Weight reduction and materials optimization are some of the key factors to improve the efficiency and the environmental impact within the automotive industry. Currently, more than 75% of the car components are made of metallic alloys. Casting technologies occupy a prominent place among the main manufacturing technologies for the industry, allowing to combine a near net shape and a high performance/manufacturing ratio.
But when it comes to some critical safety parts, such as breaks, these are usually oversized due to the application of maximum safety coefficients. Of course, this affects to the overall weight of the vehicle and to the amount of metal used in the design and manufacturing process of components.
As an innovative approach to this issue, the DigiMAT European project, led by VEIGALAN STUDIO 2010 S.L. and participated by IK4-AZTERLAN Research Centre and by the companies Sakthi Portugal and Continental Teves, aims to develop an innovative digital architecture that will render into a new generation of custom-made materials, named “digital materials”, based on data analysis, process information and communication technologies.
As explained by Argoitz Zabala, researcher from IK4-AZTERLAN, “our target in the DigiMAT Project is to create a Smart solution that will work with process and material data. These data will be stored in a digital architecture composed by a network of sensors, online destructive and non-destructive controls, model predictive controls and machine learning algorithms”.
The project will consist of carrying out the studies to create upgraded materials with the desired characteristics. Traditional manufacturing processes will join the advanced industry 4.0 technologies, that allow to acquire, store, process and analyse the most significant data and process parameters. Based on the results of this study, VEIGALAN STUDIO 2010, S.L. will develop a tailored software which will be joined to the Olimpo system (the Advanced Process Control System developed by Sakthi Portugal in continuous collaboration with IK4-AZTERLAN).
Developing and launching an innovative brake system based on digital materials
As assessed by consortium participants “digital materials can have a wide impact on industry and on society. Their potential application to any type of materials can render into significant global weight reduction and into more sustainable industrial processes.”
As a demonstrator, the DigiMAT project will focus on the development of a new brake system with improved anchor and housing components (two critical safety parts of any braking system) to be produced by the company Sakthi Portugal and validated at the test benches of the break system manufacturer Continental Teves.
“We aim to develop significantly lighter components with improved machinability characteristics”. To achieve that, this development will be based on customer needs and previous data analysis of the historical controls performed to the actual references manufactured by Continental Teves.
The project consortium foresees that the new solution developed will reach the 35% of the European iron foundry market and 10% of worldwide iron foundry market in the next 5 years.
The DigiMAT project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program EIC Fast Track to Innovation under the grant agreement No 830903.