Lightweighting the Vehicles of Tomorrow

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In recent years, sustainability and the use of alternative materials have been major topics of not only discussion but also action across the automotive industry as carmakers and manufacturers explore new ways to increase fuel efficiency and decrease CO2 emissions in vehicles.

The driving force behind the quest for better fuel economy and emissions economy is known in the auto industry as lightweighting, which refers to the concept of building cars and trucks using lightweight materials and parts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using lightweight components and high-efficiency engines enabled by advanced materials in one quarter of the U.S. fleet could save more than 5 billion gallons of fuel annually by 2030.

To learn more, we went to Darius Preisler, vice president of research and development at JVIS, for insights on lightweighting and how JVIS is helping automakers design and build the lighter, more efficient vehicles of tomorrow.

What exactly is lightweighting?  

Preisler: Lightweighting is incorporating advanced, lightweight materials in the production of vehicles and parts to improve fuel economy and performance and lower emissions while maintaining safety. Essentially, it is finding a solution to a product that enables it to meet a customer’s specifications and yet be lighter in weight than the original design.

What are JVIS’ lightweighting capabilities?

Preisler: At JVIS, we specialize in lightweight load floor technology, adding components in the injection molding material for lightweighting, and gas assist molding.

What products does JVIS create that involves lightweighting?    

Preisler: Some of the products we develop include load floors, airbag covers, marine decking, automotive compartments and UTV vehicle products like the Polaris Cargo Box.

What types of machinery does it require, what’s the length of the process?

Preisler: For load floors, we heat the load floor material in an oven then transfer heated material to a compression press. From there, we cycle the press, remove the formed material, trim the load floor with a robotic waterjet and add secondary components. We then inspect the load floor and add labels before shipping.

What makes JVIS unique? How does its processes and program support for lightweighting demonstrate the company’s commitment to quality?  

Preisler: What sets JVIS apart is our ability to “solve” a customer’s request for innovative ways to either use alternative lightweight materials or redesign the product and still meet or exceed the customer’s requirement standards. Our commitment to quality is utilized in our PDT meetings, where all divisions of the company are tasked with different assignments, knowing we will be responsible for the finished product.

In what ways does lightweighting connect to the growing EV market?  

Preisler: JVIS engages with numerous electric vehicle companies, so lightweighting is a dominant part of our work. JVIS has introduced various products to the EV OEMs that can not only reduce weight up to 40% over the current product but also reduce costs.

In addition to EVs, have there been any advancements in technology and manufacturing when it comes to lightweighting?  

Preisler: Absolutely. One customer example is a non-automotive off-road vehicle customer where we were able to substitute a large, compression molded part into their design, which resulted in lower weight and lower cost while still meeting the customer’s precise requirements.

How do these innovations contribute to a more sustainable future?  

Preisler: More and more of the emphasis across the automotive industry is on weight savings, since accelerating a lighter object uses less energy than a heavy one. At JVIS, we take a comprehensive “art to part” approach to product development, implementation and production, which allows us to develop products incorporating alternative and more sustainable materials that not only reduce the overall weight of a vehicle but also its fuel consumption and emissions.Learn more about JVIS’ industrial design and vertically integrated solutions atjvis.us.