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SuPLight - Sustainable and efficient Production of Light weight solutions

Final Report Summary - SUPLIGHT (SuPLight - Sustainable and efficient Production of Light weight solutions)

Executive Summary:
The majority of lightweight components are currently produced using virgin raw material. By using post-consumer, recycled material, the SuPLight project aims to provide technology to produce lightweight components that will help improve the sustainability of the transport industry. The production of virgin aluminium consumes a lot of energy, but the project is developing new industrial models for sustainable lightweight solutions. One of the project's key goals has been to design new alloys which can use up to 75 per cent or more recycled material. These new alloys have a slightly higher alloy element than virgin wrought alloys.

Many of the components used in the transport industry are currently produced using virgin raw material, or through closed-loop recycling within the production chain. By using post-consumer, recycled material, SuPLight aims to reduce the weight of these components. The mechanical properties of the product have to be on the same level as existing products that are based on virgin material, while the corrosion properties also need to be at the same level. Production efficiency is an issue here. Since more alloying elements is added it's harder to form the material – that reduces productivity, and some of the production processes currently used are not suitable.

SuPLight have developed new forming technologies to compensate for these types of issues, and while this may have an impact on the weight of the component, this is counteracted by its improved sustainability. The project is using a commercially available algorithm to assess the impact of new production methods throughout the full lifecycle of the component. The algorithm itself is based on commercially available tools, but its implementation and the way in which it's being used with the modelling tools has been developed in SuPlight. Researchers can use these tools to identify the specific impact of new production methods throughout the lifecycle of a product. The goal here is to be able to make corrective actions, preferably in the definition of the materials, products and processes to be used.

This reaches right back to the initial production methods. While virgin aluminum can be lightweight, it's also important to consider the energy used in its production. Test cases has been designed, where factors like energy consumption and carbon footprint have been calculated, based on established production processes. These test cases are used as reference points for what it is possible to achieve with new materials and technologies. This is an important element in the project's work in developing tools to calculate and simulate new processing and material routes for components, which may be central elements in transport safety systems.

A multi-disciplinary approach is required to provide this wide variety of information to system manufacturers. Three sets of simulation models are being developed within the project, calculating the impact of new products and technologies. SuPLight have developed a material model, which describes the developmental mechanical properties, given the chemistry and the heat treatment. The project has also developed a tolerance model, which calculates the geometrical tolerances, and how that may vary. The SuPLight product performance model is designed to help optimise the product's geometry, and an atomistic model, which is used to calculate the maximum impurity levels which can be allowed for a specific element. It is also developed lifecycle models, where we look at beginning of life, middle of life, and end of life calculations.

These components of course do not work in isolation, but as part of an overall transport solution. A framework for communication between software tools has been developed within the project, which brings important benefits such as automatised multi-objective simulations and optimisation.

Project Context and Objectives:
Lightweight component and solutions are increasingly important for a more sustainable world, and in this case wrought aluminium alloys have large potentials for dramatic weight reduction of structural parts within transportation. One obvious example is the automotive sector where light weight solutions will be a necessity, regardless of the choice of energy source and energy carriage.

There is, however, a need to increase the post-consumer recycling of wrought alloy aluminium, due to the high energy consumption for manufacturing of virgin aluminium. Accordingly, there is a need for a holistic sustainable Life Cycle Approach for the light weight solutions including materials, products and manufacturing processes. Furthermore, there is a need for dramatically increase post-consumer reuse and recycling, even for high-end light weight components. The project will develop new methods and business solutions to increase and facilitate the reuse and recycling for wrought alloy high-end light weight components. This includes holistic design methods for materials and processes with Performance Indicators and design criteria for sustainability. This includes knowledge databases, toolboxes and organizational models for sustainable manufacturing and material selection. The holistic models will grasp societal, ecological and economic sustainability.

SupLigth address new industrial models for sustainable lightweight solutions – with 75% recycling in high-end structural components for transportation. Advanced optimisation algorithms are used for optimisation of product performance/weight ratio, tolerances and material-properties. The project has a holistic view with a life cycle approach. These underlying ideas, which also are represented as RTD activities in the SuPLight, are summarized in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1 Overview of RTD in SuPLight.

Main objective of SupLigth: Sustainable lightweight industry solutions based on wrought alloy aluminium
Sub goals:
• Advanced lightweight products from low grade input re-used materials
• Optimization of product weigh/performance ratio trough advanced optimisation algorithms
• More than75 % post consumer recycled wrought aluminium alloys
• New methodologies and tools for holistic eco-design of products, processes and manufacturing
• New industry models for sustainable manufacturing of lightweight solutions
• Lightweight solutions in a closed-loop life cycle perspective

