The demand for lightweight structures and weight reduction solutions from Electric Vehicles (EV) will increase significantly within the next 10 years. This is an encouraging development for foundries and aluminium casting businesses like Alucast.
Alucast, one of the founding members of the MAN Group was formed in 1967 and is based in the heart of the West Midlands, offering a single-source manufacturing solution for the supply of fully machined sand, gravity, high-pressure and low-pressure aluminium castings.
As a directive for the group, the electrification of vehicles is an area identified as one with exciting potential and Alucast are in a fantastic position to take advantage; everything Alucast do is part of an innovative approach to adding value to high integrity structural parts, including design direction at the earliest stage, developing bespoke tooling and finding solutions for requirements such as weight reduction. This is backed up with Magmasoft® casting simulation software which assists in the production of high integrity components.
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Lightweight aluminium cast components are becoming increasingly important as alternatives to steel, and the usage of primary aluminium will be significantly higher than we see in internal combustion engine vehicles today.
In fact, electric vehicles use 25-27% more aluminium than combustion engine cars. That’s approximately 160kg of aluminium per vehicle in internal combustion engines, so with an estimated 40 million EVs by 2030, that’s 8 million tonnes of aluminium demand.
The electrification of vehicles is creating new opportunities for foundries, but it is important for businesses to be invested in new technology and processes to truly supply the demands of the industry for weight reduction and alternative material solutions.
The increase in aluminium usage is in great part because of the light-weighting benefits of the material and it is clearly a driver in how cars of the future will counter the problem of the sheer weight of a battery (average electric cars have to move batteries weighing between 200-300 kilograms). Economic lightweight structures are becoming a key technology in automotive manufacturing.
Contemporary casting technology from the four main processes of sand, gravity and high and low pressure diecasting will be essential in meeting the extremely varied challenges of the emerging marketplace.
Demand for complex components and functional integration will intensify and new challenges in relation to optimised cooling of the vehicle’s battery for instance will require various casting techniques, the use of sand cores or the inclusion of tubes. As you’ve probably guessed, a large proportion of the aluminium demand will come from the housing requirements of the vehicle batteries, electric motors and power electronics but there is also a promising future market with the introduction of new drive concepts.
The drive technology for electric vehicles in the future will require a transmission and therefore, highly complex diecast aluminium components will be needed to complete fully integrated electric drive modules. Internal transmission parts, housing structures for electromobility applications, housing structures for power electronics, electric motor housings, energy recovery components and fuel cell stacks will all offer opportunities for foundries.
It is clear for businesses like Alucast that the opportunity for castings in major components of the electric motors, the powertrain and the body of electric vehicles is one they won’t let pass them by.
Accredited to ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949:2016, Alucast is an industry leading provider with a complete and bespoke service. Starting with expert advice and design to development, materials and tooling, Alucast’s innovative approach enables the supply of award-winning high integrity structural parts.
Alucast want to be part of the conversation on the future of transport and automotive manufacturing and are ready to start discussions on lightweight solutions for the electrification industry. The company offers prototyping through to volume production from their foundry facilities. This, together with the 5 axis CNC technology means that fully machined castings are delivered for trackside assembly at the customers’ plants.
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The Manufacturing Assembly Network is a collaboration of eight sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency.
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