The FINANCIAL -- Altair together with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) has announced Ford Motor Company as the winner of the 3rd annual Altair Enlighten Award for its use of various lightweight materials to minimize weight of the 2015 Ford F-150. The award was presented today during the 2015 CAR Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Mich. The Enlighten Award is the automotive industry’s first award program created specifically to acknowledge innovation in vehicle weight reduction.
Ford’s entry, one of 17 nominations that competed for the award, was selected as the winner for taking 700 pounds (318 kg) off of the Ford F-150 while improving its performance, safety, and efficiency. Ford engineers took a holistic approach to weight reduction by incorporating advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including the frame, body, powertrain, battery and interior features such as the seats. The weight savings help the truck tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and it contributes to fuel efficiency, according to the Ford Motor Company.
High-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys were used throughout the F-150 for the first time, saving approximately 400 pounds (181 kg) from the vehicle’s body. Ford’s engineering, research and manufacturing teams overcame the challenge of shifting from the traditional steel body to the advanced aluminum production. This is a noteworthy example of taking aluminum to a high volume application.
“As America’s truck leader, Ford is honored to be named the 2015 Altair Enlighten Award winner for the all-new Ford F-150,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer, Ford Motor Company. “This award is recognition of our outstanding team members, who set out to build the best truck ever for our customers.”
Additionally, Ford increased use of high-strength steel from 23 percent to 78 percent. By doing so, it increased the stiffness of the frame while reducing the weight by as much as 60 pounds (27 kg). The 2015 F-150 established a new standard for full-size pickups by bringing together improved capability and efficiency, along with cutting-edge smart vehicle technology.
“We are happy to congratulate Ford for winning the 2015 Altair Enlighten Award,” said Dave Mason, Vice President of Global Automotive at Altair. “It’s encouraging to see Ford implementing a holistic lightweighting strategy, which resulted in impressive weight savings that were incredibly significant to the judging panel.”
This year’s first runner-up is General Motors, who developed and used innovative computer-aided engineering (CAE) methods to achieve a 163 pounds (74 kg) weight reduction on the Alpha architecture of the 2012 Cadillac ATS/CTS. Immersive lattice topology optimization, strategic structural bulkhead placement, and multi-disciplinary loadcase optimization, were used, along with expert interpretation of the results, to lead the design of the architecture structure. The Alpha architecture’s delivers mass efficiency, stiffness, safety, structural feel, and has improved fuel economy without degrading on-road performance characteristics.
Second runner-up was awarded to Faurecia together with Automotive Performance Materials (APM). The NAFILean (Natural Fibers for Lean Injection Design) solution brought sustainable design to instrument panels, center consoles and door panels of the 2013 Peugeot 308 by integrating a natural, hemp-based fiber with polypropylene, which allows for complex shapes and architectures along with a weight savings of 20-25 percent.
“The Ford F-150, GM’s Cadillac ATS/CTS, and the Faurecia/APM solutions are terrific examples of how this industry is working extremely hard to find cost-effective lightweight solutions,” said judging chair Dr. Jay Baron, President and CEO of CAR and Director of CAR’s Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting Materials. “The Enlighten Award showcases successful mass reduction through a wide variety of solutions demonstrated by all of the 2015 nominations, and the award helps to both educate and recognize the contributions by these great companies.”
The Altair Enlighten Award is intended to honor the greatest achievements in weight savings each year; to inspire interest from industry, engineering, policymakers, educators, students and the public; to create further competition for new ideas in the industry; and to provide an incentive to share technological advances.