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9 August 2017

Why weight reduction is relevant to (almost) everything

Airplanes are obviously benefitting from weight reduction lightweight technology. The lighter the plane, the less fuel is required to get the plane of the ground and the less energy it costs to keep it in the air. However, aerospace is not the only industry that benefits from lightweight. Although maybe not so straight forward, but all industries benefit from lightweight. Let me explain down below.

Lightweight production lines can operate faster, a low weight robot-arm is able to be positioned more accurately and is easier to fine-tune. Light parts are easier and quicker to install or replace. In some cases this means that it is allowed to work without certain safety equipment or installation aids. And finally, cheaper components can be used to propel, move or position these light parts.

Another advantage is that it requires less material to manufacture lightweight parts, especially if 3D printing or additive manufacturing is used. During production this obviously is interesting, less material used equals less material related cost. Also during product end-of-life benefits are to be obtained. Corporate responsibility is getting ever more relevant so an increasing amount of businesses are embracing the circular economy, where products and materials are re-used instead of trashed. Recycling is energy and cost intensive, the less you have to recycle to cheaper it is to do so.

Weight reduction can be obtained in various ways. A stronger or lighter material can be used, complex and lightweight structures can be manufactured by using 3D printing or additive manufacturing. Another way is to use design methods like Topology Optimisation. With topology optimisation, you efficiently apply material only in those places where it contributes to the strength and stiffness of the part.

Gilbert Peters

I’m the founder and owner of Fransiscó. I have a passion for lightweight and high performance engineering. In this blogs you will find occasionally a write-up of things that keep me busy. I you want to know more about my background, please have a look here… 

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