In 2009, a new EU regulation on emissions targets was passed which committed European vehicle manufacturers to cut average CO2 emissions from new cars to 130g/km by 2015 and about 95g/km by 2020. The average CO2 emissions of new cars sold in the UK in 2012 was 133.1g/km. Further, lower, targets are anticipated. Vehicle light-weighting has been identified as one of the most effective ways of addressing the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the transportation industry. The LightBlank consortium have identified a viable business opportunity focusing on the need to reduce weight and costs in the production of components formed from aluminium sheet panels.

The LightBlank project will develop and demonstrate manufacturing routes for aluminium friction stir tailor welded blanks for forming by HFQ. The components manufactured with this technology combination will be lighter and cheaper replacing currently used aluminium assemblies. It is estimated consolidation of parts, reduction in materials waste and high process efficiency will result in at least an 18% reduction in production costs. In addition this cost saving will come with vehicle weight reduction benefiting customers with improved fuel economy and redced environmental impact.

The LightBlank partners and wider transportation industry - both UK and global - will benefit from new cost effective manufacturing for aluminium panel components, ensuring optimal material usage and competitiveness, achieving:

  • Increased design freedom.
  • Reduction of unit manufacturing costs.
  • Reduced environmental impact during both manufacturing and service.
  • Creating a supply chain for FS-TWBs for forming by HFQ.
  • Reducing vehicle development cost (through reduced component cost).
  • Reduced transportation costs for citizens.