Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Multi-material Design is the key to Future Lightweight CAFE-compliant Vehicles, According to Fraunhofer ICT’s Frank Henning

November 5, 2012

TROY, Michigan, November 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

Commenting on the CAFE standards that impose the 54.5 MPG rule on automakers to comply
by 2025, Dr. Frank Henning gives an exclusive preview of his Keynote Speech at the
Lightweighting AutoPlastics 2012 Conference in an interview with PlasticsToday. Dr.
Henning also makes recommendations for technologies that U.S. car manufacturers can adopt
quickly to achieve large-scale manufacturing of composite components and catch up with
their European counterparts. The conference takes place on November 14 – 15, 2012 at
Altair HQ in Troy, Michigan USA. For more information, visit


In an exclusive interview preceding the Lightweighting AutoPlastics 2012 Conference
[http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com ], Dr. Frank Henning shares his views on the
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and discusses some of the polymer
composite technologies that could be utilized to achieve the light weight goals. He is
convinced that the pressure North America’s car manufacturers are facing to build more
efficient vehicles will force them to catch up and adopt many technologies that are
already utilized in Europe today. “We will see highly automated composite manufacturing
technologies in both of these markets,” Henning said.

Q. Is the dramatic increase in CAFE standards (54.5MPG) by the U.S. government
feasible? How does this compare to the EU?

A. From a pure technology standpoint – Yes, it is feasible. But nothing is feasible
from today to tomorrow. Besides long enough time for realization, a strategy for
technology development and funding for it is required. Technologies must be enabled and
adapted for North America’s car manufacturing industry – the automotive industry needs
economically feasible technologies.

Q. Can lightweighting be accomplished without compromising safety? Why or why not?

A. Absolutely – Composites are very suitable for crash performance- if designed and
allocated in a suitable way- as it can be seen in Formula One or motorsport in general at
its extreme. We will need a different approach for vehicles on the road. Adequate material
selection and component design with respect to composite materials is the answer to this

Q. Can lighter cars co-exist safely on roads and highways with heavier, legacy

A. Obviously there is a physical boundary which we have to life with. We have to
manage energy with deformation as well in order not to bounce back the lighter cars too
much. Acceleration of the human body in the car is crucial as well as the vehicle movement
in general. When a car hits a truck we can see the interaction between the vehicles – the
weight of the fleet must come down in general.

To download the rest of the interview, click here
[http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com ] or visit


Dr. Henning will deliver a Keynote Address titled “Large-scale manufacturing of
automotive composites – Technologies and trends” on Day Two of the Lightweighting
AutoPlastics 2012 Conference [http://www.lightweightautoplastics.com ], November 15, 2012
in Troy, MI. Dr. Frank Henning is currently European Liaison for the SPE Composite
Division as well as a full professor for Lightweight Technologies at the Karlsruhe
Institute of Technology and the Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical
Technology. To learn more about the conference, visit


        For more information about this interview and about the conference, contact:
        Vu Nguyen

SOURCE UBM Conferences

Source: PR Newswire