Creating new things
Let’s look first at the development underway in the area of lightweight components, a division that only came into being two decades ago. Back then, ElringKlinger had just discovered that metal engine components could be replaced by lighter high-performance plastics. “Less weight, greater functionality, and greater scope in design” ran the short, snappy claim that summed up how the customer stood to benefit – successfully, as it turned out: the division is now responsible for over 20 percent of Group revenue.
And this figure is set to keep on rising, because the division has now launched its next major leap forward by industrializing innovative lightweight components in partnership with a premium German manufacturer: “With a unique technology, we combine the hydroforming of metal with plastic injection molding, enabling us to design complex customized geometries with ultra-small tolerances and impressive structural strength in the event of a crash,” explains Klaus Bendl, the head of the division. All of this adds value for the customer, who is thus able to integrate significantly more applications and achieve tangible reductions in weight – an extremely valuable option in order either to better comply with the stringent emissions regulations governing combustion engines or to increase the range of electric drives. “The main reason we can come up with innovations like this is the fact that, as well as our knowledge of materials and our process expertise, we also have the ability to develop highly sophisticated tools in-house,” says COO Theo Becker, underlining ElringKlinger’s strengths.
By combining organo sheets with plastic injection molding, the Group has in the meantime won a major order involving yet another method of this kind, this time producing door module carriers for a global manufacturer’s compact car.