Whenever there’s an opportunity to reduce the weight of a car or light-duty truck, it’s that reduced weight which moves us closer… “to [meeting] the 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards,” says Brain Fish, North American Automotive Marketing Manager at Dupont. An average goal set for passenger cars and light-duty trucks is 54.5 mpg by 2025. That makes lighter vehicles a top priority.
With a need to meet the 2025 CAFE standards, there’s a need to find material that creates lighter vehicles. Aluminum is high on the chart for reducing vehicle weight. One of the more common alloys used today comprises zinc, copper, and magnesium. Aluminum is one-third of what steel weighs, and it’s eighty percent recyclable.
The focus today is for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to develop multi-material vehicles to lighten the weight. Many assemblers find aluminum their favorite for doors, hoods, and tailgates; as a consequence, aluminum use will ultimately include more and more auto parts. Comparing aluminum with high-strength steel, aluminum produces greater weight savings by about fifty percent.
The matieral is malleable, low in density, and yields material strength, making it an asset when hydroforming. Together it creates complex and highly finished components. This increases the use of aluminum to subframe and crossmember, bumpers, body extrusions, and other body castings. And, as the demand for electric vehicles increases, so will the demand for aluminum increase. So much is about reducing the weight of vehicles and finding advanced ways of hydroforming.
FluidForming is a bladder-free hydroforming process that uses highly pressurized water, thus eliminating the use of hydraulic oil. During the FABTECH 2019, Light Metal Age [representative] spoke with Paul Benny, president of Fluid Forming Americas. Benny explained that FluidForming is a way of deforming ductile and malleable aluminum sheets or tubes into lightweight and durable parts or components. He further said that using pressurized water rather than hydraulic oil has several benefits such as lowering tooling and production cost, reducing production time, and eliminating environmentally harmful hydraulic fluid.