Four years after its previous edition, the IZB reopened its doors as a rich mosaic of innovation and diversity of the automotive supplier industry on a global scale. In Hall 6 of the fair that took place again in Wolfsburg, AutoRevista was with Ignacio Martin, General Director of BIW at Gestamp, and Jochen Bals, Director of R&D Mechatronics at Edscha, who detailed the main innovations presented at the event.
In Gestamp's BIW division, the concept of Extreme Size Parts stood out, a new generation of bodywork parts that integrate multiple functions as single-piece solutions in Giga-Stamping. Ignacio Martín, general director of BIW at Gestamp, explains: “This new family of products offers a unique combination of greater safety in the event of a collision, light weight, lower costs and CO2 reduction in a single product. This hot-formed steel solution with different material properties and thickness combinations enables our OEM customers to offer a significant reduction in assembly cycle time.” They also "represent a return to a greater use of steel taking advantage of existing facilities, with qualities even of 2,000 megapascals".
Extreme Size Parts, manufactured in hot stamping and in different thicknesses and resistances of steel are combined.
From the Spanish multinational automotive supplier, they maintain that the Extreme Size Parts, manufactured in hot stamping and in different thicknesses and resistances of steel are combined, represent an optimal solution for the design of new electric vehicles. These large parts, "whose production hasn't been possible until now", points out Martín, make it possible to deal to a great extent with safety in the event of a collision in the vehicle body and, therefore, reduce the complexity of the battery box.
Gestamp also develops safer and lighter pure electric vehicle (BEV) solutions, specifically designed for urban mobility. This is how it showed at IZB, for the first time, a multi-material battery box made of FRP fiber-reinforced plastic (100% reusable and circularly recyclable) and aluminium. This innovative product can represent a solution for small electric vehicles and point the way to the future of mobility. Martín highlighted the “use of a fireproof coating that can withstand 200 degrees for ten minutes. In 2023, we will launch a new catalog of what we call energy containers to house batteries towards a trend of smaller boxes”.
Ignacio Martin, General Director of BIW at Gestamp, highlighted the “use of a fireproof coating that can withstand 200 degrees for ten minutes.
With classic battery box developments and now with new cell-to-body concepts, Gestamp uses clever ideas to achieve a significant reduction in the overall weight of electric vehicles while ensuring a high level of safety. Martín commented to AutoRevista that the characteristics of the bodywork of EVs present notable differences with respect to those used in combustion vehicles in terms of weight reduction and safety.
Gestamp presented some novelties as an expansion of its portfolio of products and technologies to be prepared for the mobility requirements of tomorrow. This includes engineering products and related technologies such as Multistep, an optimization of Al-Si (aluminum-silicon) coated hot stamping, BKT (Bending Kinematic Technology) laser technology, as well as an insight into its aluminum competences. The use and combination of different manufacturing and joining technologies from the company's broad portfolio offer various technical solutions.
Ulf Sudowe, general manager of Chassis R&D at Gestamp, explains "the front and rear axles are complex and load-bearing components that are located in the lower part of the vehicle. They carry the motor connection and are subjected to large loads and forces, while at the same time playing an important role in vehicle safety.” That is why it is so important to develop different ideas and solutions for modern and future-oriented components that meet current and future requirements for electric mobility on the chassis.”
Gestamp offers fully validated chassis components, from research into advanced technologies, first concepts through design and development, prototyping to complex component testing. Fully integrated production processes at the concept stage include flexible platform solutions for different vehicle powertrains (electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and internal combustion engines), with optimum performance and safety requirements that meet the minimum weight and the lowest CO2 impact possible.
The introduction of so-called "Hyper Tubes" (Highperformance Tubes: high strength complex phase steel tubes) in the development of rear axle carriers has resulted in an improvement, especially in electric vehicles, by increasing crash performance while reducing weight. Gestamp Chassis follows an integrated design and manufacturing approach, which is based on a constant search for continuous improvement and design optimization. To support this approach, Gestamp uses internal material curves for steel, aluminum and hybrid material combinations, as well as internal software to optimize the welding sequence (Ges-OPTIC) to improve dimensional accuracy, robustness and increase safety of the vehicle and his occupants. That is why they deliver virtual solutions based on technical expertise.
Power Door and Active Frunk
For its part, Edscha, Gestamp's Mechanisms Business Unit, presents to the public for the first time at the IZB the second generation of its Power Door. What is new is not only the actuator, which is now located in the door check area. In fact, Edscha offers a comprehensive system around the Power Door, including smart sensor technology that detects obstacles near the door and can stop the door in time before a collision. Edscha also supplies the control unit (ECU). It is used to control the actuator by means of specially developed software and is the link to the vehicle's environment monitoring system, which also detects static and dynamic obstacles such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Jochen Bals, Director of R&D Mechatronics at Edscha: "Power Door is an ideal solution to facilitate the movement of the doors for the elderly, children or people with some type of physical disability.”
As with the first generation of Power Door, which equipped a model of the Rolls Royce firm, the company put into series production in 2021, Jochen Bals, Edscha's Director of R&D Mechatronics, explained to AutoRevista, "the second generation also has a so-called servo function. This means that even heavy doors can be moved manually with virtually no effort (regardless of what position the car is in). The power door also includes an infinite door check system, meaning it has no stop notches, but it holds the door firmly in place in any position. It is an ideal solution to facilitate the movement of the doors for the elderly, children or people with some type of physical disability.”
On the other hand, Bals explained, “the Active Frunk combines an actuator for the fully automatic opening and closing of the front hood with a hinge for the active protection of pedestrians. Due to the smart combination of hinge and power systems patents have been filed for these solutions. In the area of sliding doors, Edscha develops customized solutions for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. In addition to the lower, middle and upper roller, the focus on rails develops, among other things, a multi-part rail in which aluminum and plastic components can be used. The advantages of this new concept are obvious: lower weight, lower costs, lower tolerances and faster processes.
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