Reuse and recycling is a key issue for increasing the sustainability of light weight components, and there is a large potential for dramatically increase in material recycling. SuPLight aimed to demonstrate 75% or more post-consumer recycled materials for high-end aluminium products. This required new material and process knowledge on how to increase the usage of low grade input re-used materials in advanced light weight components. Better solutions and business networks for the recycling material flow where disassembly and sustainable inverse logistics had to be found. The ability to produce high per¬formance products based on lower grade recycled input materials is an important contribution for sustainability with positive effects both on economy and ecology. Lower grade materials demands more robust processes, enabling larger tolerances on parameters such as alloy chemical composition. To achieve this, quantitative models for the correlations between material quality, manufacturing processes and product performance was established. Those models are based on both new knowledge created in the project and adaptation of knowledge from other areas of research and other industries.
Knowledge based and product and process development for sustainable solutions
Knowledge based development of sustainable manufacturing processes and high performance products are another key element in SuPLight. The project has implemented usage of simulation and analysis of existing tools for holistic product-process weight/performance optimization through multiple FEM simulations with parameter optimisation algorithms. By running multiple FEM simulations on a large number of possible product designs, the optimisation algorithms will find a close to optimum weight/performance ratio to de given constrains. Moreover, SuPLight has developed design methods for effective concurrent eco-design of products and manufacturing process with a holistic view to the total lifecycle. Zero energy, zero waste, non-pollution manufacturing, transportation and use, should always be the ultimate goal and there are huge potentials within an optimized combination of technologies and knowledge throughout the life cycle. Optimal tolerance distribution is one of the keys for process path decisions, as well as minimisation of losses during use phase (such as gaps in a combustion engine).
Sustainable manufacturing with Holistic Life cycle Approach
There exists a plenty fold of tools, methods and methodologies for sustainable product development and manufacturing. Today, the main barriers to sustainable industrial development are not the lack of strategies, models and tools, but how to implement them and how to introduce them into existing practices whilst ideally improving competitiveness. The project has focused its work specifically on sustainability in manufacturing and development of light weight solutions. The project intended to find new use for existing of eco-design methods and sustainable product development methodologies, by focusing on the customization and implementation phase. The goal was to design of new eco-friendly materials, manufacturing activities and processes, as well as the related light weight products. Both new applications of existing advanced materials and the development of new materials are covered. Cleaner and greener activities involving trade-off conflicting objectives, namely costs, technical feasibility and environmental impacts are addressed by the proposed new methods.
SuPLight industry models
The emphasis is put on a novel transferable modelling canvas for sectorial industrial model generation in material-information intensive sectors. The project findings are in the fields of material science, material data and methods resp. criteria for e.g. eco-design and will form the capabilities “material”, “data” and “methods, criteria” of the SuPLight industry model. The modelling canvas extends these building blocks with generic process models (building block “processes”) that are capable to layout lean and low environmental impact structures. To validate developed principles and to demonstrate the sectorial impact to the European competitiveness an information platform has be setup. By means of this platform the market perspective for supply and sales market as well as the enabling network are integrated to the model to help the operating organisations in the chosen industrial sector to align their capacities and business solutions. Companies, especially SMEs are addressed to find their position in the value adding architecture of light weight recycled aluminium products and to demonstrate which changes will have to apply in the related sector. The platform provide the following elements:
(a) Description of new materials, design restrictions with new materials and requirements towards manufacturing processes (eco impact from new material use)
(b) Substance flow data, life cycle data, FEM models/guidelines
(c) Eco design criteria /toolkit
(d) Generic support to eco-efficient development and manufacturing processes
(e) Supporting external stakeholders to set-up individual supply chain related network (expert-, supplier-, consultancies-, partner- identification) and to identify market opportunities.

Project Results:
he summary of the main results of SuPLight are in the following divided into 4 main areas: New wrought aluminium alloys and processes based on post-consumer scarp, Simulation based optimisation of light weight solutions, Holistic life cycle approach, Sustainable industry models and SuPLight demonstrator.

1.3.1 New wrought aluminium alloys and processes based on post-consumer scarp

The activity within development of new aluminum wrought alloys and processes was aimed at providing the material data in order to support establishment of an aluminium technology based on scrap resources. The main focus was to find the solution for an increase in usage of low grade input re-used materials in advanced lightweight components. The starting point was a scenario, which assumed a wider tolerance in alloy chemical composition. This scenario requires a detailed study of consequences of variation in alloy chemical composition (both the alloying and the trace elements) on productivity and final product properties.
To reach the goal mentioned above, two sets of experimental trials were performed in parallel. The first one was focused on the alloy's recycling chemistry (Table 1) and its impact on productivity when the conventional production processing route i.e. forging value chain is in question. The second one was focused on simplifying of the conventional forging value chain in order to avoid potential challenges related to extrusion of the alloys of recycling chemistry. The emphasis was on concept development of fusion between casting and forging technologies. (Figure 2) Assessment of impact of the alloy's recycling chemistry on product properties is based on testing of the generic components produced through both processing routes.
The experimental data were applied in the following evaluation of the energy efficiency of production processes based on higher degree of re-used material and simplified production process. In addition, the technology feasibility regarding the environmental and economic impacts and availability of scrap was assessed.

