At the start of 2022, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law rallied the automotive manufacturers in America on a path forward with a target for 50% of electric vehicle (EV) sale shares in the U.S. by 2030.
With this intensified shift towards EV production, OEMs are tasked with not only moving to a completely new powertrain, but also in modifying the vehicle body itself to incorporate it. Resource and capital demands continue to mount to support these changes and many automotive suppliers are also stepping up to meet this incoming industry surge. It is critical for suppliers to not only understand that the shift is taking place, but to also be capable of developing and engineering the next generation lightweight structures to enable it.
Meeting Market Demand with Shape’s World-class Engineering Power
Our engineering champions at Shape have recognized the opportunity to innovate alongside automotive OEMs. Early developments identify new ways to apply our expertise in crash management and body structures to address this shift. Shape’s experience, capabilities, and engineering power now proves to be essential more than ever before as we aim to meet our customers’ needs in these new areas.
Recently, one area of focus for Shape engineers is improving the vehicle rocker and sill structures. These components are great examples within an area of the vehicle body structure that is seeing a massive shift in the purpose they serve. In a BEV, they need to manage the competing crash requirements of absorbing energy in a side impact to shield the vehicle occupants while also now needing to ensure enough stiffness to protect the batteries used to power the vehicle.
Shape’s Multi-material Manufacturing Solutions:
Through a variety of manufacturing competencies performed by Shape’s expert team of professionals; our team can identify the perfect solution to fit the needs of our customers.
- Using the highest strength steel materials on the market today
- UHSSs at 1500MPa or higher
- Advanced 5000 and 6000 series aluminum grades
- Coupling these materials with complex geometries to
optimize energy absorption
- Use of advanced 6000 series alloys
- Complex multi-hollow sections
- Optimization using new topology and thickness mapping tools
Plastic Injection Molding & Composite Pultrusion
- Use of optimized materials to handle the required stiffnesses as well as the thermal and environmental challenges
- Combining plastics and metals to optimize lightweighting
- Orienting a complex design of tows and mats to put the material in an optimal state
These highly optimized solutions are continually being developed to exceed the deliverables of new challenges facing the automotive industry.
By utilizing some of the highest strength materials on the market including Ultra High Strength Steel (UHSS) and advanced 6000 series aluminum, Shape’s engineers ensure achievement of reducing mass without compromising performance. Our process competencies also achieve success against the challenges found within the industry by offering solutions that are long, complex, tight tolerance, and made with as little scrap as possible compared to competing technologies.
Shape has previously been awarded business through the development of a variety of different rocker inserts and assemblies that are currently being produced in both aluminum and steel. These projects have paved the way for numerous rocker programs with OEMs globally where our advanced engineering teams are working closely with them to assist in setting strategies for future vehicle programs.
As our industry continues this electrification journey towards a more sustainable future, our team at Shape is embracing the opportunity to further innovate and pioneer as a global supplier, bringing new products forward.