 4,000 parts themselves and inspect them with respect to potential lightweighting measures.

Almost 1,000 lightweighting suggestions for the chassis, powertrain, transmission and electronic parts of the hybrid passenger car as well as for the truck powertrain were developed. The ideas relate to lightweighting achieved through materials, design and manufacturing as well as to conceptual lightweight design. The above-named systems in the hybrid passenger car have a reference mass of 816 kg. The lightweighting approaches developed during Phase III add up to a potential weight reduction of 93 kg in total for this vehicle. For the truck powertrain, with a reference mass of 909 kg, the experts were able to promise a total weight reduction of 124 kg.

Presentation of results: Phase III

In addition, the Research Network “Lightweight Forging” of the Industrial Collective Research program (IGF) commenced in 2015. This was a research project involving 10 institutes and university chairs that was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The aim of the project was to find ways of making car powertrains even lighter by means of new steel materials, part designs and production methods, while nevertheless fulfilling stringent service life requirements. After more than three years of intensive research work, the results of the IGF Research Network “Lightweight Forging” were presented on 11 October 2018 at the Research Association for Steel Application (Forschungsvereinigung Stahlanwendung e. V. – FOSTA) in Düsseldorf. Participants at the one-day closing event included the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen “Otto von Guericke” e.V. – AiF), Cologne, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi), Berlin, representatives from industry and science, and the research associations involved.

Chairmen of the Initiative

Dr. Hans-Willi Raedt (Chairman for the forging partners, Vice President Advanced Engineering, Hirschvogel Automotive Group, Denklingen):
"High-tech companies across the world are demonstrating the ways in which forging can contribute to lightweight design."

Dr. Thomas Wurm (Chairman for the steel partners, Head of Technical Customer Support and Application Development at Georgsmarienhütte GmbH):
"We develop modern, high-strength steels for processes and products that offer cost-efficient lightweight design solutions for fulfilling future requirements in terms of performance, driving dynamics and the environment."


Dr.-Ing. Hans-Willi Raedt
Dr.-Ing. Hans-Willi Raedt
Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wurm
Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wurm