Table 2 Model alloys
Model Alloy Si Fe Cu Mn Mg Cr Ti Zn Ca Li
Alloying elements beyond the standard AA6082 – Refer. 1.05 0.25 0.00 0.54 0.81 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.00
AA 6082+Si 3.73 0.23 0.00 0.58 0.84 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.00
AA 6082+Fe 1.03 0.66 0.00 0.51 0.82 0.13 0.01 0.02 0.00 0.00
AA 6082+Cu 1.02 0.25 0.91 0.51 0.75 0.12 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.00
AA 6082+Fe+Cu 1.02 0.65 0.88 0.51 0.79 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.00
Trace elements beyond the standard AA6082 – Refer. 0.98 0.15 0.00 0.43 0.69 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.00
AA6082 + Zn 0.92 0.16 0.00 0.40 0.75 0.13 0.02 1.1 0.00 0.00
AA6082 + Ca 1.06 0.16 0.00 0.49 0.64 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.08 0.00
AA6082 + Li 1.03 0.16 0.00 0.51 0.77 0.13 0.02 0.02 0.00 0.83


The main achievements are:
• Relative quantification of impact of the alloy's recycling chemistry on productivity
o Formability
Productivity in the forging value chain depends on the alloy formability. Maximum press force required for forming of an alloy, at elevated temperature, is 'synonym' for the alloy formability. This parameter shows how easy or how difficult is to extrude or to forge one alloy. Figure 3 illustrate formability of the SuPLight model alloys.

*Results based on Gleeble test at 520°C *Results based on experimental trial
Figure 3 Formability of the model alloys with contents of the alloying elements beyond the standard one, and Formability of the model alloys with the increased content of the trace elements



o Machinability
No major challenges were experienced during the machining tests performed on the model alloys with increased content of the alloying elements. Typical behaviors were confronted against principal milling and drilling processes that were put into practice. These conclusions are related to all generic components with regard to neither the model alloy nor the production processing route the components were produced in.
• Relative quantification of impact of the alloy's recycling chemistry on performances of the product produced through both the conventional and the simplified processing route.
In this regard, generic components in the standard AA 6082 alloy and in the model alloys of recycling chemistry were produced through both processing routes. Generic components were tested on:
- Static mechanical properties i.e. Yield strength (Rp0.2) Tensile strength (Rm), Elongation (A), and fracture strain (Figure 4 and Figure 5)
- Fatigue – number of cycles to failure; (Figure 6)
- Corrosion resistivity.

The conventional processing route generally gives products of better mechanical properties compared to those produced through the simplified processing route. Copper gave a considerable improvement in the tensile properties independent of processing route. Improvement in fatigue properties was especially significant. The most critical issue for the copper containing alloys is corrosion resistance. The alloy corrosion susceptibility increases with increasing copper content.

o Static mechanical properties

Figure 4 Mechanical properties of the model alloys with the content of alloying elements beyond the standard one


Figure 5 Mechanical properties of the model alloys with increased content of trace elements


o Fatigue

Figure 6 Lifetime of the generic component due to the alloy chemistry (DCCEF)

o Corrosion resistivity
Presence of silicon and copper in the quantity beyond the standard one makes the AA6082 alloy more prone to corrosion. Lithium affects the alloy corrosion resistance in the same way.
• Potential recycling level of wrought aluminium alloys in high performance products
It is found that the objective of using 75% scrap in the automotive component production is obtainable. All the considered scenarios gave savings in the environmental and economic impacts, but the magnitude of the potential saving varied a lot. As one would expect, the most preferred alternative would be to use a certain scrap source, for which the chemical composition is well known (e.g. a take-back system for the automotive component). However, the availability of this type of scrap is limited, and the purchase price of it is also quite high. Another good alternative would be to use the scrap output from sorted shredder scrap, but of course, this is limited by which scrap goes into the shredder and/or the sorting technology. A third alternative, which gives high reduction in the impacts, is the use of medium contaminated scrap, which is refined to the required level of purity by a combination of three-layer electrolysis and fluxing. The barrier for this alternative is a currently low use of this type of technology.

• Statistical analysis of the Material properties
The Analysis represents an example of how archive data mining can prove to be useful in this context. In this case, Raufoss Technology's archive data were analyzed. Data modeling and inference techniques applied during the subsequent statistical analysis contributed to establishment of correlation between the alloy's chemistry and product's mechanical properties and based on this, to provide comparative study of materials delivered by different suppliers.

