Lightweight construction is one of the megatrends in the automotive industry. Driven by progressively stricter requirements to reduce CO2 emissions, the use of new, lighter materials is becoming increasingly important. As an innovation leader in the field of hinge systems, Edscha is also making progress here and has independently developed a rear lid hinge made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic, CFRP for short, and brought it to mass production maturity. CFRP is a high-tech material and is used particular because of its low weight and high strength. By using fiber-reinforced plastics, Edscha has succeeded in reducing the component weight by 56 percent without restricting the mechanical requirements of the hinge.
In the course of the turnaround in mobility and increasing electromobility, hardly any automobile manufacturer will be able to do without lightweight construction in the future. The additional weight of the heavy accumulators in today's electric cars must be compensated among other things by more expensive lightweight construction of body components. So far, CFRP has been used very sparingly in automobiles for cost reasons. Unlike other industries such as aerospace.
There are clear industry differences with regard to the tolerable additional costs for lightweight construction. In the automotive industry, lightweight construction costs of 5 euros per kilogram mass reduced in the past. In railway vehicle construction, it was 50 euros. The aerospace industry, on the other hand, achieved feasible lightweight construction costs of 500 euros per kilo saved in widebody aircrafts. Not to mention space travel, where 5,000 euros could be spent for every kilo saved. [Kopp2011]
In view of the threat of CO2 fines the use of CFRP in electric vehicles and vehicles with internal combustion engines could soon have a neutral impact on costs. Already in 2010, the study "Lightweight construction in electric vehicles" of RWTH Aachen University came to the conclusion that a weight reduction of one kilogram could save about ten euros in battery costs.
To manufacture the rear lid hinge made of CFRP, Edscha uses the well-known thermoforming process in plastics processing. In this case, a fiber-reinforced plastic, which is embedded in a thermoplastic matrix,
reshaped. The manufacturing process has gradually been so innovated that today Edscha is able to produce large series. In addition, Edscha generates a high level of added value and quality assurance with its great vertical integration. Another application is the sandwich construction, in which CFRP is combined with cost-effective materials such as glass fiber reinforced (GRP) or aramid fiber reinforced plastics (AFK).
Source: [Kopp2011] Kopp, Gu.; Burkardt, N.; Majic, N.: Part 1, Chapter 3: Leichtbaustrategien und Bauweisen, in: Henning, F. (Hrsg.); Moeller, E. (Hrsg.): Handbuch Leichtbau, Munich, Hanser Verlag, 2011