Last week, the 15th Materialica Design and Technology Awards 2017 were presented at the eMove360 materials and electromobility trade fair in Munich. With its newly developed weldable sandwich, Outokumpu succeeded in convincing the top-class jury and were awarded this year’s prize in the “Material” category.
The weldable sandwich is the first directly weldable steel-polymer compound structure (sandwich) for car body manufacture. “The award confirms our continuous and innovative development in the field of high-performance materials and our customer proximity during the entire development process,“ says Stefan Lindner, the engineer responsible for the project at Outokumpu.
Despite their considerable lightweight construction potential, sandwich solutions have not been able to assert themselves up to now because they were not suitable for welding. With the weldable sandwich from Outokumpu, however, it is now possible to combine the constructive challenges of automotive construction – lightweight design, rigidity, acoustics, energy absorption, crash safety and deep-drawing capability – with a weldable solution.
No changes to the production process are required here: the weldable sandwich can run through the automotive production process just like a fine steel sheet. The sandwich distinguishes itself through 25% lightweight construction with a simultaneous 80% increase in flexural strength compared to solid materials with the same sheet thickness.
In this way, the weldable sandwich can make a decisive contribution towards fulfilling lightweight construction and CO2 emission goals, while providing a high level of safety and component rigidity at the same time. “The feedback at the fair is evidence of the many different application options our sandwich solution offers. Automotive construction, electromobility, architecture, rail and utility vehicle construction, acoustic and damping applications: thanks to its stiffness, our sandwich offers new possibilities of lightweight construction,” according to Lindner.
Dr. Gabriele Brückner, head of development at Outokumpu Deutschland: “We are very proud of this award. With the weldable sandwich, we have created a material with a completely new combination of properties and application advantages which have been honoured by a renowned jury of experts with the top award. This endorses our research work and inspires the entire Outokumpu R&D team”.