1.3.2 Simulation based optimisation of light weight solutions
The goal for SuPLight simulation based optimisation of light weight solutions was to establish an open framework for simulation-based optimization – Multi step, multi scale and multi domain model simulation. The framework links several modules called plugins together in order to perform various simulation and optimization tasks on demand. Each plugin provide an individual piece of expert knowledge relevant to part of the engineering design process, including sustainability, social and business factors. The open framework is generic and supports distributed, secure computing within the TAS3 Trust-Platform (TAS3.eu). Plugins tailor the framework to domain-specific tasks, i.e. by integrating a diverse collection of expert knowledge covering all aspects of simulation-based optimization of light-weight products, in particular products based on recycled aluminium. The information required as inputs for the plugins varies considerably, from measurements and material properties for the more traditional FEM engineering plugins to more subjective evaluations and behaviors in the Ethical and Life cycle models.
Industry standard solutions for integration of computer aided design (CAD), finite element analysis/methods (FEA/FEM) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) are already used to address some aspects of light-weight products. However, when characteristics originating from large-scale life cycle analysis, environmental sustainability, industrial models and political boundary conditions are included, standard solutions for evaluating the multiple objectives have not been developed. In Figure 7, below, an integration and intercommunication framework is sketched.

Figure 7 The kernel with fields of expertise communicating through the Kernel. Inputs and outputs relating to the respective expertise are commonly defined to enable independent development/implementation of the calculation modules from the various fields of expert knowledge.


The main achievements are:
• SuPLigth Framework: Distributed computing through secure & privacy-preserving Trust Platform
The SuPLight framework is a web-based ICT system to deliver expert knowledge from many aspects of engineering, business and social policy in a single integrated service. Requirements and specification for the SuPLigth framework architecture, domain-specific extension modules, problem classes, and test criteria for the simulation-based optimization of lightweight solutions has been established. Process, interface and interoperability for common simulation environments were needed for, e.g. Abaqus, Forge3D, VASP, LS-Dyna, LS-OPT, Isight, modeFontier. Based on the different simulation and optimizations tasks within SuPLight the main simulation-scenarios were specified: Material modelling and alloy development, Computer-aided engineering, Process planning, manufacturing and quality control, Live-cycle analysis and recycling, and Industry models.

Expert models are to be implemented within plugins, and linked to together in different combinations to evaluate the engineering design of components at different levels. Plugins under development within the SuPLight system support, atomic modeling of trace elements, metallurgical properties, FEM analysis, LCA and LCC evaluation, Socio-ethical considerations, reverse logistics and business models. These different plugins provide evaluations at different stages of the product life cycle. The sequences of plugins that are most appropriate to lightweight manufacturing are to be evaluated by holistic life cycle approach and industry models which are considering the application scenarios for SuPLight. Thus, they will evaluate which sequences provide solutions to specific question from the customers and users.

Figure 8 The framework architecture and breakdown into three hierarchical levels.

A further breakdown on the framework is shown in Figure 8. The framework’s three hierarchic levels are defined as follows. The top level – Level 1 – represents the "User and Communication Interface" that enables the end user to interact with the lower functional system-level components and distributed, remote communication. The lowest Level 3 - "Framework Engine", is collecting and distributing inputs and outputs from the Level 2 "Expert Systems" that implements that the specific applications and in most cases interfaces that serve for interaction with the various expert and domain-specific modules and systems.

Level 3, as shown in Figure 2, is explicitly representing the various tools used with each field of expertise. In addition to the top level "User and Communication Interface" given at Level 1, there are user interfaces at Level 2 and 3, enabling a more precise access to computational implementations involved.

Level 2 identifies the selected fields of expertise included in the total framework. Therefore this Level 2 will be denoted as the “Expert System”. In Figure 2 the current status of the SuPLight characterisation is shown.

Level 1 of the "Framework Engine" incorporates the simulation, multi-objective optimisation and runtime controls that enable searches within the solution space, allowing the creation of a "multi axis solution space" for exploration of the tradeoffs between the different objectives included in light weight solutions based on recycled aluminium.

Technically, SuPLigth implements the distributed computing, communication and data management platform using state of the art user-interface and content-management systems, e.g. web services and established platforms as Drupal. Partner GUC with its long and deep security-technology focus and the backing of one former EC research projects, i.e. TAS3, is able to provide the desired cloud-native personal-data ecosystem including an end2end trust-assurance framework, user-controlled personal data as big data. Moreover, a routable, pluggable analytics framework is capable of offering composite-algorithm workflows to help solve any computational task.


• Material plugin: Simulations with advanced atomic-scale & material models

The Material Model Plug-in is partially based on material data provided in experiments performed within SuPLight. The plug-in is aimed for modeling the behavior of the aluminium wrought alloys depending on the chemical composition. This may be found as very beneficial when dealing with the question of development of new alloys or even more the question of aluminium alloys recycling.
Principally, plug-ins data base contains data about chemistry of both selected standard alloys and different model alloys and corresponding material mechanical properties. On request about mechanical properties of some target alloy (alloy chemistry provided as input data from a customer), the plug-in returns the set of material parameters based on alloy selection (simple interface) or on chemical composition (advanced interface).
The plug-in also implements age hardening model, which is available for limited set of target alloys. Such a model simulates the material structure, which depends on its chemical composition and relates the structure with mechanical response of the material.
Innovative with this plug-in is that, by extrapolation, it is possible to predict mechanical properties of the target alloys and not only look for matching between the target alloy and some other alloy from the data base.
The Material plugin provides all the necessary material parameters for simulation tools used within the SuPLight framework based on chemical composition and processing route of selected alloy. The knowledge implemented in the plugin is based on experimental work done on new aluminium wrought alloys, literature sources as well as on the outputs of the material models developed within the scope of the project.

