2013 Lightweighting Special : MagnetiMarelli India eyes new opportunities

MagnetiMarelli India is exploring opportunities in lightweighting suspension arms, sub-frames and rear axles for the local market. Shobha Mathur reports.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 13 May 2013 Views icon4722 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
2013 Lightweighting Special : MagnetiMarelli India eyes new opportunities
2013 Lightweighting Special : MagnetiMarelli India eyes new opportunities MagnetiMarelli India is exploring opportunities in lightweighting suspension arms, sub-frames and rear axles for the local market. Shobha Mathur reports.

The component arm of Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, MagnetiMarelli India is exploring opportunities in lightweighting suspension arms, sub-frames and rear axles for the local market. In addition, it is also working on the application of high-resistance steel for reducing weight according to market availability of the material. Use of the material leads to weight reduction. Besides, the topological optimisation of the parts according to the requirements of the customers also leads to the same end result. Interestingly, in MagnetiMarelli’s product portfolio, most suited for lightweighting are suspension parts for which different technologies can be harnessed. For instance, ADI die casting saves 8kg on knuckles of light commercial vehicles. Aluminium components can lead to another 20-30 percent weight reduction, carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) can cut weight by 50 percent. Furthermore, variable thickness high strength steel can ensue in a weight saving of 15-20 percent in specific applications like twist beam axles.

In 2012, MagnetiMarelli developed the ADI Knuckle for the Fiat Ducato van. In addition a hybrid CFRP control arm was developed and tested on the bench. Now the project is underway, leveraging a hybrid glass fibre reinforced plastics design, in order to reduce costs further.

In powertrain components like the air intake manifold, the substitution of basic PA material with PP can cut weight by 15 percent and lower environmental impact. Usually the relevant challenges in lightweight initiatives accrue in terms of costs. The environmental impact has to be monitored by means of the Life Cycle Assessment approach. In a few cases like in the case of carbon fibre reinforced plastics, industrial issues may arise.

“Today, all the car makers are very sensitive about weight reduction due to the market demand for more environmental sustainable products. So we support the car makers with our knowledge to guarantee the best solutions available,” says SajuMookken, Country Manager India of MMI.

However, he does not agree that engineering plastics are the only cost effective solution and feels that steel has additional improvement opportunities. The substitution of steel with high performance plastics can be operated in a few cases, but not in general, he says.
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