New Automotive Manufacturing Process from Daimler Delivers Weight Saving
Daimler has developed a new manufacturing process for the series production of very light trim parts for motor vehicles. The so-called KIS technology (derived from the German for ‘consolidation in injection moulding tool’) combines intelligent compression- and injection-moulding processes to achieve weight reductions of up to 50 percent with suitable materials.
According to Daimler, no other economically viable series production technology offering higher weight-saving potential exists at present. This opens up the prospect of the process becoming the standard technology for interior trim parts in the space of a few years.
The process has been nominated for the 2013 Baden-Württemberg Umwelttechnikpreis (‘Environmental technology award’) in the “Material efficiency” category. This award has been presented since 2009 for environmental technologies and products from Baden-Württemberg which make a substantial contribution to the efficient use of resources and to the protection of the environment.
The KIS technology combines the advantages of compression- and injection-moulding processes: pressed components allow a marked reduction in weight, while injection-moulded components enable the incorporation of ribs to ensure the necessary stability and strength as well as opening up broad scope for shaping to enable the realisation of many different components. In the new manufacturing process, ribs and attachment points are injected directly onto the pressed carrier while it is still hot. The starting material for the carrier takes the form of hybrid bonded-fibre fabrics consisting of thermoplastic and reinforcing fibres. Use of the same material materials for the bonded-fibre fabric and the injection-moulding process results in an optimum bond. In this way, the KIS technology enables both simple functional integration and low wall thicknesses.
When the full scope of potential is exploited in the interior, weight savings of over five kilograms per vehicle are attainable with the KIS technology. This reduction in weight is accompanied by reduced material input. Consequently, reduction in CO2 emissions from the component manufacturing process are also attainable.
A further advantage is that the new components can be produced without any increase in costs in comparison to the injection-moulding process, due to the reduced material input and the use of suitable materials. In comparison to the compression moulding process, costs can even be reduced by up to ten percent. The first parts for pillar and door trims to be produced with the KIS technology will go into series production in one of the next Mercedes-Benz model lines.