Figure 9 Integration and inter framework communication of the Material plugin.


Increased content of the recycled material used in melting process raises the level of trace level elements like silicon, iron and copper which lead to changes in material response in the process chain. Therefore it is important to provide simulation tools used in optimization loop with the suitable set of material parameters in order to increase the accuracy of the numerical modes predictions.

The data and literature on influences of trace elements on performances of aluminium wrought alloys is rather scarce and typically covers only specific feature of material performance. Therefore the project contributes to extension of this knowledge by experimental program and with development of material model. First the experimental program performed on new alumnium alloys in SuPLight has contributed new information about the material performance on wider range of parameters based on the variable chemical composition for the target alloys used in this project. Secondly the knowledge about material performance is target of material model for age hardening alloys which is also relevant for the target alloys and relates changes of particle size distribution which depends on its chemical composition with mechanical response of the material.

Based on this knowledge we have designed a material plugin which provide set of material parameters required for different types of FE analysis and sustainability model based on alloy composition and its process route. In this manner the complexity of material parameters dependency on chemical composition will become transparent to the user of the framework.

The numerical model for age-hardening of aluminium is based on work of Myhr and colleges. The model is dealing with age-hardening of Al-Mg-Si alloys under idealized conditions assuming spherical particles with uniform thermodynamic properties. The model has its roots in classical Kampmann- Wagner model but is well suited for the type of alloys that are in focus of this project.
The model can be divided into three major parts:
1. Nucleation law
2. Rate law
3. Particle size distribution
The nucleation law is described by nucleation rate equation which relates the rate to mean solute content so the nucleation stops when the matrix becomes depleted with respective component. Rate law is imposed by equation for critical radius for nucleation. If the radius is bigger than the critical radius then the nucleus grow otherwise its solutes.

Particle size distribution is the part of the model which is numerically complex. Two approaches have been implemented in the model and have been evaluated. Further on, the particle size distribution model has been extended to include a model for plasticity limit and hardness which are evaluated at each time step using current particle distribution. The presented cases are in full agreement with published results in the reference papers.


Figure 10 Different distribution of particles are resulting in different material properties.

Due to the known limitations of this model with respect to thermodynamics the additional model SFFK was implemented based on work of Svoboda, Fisher, Fratzl and Kozeschnik. The latter model gives the possibility to overcome limitations of the Myhr approach by allowing modeling of multicomponent and even multiphase systems. Developed framework allows wide range of adaptations of the model and introductions of additional components. Initial testing was performed using the thermodynamic data from literature and other sources.

When making a study of materials at atomistic scales, it is often very useful to apply analytical methods, since it may be hard to make accurate experimental observations at these scales, especially when it comes to strains in an atomic lattice. The development of accurate and reliable methods for electronic structure calculations as well as constantly improving supercomputers has made it possible to do very accurate quantum mechanical simulations of material structures at atomistic level.

In our model we have simulated the strain fields around single atom alloying and trace elements in substitutional phases. However, trace and alloying elements are often bound in larger particles, like atomic clusters, dispersoids or precipitates. We have considered those phases only indirectly, in that they are present in the alloy and thus put constraints on the amount of available matrix for the substitutional phases.

The figures below illustrate the reduction of the strain field when a Zn atom occupies a vacancy in the aluminium matrix. The strain fields of the other species of trace- or alloying elements have also been calculated.


Figure 11 Contour plot of the strain field along the x-axis (horizontally on the figure) in an Al matrix around a vacancy (left) and Zn atom (rigth). The colour scale shows the deviation in percent from the bulk relaxed lattice constant in Al. The black dots designate the atom positions in the Al lattice. Note that the atoms indicated on the figure lie in two alternating planes in the z-direction.


• Tolerance plugin : Computational efficient tolerance (meta) models

The problem dealt with in the Tolerance plugin is that all manufacturing processes are afflicted with variation that needs to be considered during design. Along with variation in the manufacturing processes there is also variation in material parameters. Altogether, these variation sources will affect the final shape and size of the components and also the final assembled product. Successful handling of part tolerances and the use of accurate variation simulation to predict its impact on the geometrical quality of an assembled product gain sustainability from as well economical, ecological as social perspectives.

The Tolerance Module uses the simulation software RD&T together with a specially developed PCA-based meta-model to predict how variation in process and material parameters will affect final geometrical variation.

Typical inputs to the whole system are variation in process and material parameters and outputs are variation in part geometries and critical dimensions. Variation simulation in RD&T uses output from FEM-simulations. Here, output from FEM-simulations are a number of deformed meshes that are used as input to the Tolerance Module to create a PCA-based meta-model that is used for Monte Carlo based variation simulation in RD&T. The result from the simulation is variation in all nodes of the geometry which can also be the final output from the whole system. In case were this is not of interest for the users, variation in nodes (or critical points defined as input) can be checked against tolerance and Cp (capability) requirements and a GO/NOGO output can be delivered.

