FutureCarProduction – Concepts for sustainable vehicle construction – An interview with Matthias Busse

Comprehensive solution approaches for the evaluation and development of integral body concepts

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft aims to identify trends and needs in the German industry in order to offer fast and forward-looking solutions. In this context, the Fraunhofer lead projects play an important role. Their aim is to quickly transform original scientific ideas into marketable products. The FutureCarProduction lead project has now been launched under the leadership of Fraunhofer IFAM.

What challenges is the project idea based on?

The automotive industry is facing a paradigm shift: More and more OEMs worldwide are turning to large castings made of aluminum, which replace many individual parts and joining processes in conventional construction and can potentially reduce the production time of a passenger car body from currently approx. 30 hours to 10 hours. However, the urgent need for CO2 reductions and measures to conserve resources in vehicle manufacturing raises the question of whether these approaches also align with sustainability targets for energy and material use, circular economy, repairability and structual integrity.

What are your expectations for the project?

FutureCarProduction provides the automotive and supplier industry with decision-making principles and methodologies for setting the strategic course for investments in new factories and production facilities. Proof of the sustainability of such decisions is becoming a decisive success factor for new car body concepts. Evaluation concepts are being developed that help to solve conflicting goals in the areas of ecological sustainability, technical performance and costs by integrating life cycle engineering methods and classical optimization approaches.

What in particular is Fraunhofer IFAM working on in the lead project?

TIn the FutureCarProduction lead project, eight Fraunhofer Institutes are working together to establish methods, processes, and technologies to systematically evaluate and ensure the technological sustainability of new car body concepts. Fraunhofer IFAM focuses on the development of integral large structures and their production technologies, and in particular on foundry technology and the integration of structures produced by forming, joining technology, repair concepts and aspects of energy and resource-optimized recycling management. The close cooperation and coordination of the diverse areas of expertise of all participating institutes is the key to the successful handling of this challenging and strategically important lead project of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.