Light­weight­ing in the Auto­mot­ive Industry — a Green Path of Development

Düs­sel­dorf, 19.10.2022

How is light­weight con­struc­tion devel­op­ing in the auto­mot­ive industry? The Weiqiao Group — in the con­text of a large-scale event “Lead­ing the way and cre­at­ing new per­spect­ives” in the Chinese province of Shan­dong — gave an insight into its pro­duc­tion and technology. 

The inter­view was con­duc­ted at the Weiqiao Light­weight Base in Zouping.

Presenter: I am cur­rently inside the Weiqiao Light­weight Base in the Zoup­ing Eco­nom­ic and Tech­no­lo­gic­al Devel­op­ment Zone. This facil­ity, fun­ded by Shan­dong Weiqiao Pion­eer­ing Group, which was both built and put into oper­a­tion in the same year, makes an import­ant con­tri­bu­tion to pro­mot­ing high-qual­ity devel­op­ment in Bin­zhou city. At the same time, it is also an import­ant pro­ject of Weiqiao Pion­eer­ing Group for envir­on­ment­al pro­tec­tion, green devel­op­ment, accel­er­at­ing mod­ern­isa­tion and act­ively pro­mot­ing indus­tri­al trans­form­a­tion. At the same time, it is also an import­ant pro­ject of Weiqiao Pion­eer­ing Group for envir­on­ment­al pro­tec­tion, green devel­op­ment, accel­er­at­ing mod­ern­isa­tion and act­ively pro­mot­ing indus­tri­al trans­form­a­tion. To get to know the Light­weight Base bet­ter, the head of the facil­ity, Mr Liu, will give us a brief intro­duc­tion. Good after­noon Mr Liu.

Gang Liu, Gen­er­al Man­ager of Shan­dong Weiqiao Light­weight Mater­i­als Ltd.: Good after­noon.

Presenter: Beside me I can see a whole car body. Was Weiqiao’s light­weight tech­no­logy used to pro­duce it?

Gang Liu: Yes, this is our alu­mini­um van body. It was assembled with screws and riv­ets, which gives it its sta­bil­ity and shape. It has a rel­at­ively high degree of rigid­ity and weighs only 156 kg.

Presenter: So, we have a light­er body, but what about envir­on­ment­al pro­tec­tion and safety?

Gang Liu: This vehicle has been tested sev­er­al times, sim­u­lated on the test bench and meets all nation­al safety stand­ards. By redu­cing its weight, the range of this elec­tric vehicle for instance is increased by 3–5%. With a pet­rol car, fuel con­sump­tion can thus be reduced by 0.6 litres per 100 kilo­metres and CO2 can be reduced by 1350 grams. Addi­tion­ally, we have alu­mini­um super­struc­tures and can achieve a recyc­ling rate of 95%.

Presenter: So this means that, whilst ensur­ing safety and sta­bil­ity, the weight of the car body and there­fore also its energy con­sump­tion is reduced.

Gang Liu: A per­fect combination.

Presenter: Shan­dong Weiqiao Light­weight Base is focused on the pro­duc­tion as well as research and devel­op­ment of light­weight vehicles and auto­mot­ive parts. Cur­rently, the com­pany is work­ing with numer­ous col­leges and uni­ver­sit­ies to build the largest and most advanced auto­mot­ive light­weight parts pro­duc­tion and research base in China. Com­ing up next, I will show you how such a light­weight alu­mini­um body is made at the Hong’ao Auto­mot­ive Light­weight Base pro­duc­tion facility.

Presenter: I am here in the vehicle body integ­ra­tion work­shop of Hong’ao Auto­mot­ive Light­weight Tech­no­logy Ltd. in Weiqiao Light­weight Base. So here we have one of the world’s lead­ing pro­duc­tion lines and we have the pleas­ure of wel­com­ing the company’s gen­er­al man­ager, Mr Jia, who is going to share its secrets with us. Good after­noon Mr Jia.

Zhengyu Jia, Gen­er­al Man­ager of Shan­dong Hong‘ao Auto­mot­ive Light­weight Tech­no­logy Ltd.: Our work­shop has an annu­al pro­duc­tion capa­city of 20,000 all-alu­mini­um body­shells and its auto­ma­tion level stands at 80%. Thus, the bal­ance level of the whole work­place can reach up to 90%, which can sig­ni­fic­antly reduce the work­load of our employ­ees. Also, as you can see, there are not many work­ers on the sides of the pro­duc­tion line. On aver­age, there is likely to be less than one work­er per sta­tion. We also fol­low a green envir­on­ment­al concept through­out our entire work­shop. Above this weld­ing sta­tion you can see a red cap, which is used to col­lect smoke and dust to pro­tect the health of the work­ers. In one of our pro­duc­tion lines, 70% of the weld­ing is done using the cold weld­ing tech­nique. It is also an envir­on­ment­al require­ment that we aim to use the cold weld­ing pro­cess in the pro­duc­tion of alu­mini­um vehicle bod­ies. One could say that our pro­duc­tion line is the only one of its kind in the whole country.

Presenter: How does it dif­fer from your pre­vi­ous technology?

Zhengyu Jia: With it, unlike our reg­u­lar weld­ing equip­ment, there is no light, no spat­ter and no dust. It will also sig­ni­fic­antly improve the qual­ity of our products.

Presenter: Thank you very much for the interview!

Source: Zoup­ing News, Septem­ber 12

About WEIQIAO Germany GmbH: WEIQIAO Germany GmbH is a European sub­si­di­ary and European headquar­ters of the Chinese Shan­dong Weiqiao Pion­eer­ing Group. The group includes three lis­ted com­pan­ies, two of which are lis­ted in Hong Kong, 12 domest­ic and over­seas pro­duc­tion sites and over 100,000 employ­ees world­wide. The group cov­ers the com­plete value chain of the tex­tile and alu­min­um industry.