Figure 12 Integration and inter framework communication of the Tolerance plugin.

It has been verified that PCA can be used to capture the information contained in DOEs from both forging and stamping processes, and that variation in material and process parameters leads to geometrical variation. The Tolerance Module is so far focused on handling geometrical variation but can be extended to handle also other type of variation if relevant relationships/models are available.

Figure 13 Tolerance Results - SuPLigth Demonstration case.



1.3.3 Holistic life cycle approach
The main objective of SuPLight holistic life cycle approach has been to develop methods and tools to be used for evaluation of sustainability of the lightweight solutions. For evaluation of sustainability it is necessary to have a life cycle perspective which means that all the activities through the life cycle of the product should be taken into account. The whole product lifecycle consists of a set of processes, which are functions or tasks to create, transform, and deliver products. The product lifecycle may be categorized in three major phases; beginning of life (BOL) including conceptualization, definition and realization, middle of life (MOL) including use, service and maintenance, and end of life (EOL) characterized by various scenarios such as: reuse of the product with refurbishing, reuse of components with disassembly and refurbishing, material reclamation without disassembly, material reclamation with disassembly and, finally, disposal with or without incineration. Having a life cycle perspective helps avoiding problem shifting in between the activities throughout the life cycle of the product.

Sustainability is always thought to be related with the environmental impact of the product, however it has three pillars; environmental, economic and social; which makes the evaluation of sustainability a quite difficult task. It is time consuming and data intensive. Holistic life cycle approach, presented in Figure 14, takes into account all life cycle phases/the whole life cycle of a product and generates sustainability performance characteristics (technical, environmental, economic and social) in order to be used for decision making by the life cycle actors.


Figure 14 Holistic life cycle approach

Based on the value chain of the wrought aluminum alloys presented in Figure 15, and alternative material and production routes, several scenarios have been determined in order to evaluate the environmental and economic impact of using recycled material and changing the production route. Material and information flows to accomplish the scenarios have been determined and the life cycle inventory for the LCA&LCC tool has been determined.

Figure 15 Value chain - Wrought aluminum alloys in transportation

The main achievements are:

• SuPLight life cycle model
A life cycle model for the SuPLight case study vehicle front lower control arm has been developed. The model is illustrated in the Figure 16 below. The grey boxes represent materials and the blue boxes represent processes. The green arrows indicate material flows that can be varied when evaluating different scenarios.


Figure 16 The SuPLight life cycle model
The model includes BOL, MOL and EOL of the vehicle part, covering its relevant characteristics for both LCA and LCC analysis. MOL comprise production of primary and secondary aluminum, production of the aluminum rod and the aluminum part of the control arm, assembly of the control arm and assembly of the vehicle. Production of aluminum scrap can be done with different technologies, from collection of specific post-consumer scrap, sorting and refining (low temperature electrolysis, fluxing and Hoppes). MOL is the use of the vehicle through a lifetime of 200 000 km. EOL comprise of collection and transport of the vehicle to scrap treatment facilities. In Figure 16, the production of the aluminum part of the control arm is illustrated in one single box. However, this is modelled detailed in the LCA/LCC tool, as depicted in Figure 17. Both the current and the alternative production route of the control arm are included.


Figure 17 Production of the front lower control arm

In a wrought-to-wrought scenario, the aluminum rod for the control arm is produced from a mix of primary and scrap aluminum. This is in contrast to the current situation, where it is entirely made from primary aluminum. Results from four scenarios compared to the current practice are given in Figure 18, and this illustrates the potential application of the tool.


Figure 18 Results for four scenarios compared to current practice

The scenario that performs best in all categories included here is the current production route with 75% aluminum scrap from shredder; with savings in environmental impacts from 55 to 65%. Besides the life cycle costs, all scenarios including use of scrap, and the alternative production route is a better alternative than current practice. The alternative production route performs significantly better than current practice, as this consumes less aluminum per control arm produced. The life cycle costs for the scenarios including refining of aluminum scrap are higher than the other scenarios, as the refining technologies are quite costly. This analysis illustrates that decisions made in production is highly relevant for the environmental and economic life cycle performance of the vehicle front lower control arm. These decisions concern whether to use scrap in production and in this case; which grade of scrap to use, and choice of production route.
A model for the second SuPLight case, the HAI airplane door hinge has also been developed. This model is set up identical to the control arm model, but the production and use phase differs of course. There is only one production route included, which implies that there is no variation in the amount of aluminum consumed here.

