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Expert Design at Automoteam GmbH: Joining technologies for hybrid metal foams and hybrid materials

bigHead fasteners
Open for multifunctionality and new designs

Illerrieden, 26 September 2019. As part of the Bossard Assembly Technology Expert Service "Expert Design", KVT-Fastening put a selection of modern joining technologies for lightweight materials to the test at Stuttgart-based Automoteam GmbH: The tests included ecosyn-BCT blind rivet nuts, the MultiMaterial-Welding process based on ultrasonic energy, bigHead fasteners and bigHead LeanBonding in workpieces made of open-pore aluminium gravity die casting (OPENPORE Aluminium) and with innovative, multifunctional, microstructured and activated surfaces (METAKER Surface). The result fully convinced Eugen Pfeifer, CEO of Automoteam GmbH: "The special material and surface structures developed by us offer many advantages compared to conventional materials. With the modern joining technologies from KVT-Fastening, we can now adapt them even more flexibly to the respective requirements. This offers us more possibilities in the development of novel hybrid parts with more flexible structural and multifunctional properties".

Christian Busch, Business Development KVT-Fastening Deutschland GmbH, is also very pleased with the test results: "We assumed in advance that our experience with the use of joining technologies in fibre composites, sandwich panels and lightweight materials with foamed, porous and honeycomb core materials could be transferred to a large extent. However, the consistently positive result also surprised us, especially as we had not yet implemented any applications with open-pored aluminium or METAKER surfaces.".

bigHead fastener: firm hold thanks to flow-optimized pore topology
With bigHead fasteners, high forces can be transferred by gluing without pre-drilling and while retaining the positive material properties - even with thin wall thicknesses. This is because the base plate (head) guides all loads evenly into the component. The system is therefore well suited for workpieces made of open-pored cast aluminum, as the adhesive can flow deep into the component due to the flow-optimized pore topology and produces an optimal "claw" after curing.

bigHead-LeanBonding: fast resilience on METAKER surfaces
Automoteam has developed the "METAKER" process to optimise the surface properties of aluminium components. This process transfers the structural properties of porous aluminium to the micro range. This allows bigHead-LeanBonding technology to be used as an alternative to welding studs, which from an optical point of view offer disadvantages, especially for thin metal thicknesses. A pre-applied adhesive film with cross-linking potential and structural adhesive properties is activated within seconds on the fastening element. This then forms a strong bond with the functionalized, microstructured, microporous and activated METAKER surface, which can be loaded after a short curing time.

ecosyn-BCT blind rivet nut: process-reliable and load-bearing hold
The ecosyn blind rivet nut technology developed for plastics and lightweight materials, among others, is also convincing in open-pored aluminium structures. Due to the targeted design of the fastening element, a defined bead formation without perforation in the carrier material is achieved. This ensures both a secure fit of the thread system and an ideal tolerance compensation. Even thin-walled areas and hollow structures can be used for load-bearing fastening points. In addition, only one-sided accessibility is required for assembly.

MultiMaterial-Welding: anchored to the workpiece in seconds
The MultiMaterial-Welding (MM-W) platform is another innovative method for functionalizing and bonding open-pored aluminum castings. The ultrasonic energy-based process is based on the microform-fit connection of components/fastening elements with thermoplastic properties and porous carrier materials. The open-pored aluminium structure offers ideal basic conditions for the stress-free and deep flow of the only partially liquefied plastic components. Within one second, the polymer component is firmly anchored in the pore casting. The ultrasonic energy input is not only fast and precise, but also purely via the Z-axis. This means that the MM-W process is not limited to rotationally symmetrical geometries. Plastic workpieces can also be used as joining partners, making it an ideal system for hybrid multi-material designs.

Background information about AUTOMOTEAM
AUTOMOTEAM is a technology-oriented research and development company. It develops highly innovative series applications with a focus on multifunctional material hybrids with previously unknown properties and potentials in weight, functionality, energy efficiency, aesthetics, resource consumption, environmental friendliness and economy. State-of-the-art technologies such as METAKER® Surface or OPENPORE Light Metals are changing the perception of the design, functional and economic potential of light metals and light metal-based hybrid parts. The new technological ecosystem METAHYBRID makes it possible to combine the materials of conventional and modern material classes with modified material properties to form a unique material system. Not only material hybrids, but also higher-level hybrids of material hybrids (metahybrids) become possible.

Background information on the Bossard ATE services
The six Bossard Assembly Technology Expert Services presented for the first time at the Hanover Fair are aimed at realizing the ideal connection solution and a competitive product for the customer after an analysis of the actual state via improvements in the product design and assembly process.