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Thinking Award Recognizes Lightweight Construction Ideas

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Thinking Award Recognizes Lightweight Construction Ideas
Thinking Award Recognizes Lightweight Construction Ideas

Video: Thinking Award Recognizes Lightweight Construction Ideas

Video: Thinking Award Recognizes Lightweight Construction Ideas
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Resource protection, global warming, CO 2 reduction - the challenges are there, but so are the solutions. This is shown by the winners of the Thinking Award, which the State Agency for Lightweight Construction Baden-Württemberg presented

“Saving weight is always worthwhile. Because in addition to unnecessary kilos, you save valuable raw materials in the manufacture of products. And a lighter airplane or car uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions,”said Dr. Wolfgang Seeliger, managing director of the state agency, at the beginning of the award ceremony. In this way, lightweight construction can make a very significant contribution to climate protection.

That is the Thinking Award

Once a month, Leichtbau BW presents the "Thinking" label, a lightweight solution from companies and research institutions in Baden-Württemberg. A jury of experts scrutinized all the entries from 2019 for the award and identified the top three lightweight innovations. There was also an online voting for the Community Award, where you could vote for a lightweight solution.

Further information

Picture gallery

Picture gallery with 16 pictures

Electric motor becomes 80% lighter

First place at the Thinking Award 2020 went to Rainer & Oliver Puls GmbH, a graduate engineer from Karlsruhe. The company has developed an electric motor for commercial vehicles that, thanks to its lightweight construction, is 80% lighter than conventional drives with the same performance. This was made possible above all by the lightweight construction principle of so-called function integration: the motor and planetary gear are located in one housing, which means that two functions are now combined in one component.

Lightweight principle of functional integration

In the electric drive developed by Rainer & Oliver Puls, engineers, the motor and planetary gear are housed in one housing. This is designed as a stable component and can therefore also absorb forces that affect the wheels and axles from the road. The motor and transmission unit can, for example, be integrated directly into a rigid axle as a component that transmits forces, bending and torque and does not need any additional parts for fastening to the chassis.


At a glance:

  • approx. 80% lighter than engines with comparable performance: more payload possible, lower consumption
  • the electric motor is smaller - more space for battery packages - longer range
  • two individually controllable motors and planetary gears are seated in a housing as a load-bearing component - fewer built-in parts
  • more freedom for construction, eg optimized positioning of the battery packages in the vehicle floor
  • Lightweight truck frame in second place

    Second place went to Edag Engineering GmbH from Sindelfingen, who uses the “Batterange” concept study to show what the chassis of tomorrow will look like: the lightweight truck frame is designed as a modular system and can be variably adapted to different drive concepts. “Batterange is a concept we believe in. We are particularly proud that we are honored for this in-house development, which we started without a customer order,”says Jochen Seifert, who is responsible for the commercial vehicle chassis development at Edag with his team.

    The commercial vehicle of tomorrow

    The lightweight truck frame of the Batterange from Edag has a modular structure and can be variably scaled to different drive concepts. The developers primarily had an eye on the possible payload and so weight gain should be largely compensated for by additional energy storage. In addition, the pre-assembly of individual elements can save costs.


    At a glance:

  • Modular and scalable "modular system" for chassis of heavy commercial vehicles
  • it may different powertrains are installed
  • Reduce costs with pre-assembled modules
  • More payload or greater range thanks to the light support structure
  • Vans: less weight, more payload

    Teamobility GmbH from Böblingen took third place with the Uccon. Compared to a normal small van with the same length, this has almost a third more cargo space and payload. “Conversely, this means that we could do without around a third of small vans, such as parcel delivery vehicles, in our cities if, as in the case of the Uccon, they can simply load more thanks to lightweight construction. The city would become car-free and more livable because we can give areas such as parking lots and streets back to people,”says Seeliger.

    The Uccon does it differently

    The drive sits compactly in the underbody of the vehicle between the axles. The stem is around a third shorter than that of conventional vans. The driver's seat is positioned much further forward. The Uccon has about 30 to 50% more usable space. The basic shape of the chassis is reminiscent of a boat hull and offers the best bending and torsional stiffness and good crash behavior with the least possible use of material.

    The fourth award was the Community Award, in which the winner was determined by online voting. The materials testing institute (MPA) at the University of Stuttgart was delighted to receive the award for their further development in so-called friction stir welding. This allows aluminum and steel sheets to be welded to one another with high strength. The resulting components can be used in car body construction, for example, and reduce the weight by around 10%. "Even if only a few people accepted the award on stage this evening, it is the award for great team work in the joining technology and additive manufacturing department, which is researching new and future-proof lightweight construction solutions," said Martin Werz from MPA.