• Reverse logistics and Ecosesign models
In order to develop a reverse logistics plugin, a framework for RL design was defined based on a literature review. The developed RL design method incorporates two problems: location/allocation of facilities and choice of suppliers. It uses a multi-criteria decision making method: Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). The developed plugin supporting this method was used in order to design the RL chain for Raufoss Technology and it was integrated to the SuPLight Platform. It sends and receives data from several SuPLight plugins. Figure 19 summarizes the results of this sub-task: the RL reference framework, the developed RL design method and the developed plugin. The plugin’s interface for presenting a scenario is presented in Figure 20.


Figure 19 Summary of Reverse Logistics Task results


Figure 20 RL plugin interface representing a Reverse Logistics network

The eco-design method aims at enabling designers to become aware of environmental issues related to their task and help them assess and generate new design scenarios. It relies on two interconnected activities emphasized by a literature review: (1) a simplified environmental assessment of design alternatives providing results in a visual comparative way; (2) an environmental improvement thanks to dedicated lightweight environmental guidelines and inspirational sheets specific to lightweight applications. Based on the ecodesign method, the eco-design plugin results from the customization of an existing software tool integrated to the SuPLight platform. The structure of the proposed method is presented in Figure 21, and an example of ecodesign guidelines for BOL is presented in Figure 22.


Figure 21 Structure of the ecodesign method


Figure 22 Example of ecodesign guidelines for BOL (Beginning of Life)

• Socio-Ethical model
The socio-ethical plugin is used to assess the human and social factors involved in the production of a component. The social and political environment in the companies and countries of origin for the virgin aluminium and also for the sources of recycled material need to be analysed. Their working conditions, health and safety, effects on the local communities and their environment; which are all potentially far from the point of manufacture or use, are still equally important to the social and ethical quality of a product.

The Socio-ethical plugin is expert operated and not necessarily dependent on the earlier plugin sequences. They could however be used to provide the expert user with data for the decision making on appropriate input values for this plugin.

1.3.4 Industry models


Innovation networks
Innovation networks are influenced by multiple factors. Every company which participates in an innovation network provides specific core competencies. The basis for every technology driven innovation network is a technological value proposition that has the potential to result in market revenues for network partners. In the context of this work it is not important whether the technological value proposition concerns a product or a process innovation. There are multiple reasons for cooperating in networks. To name some of them, it can be the lack of financial power, manpower, lack of market know-how or a strategy induced decision not to cover a task or value adding step with own resources. The company might have insufficient technological know-how or improper own technical assets. The search for partners is affected by different parameters. Possible partners need to have a special core competence and in most cases also need technological know-how and resources. As soon as feasible partners are found, it is necessary to commune the technological value proposition. The level of communication changes from an intra-organizational one to an inter-organizational communication. An important factor at this point is the trust between partners since valuable and secret information will be distributed and shared within the innovation network. Additionally judicial framework requirements need to be created.

In this research, self-organizational characteristics of networks play an important role. A network’s most valuable resources consist of “already existing core competencies, already internalized complementary assets, and completed organizational learning”. To get there, the acquisition of new knowledge plays a superior role. The network needs at least a minimal organization structure providing the ability to identify new possibilities, to share knowledge and to enable self-organization within engineering procedures. The identification and knowledge sharing process aims to provide added value to network partners in one specific technological field. To benefit from this added value, it is essential for partners to have the instruments to combine core competencies and complementary assets and to assess the resulting combinations. Product and process innovations in networks are based upon solving technical problems as part of such a network wide learning process. The main objective of a network strategy is to find the balance between those opportunities and threats that every continuous successful network might be offered or confronted with. Moreover, every member of a network will continuously evaluate new opportunities and threats in order to decide whether to stay in the network or to withdraw from it. The network’s ability to recognize the interest and the capability of partners to join or stay within a network is essential to the self-organization abilities of an innovation network. To successfully enable self-organization, corresponding framework conditions are required. These are a common picture concerning technology matureness and the industry life cycle stage and weather there are analogies in other industries. The technological expertise of individual partners, the existence of interfaces and relation matureness between participants and their competitive positions should be made transparent within the network.

Organization of industrial systems
An industrial system can basically be characterized as a complex system. An applicable definition of complex systems is given by businessdirectory.com: “Consisting of many diverse and autonomous but interrelated and interdependent components or parts linked through many (dense) interconnections. Complex systems cannot be described by a single rule and their characteristics are not reducible to one level of description. They exhibit properties that emerge from the interaction of their parts and which cannot be predicted from the properties of the parts.” In contrast to chaotic systems there are forms of self-organization within complex systems. The complexity of a system can take two different characterizations disorganized complexity and organized complexity. This duality was emphasized in the litterature, as the key to managing complex systems by framing harmony of both dimensions. Such systems are called ‘chaordic’ and shaped the term ‘chaordic system organization’. The term chaordic system means “any self–organizing, adaptive, non-linear, complex system, whether physical, biological, or social, the behavior of which exhibits characteristics of both order and chaos or, loosely translated to business terminology, cooperation and competition.”

The main achievements are:

• Systemic Analysis Methodology
For the analysis done in this research a five-step approach has been applied.

