Manufacturing News

Altair selects Jeep, Ferrari for award

An exotic sports car, a mud-splattering off-road vehicle and technical innovations were to have won recognition here Monday night for their weight-reduction achievements.

The products were chosen for the 2019 Enlighten Award from Altair, a suburban Detroit company specializing in product development software.

Altair tapped the Ferrari Portofino and Jeep Wrangler for dropping significant weight from the vehicles they replaced.

The Portofino, winner in the low-sales-volume category, weighs 176 pounds less than the Ferrari California. The aluminum-intensive car uses advanced design techniques to strengthen the body and cut weight.

The new version of the Wrangler, the award's high-sales-volume vehicle winner, also boasts major weight-saving components. Engineers lopped 202 pounds off the curb weight of the rugged off-road vehicle.

Altair cited Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' use of strategically applied lightweight materials that improved the vehicle without disrupting the automaker's manufacturing system.

German supplier ZF Friedrichshafen took the Enlighten Award for modules for its new knee airbag system. The product replaces a metal housing with one made of fabric, called the Global Baseline Module.

"The design can be tailored for all specific customer needs and markets to help meet global safety test requirements and standards," Altair said in a statement.

In the enabling-technologies category, Altair's Enlighten Award went to Material Sciences Corp.'s Smart Steel, a multilayer laminate that can replace low-carbon steel, and be stamped or spot- welded.

Smart Steel has two steel outer layers separated by a polymer core. It is roughly 35 percent less dense than regular steel.

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