Adding Innovation and Value by Removing Material

25th September 2013 by David Mason

As lightweighting continues to be top of mind for the automotive industry, Altair set out to recognize the strides being made at all levels of the industry with the Altair Enlighten Award. In partnership with the Center for Automotive Research, we established the annual awards program to honor the greatest achievements in weight savings each year; to inspire interest from industry, engineering, policy-makers  educators, students and the public; to create further competition for new ideas in the industry; and to provide an incentive to share technological advances.

We were blown away by 10 impressive entries, which included optimized structures that ranged from a steering wheel and crankcase to an entire body-in-white. After turning the entries over to our esteemed judging panel, BASF Corporation was selected for the inaugural award, honored for its composite seat pan, manufactured for use in the OPEL Astra OPC model passenger car. Composite materials offer many advantages to car makers looking for weight savings but bring with them their own engineering and design challenges. BASF has shown that virtual simulation technology can help meet these challenges and deliver lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles.

The first-runner-up designation was shared this year by ArcelorMittal for its industry first hot stamped door ring (by Honda, ArcelorMittal and MAGNA – Cosma International) and Plasan for its carbon fibre roof (by Chrysler FIAT, Plasan Carbon Composites).


BASF give their thoughts on winning the 2013 award


The value of using optimization technology to design lightweight vehicle components was evident with each entry, demonstrating a culture of optimization that is beginning to emerge within the auto industry. Increasing use of optimization technology, and its subsequent successes as demonstrated through many of the Enlighten entries, is placing lightweight material removal (LMR) on equal ground with lightweight material substitution (LMS). A blended approach to lightweighting, encompassing both of these elements, will be the formula many automakers need to make progress toward the industry’s fuel economy goals.

We congratulate all of our finalists this year, as well as our two runners-up, ArcelorMittal and Plasan, and our inaugural recipient, BASF. The team is already excited for the 2014 awards program and can’t wait to see what the industry comes up with next.

Please continue to visit the Enlighten website for more information on next year’s Altair Enlighten Award. We’ll be sharing much more for interested future entrants in the coming months.

See the Enlighten Award winners and runners up here