The car of the future has to tick a lot of boxes: It has to be more environmentally friendly, more economical, safer, more comfortable – that is, more efficient all around – and on top of that, it has to look good. It also has to be reasonably priced.
After three years of development work, the large-scale ThyssenKrupp InCar® plus development project now offers an array of solutions. The first road shows are set to take place in October. Here, experts will present European customers with over 40 new concepts related to the powertrain, chassis and steering, and body technology. The key word is efficiency, and whether it comes to cost, weight, energy, or performance, all of these solutions represent some significant improvement over the industry standard.
The entire automotive expertise of the ThyssenKrupp Group
The InCar® plus project incorporates all of the automotive knowledge in the ThyssenKrupp Group. Engineers from the business areas Components Technology, Industrial Solutions, and Steel Europe all brought their expertise to bear in the initiative. “This project is a testament to our ability to combine different specialist areas and their expertise,” says the group’s CEO Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger. “Research and development are the heart of our company.” The automotive industry represents one the company’s most important customer groups. Nearly a quarter of ThyssenKrupp’s sales are generated in this sector.
Customers no longer have to conduct their own tests
The results of InCar® plus are finally in: innovations and technological solutions that have been tried and tested throughout the entire value chain. This includes all forming and processing steps involved in the material production, the construction of tools and prototypes, and system assembly for mass production.
“Our customers see this comprehensive testing and verification of newly developed solutions as a real advantage,” says Dr. Heribert Fischer, Director of Sales & Innovation at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. “This makes the process of integrating our modules and components in production operations run as smoothly as possible. To do this, we did a lot of this work in advance and conducted an array of tests.” This provides the customer with a critical advantage in terms of time and cost.
New solutions for three areas
In concrete terms, InCar® plus concentrates on three areas: powertrain, chassis and steering, and body.
Drive: For a powertrain that relies on a combustion engine, the goal is to reduce fuel consumption. “For example, it may be possible to use the innovative valve train technology that we have developed to achieve this goal,” says Subproject Manager Claudius Rath. High-efficiency electric motors are the focus in the area of e-mobility.
Steering: The chassis and steering subproject aims to increase driving safety and comfort. “In addition to developing a fast-switching electrical damping system, we have also introduced a new generation of electrical steering systems,” says Subproject Manager Rainer Pudeg. This enables the use of driving assistance systems such as automatic parking or lane assist. Another key element is to combine steel with carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers or aluminum in components such as shock absorber tubes, steering shafts, and steering columns.
Body: Work on the car body is primarily dedicated to economic lightweight construction. “By using new types of steel, innovative sandwich products, and novel processing procedures, we have been able to meet the increasingly strict demands of our customers for highly functional, cost-effective lightweight construction solutions,” says Subproject Manager Markus Zörnack.
Visible surface components such as hoods and doors have also been improved as part of the InCar® plus project. Modern products such as the LITECOR® steel/polymer composite allowed the team to maintain the bending stiffness and dent resistance of the components – all at an attractive lightweight construction price. Two new highly effective corrosion-protection coatings, zinc-magnesium ZM EcoProtect® and ZM PrimeProtect®, were used for the visible outer skin of the body.
“InCar® plus offers excellent solutions for the car of the future,” beams Fischer, Director of Innovation. “Our customers will be very excited about these developments, and the project will generate additional opportunities to implement these innovations and engage in new development projects with partners.”
For more information on InCar® plus, visit http://incarplus.thyssenkrupp.com.