Step 1: A workshop with project end-users resulted in clusters with relevance for innovation planning.
Step 2: The clusters have been described with mostly empirical factors from several analyses, which build on comparable factor analyses.
Step 3: Through the multiple-squared-matrix-based mathematical MICMAC approach, direct and indirect cause-and-effect chains have been identified and assessed.
Step 4: Identification of “impact generators” by graph-theoretical system grid examination.
Step 5: The identification of causal inter-dependencies is the key to a deeper understanding on how the dynamics work. The most significant dynamics have been explored to allocate single factors to integrative model visualization that is shown in Figure 23.


Figure 23: SuPLight industry model mesh

Social platforms gained importance in many remarkable areas of application during the last decade. The paradigm of enterprise 2.0 with its various applications is foremost a way of managing internal collaboration and interfacing with customers. But also over-organizational collaboration in the operative business is currently evolving as an application field. Social platforms function as knowledge repositories with advanced search functionalities, as communication means and as engagement means for establishing and managing relationships – on private, public and industrial level.

• Actor integration and organization on social platforms
An interesting joint specification of all social platforms is the form of organization that seems to occur within the users. The platform, unless which functions it has and which purpose it serves, structures the participation of users and channels interactions. Moderation within interaction streams acts as a controlling instance to reduce redundancies and the compliance to some basic rules. Contrary to the classical network organization, users are fairly free in their usage. In that understanding, the organization of social platform has two aspects: chaos and order. This might potentially be an application field for chaordic system organization. In fact, social platforms are self-organized to a major extent. This principle is based on intrinsic motivation and has the ability to lead to successful applications in complex networks. Transparency on participants’ competencies and interests in connection with available information and existing networks enable flexible process-oriented information transfer and processing.

Social software allows advanced combination of metadata and content. The creation and editing of links between different information sources reduces redundancies and allows the creation of structures that support users in the handling of information. Social software is mostly modular, task-oriented and data-oriented which offers a high grade of adaptability to specific user requirements. To be successful, social software systems have to be designed in accordance with user activities.

• Structural composition of the industry model
Planning a technology based innovation process and the corresponding industry model first of all needs the technological “seed”. This will basically be the technological value proposition. If that additional value which shall be delivered by a new technology is known and a first idea of how to bring the technology to daylight exists, a planning process will be launched.

Figure 23 provides a legend for the structure of the subsequent sections. The following sections give an insight on how the planning process might be structured according to the SuPLight industry model mesh.



To qualify a social platform as a tool for operational planning and development of an innovation, it needs to offer the modular data-handling abilities. This is where the mutual benefits from SuPLight’s framework and the industry model perspective evolve. SuPLight’s social platform is at the same time the access point to the plug-ins from technical work packages and the organizing instance of an over-organizational innovation planning and development process. This process comprises the planning range of an innovation lifecycle as shown in Figure 25. Plugins that support the lay-out of processes are those that deal with reverse logistics, eco-design, LCA and sustainability in the case of SuPLight.



Figure 25: Planning range of SuPLight plugin use



Connectivity Quarter
The connectivity quarter is the tool to plan multi-disciplinary and inter-organizational collaboration between the actors. The driving question for modelling this part of the industry model is: What is the optimum for decentralized engineering and focusing on core competencies? Within SuPLight, the BE@T concept was developed (business ecosystems based assessment of technologies). The networks that evolve on a web 2.0 platform are not contract centric. Hence, those task-oriented partnerships of convenience function similar to conventional B2B ecosystems where the Arthur D. Little (ADL) technology portfolio can be applied. The concept which is schematically shown in Figure 26 makes use of the business ecosystems’ strategies and roles and combines the resulting setting to the abilities of network members concerning a certain technology concept. Who will benefit in which way from collaboration, how can a new equilibrium in the value chain be achieved?


Figure 26: Be@T scheme (left) and assignment to ADL norm strategies (right)



To grant the network the ability to adapt an industry model an easy to use assessment-logic was developed and implemented into a prototypic web application. The input part starts with the classification of the surroundings. The innovation/technology life cycle stage and matureness as well as analogies in other industries (where learning effects can be found) are asked. The next step is the retrieval of partners’ individual ‘technological expertise’. To get information on the business ecosystem instance ‘relation between actors’ the (past and future) existence of interfaces between participants and based thereon their roles or ecosystem behaviors in terms of ‘competitive position between participants’ are classified. The last input step is the request for the ‘relation-matureness between participants’ for existing interfaces between participants. These are important pieces of information to make conclusions on the network dynamics or its evolution in business ecosystem terms. All collected information are then put in their mutual context and assigned to risk classes and corresponding norm strategies as they can be found in the ADL portfolio. As a summarizing visualization of the ecosystem health a heat-map is generated. Hot spots in this graph refer to connections between companies with a higher risk level for network co-operation and industry model adaption (e.g. asymmetrical power distribution or abilities concerning the technology).


• Inspection – Determining the fruition of an industry model
Similar to business models, industry models in the understanding of SuPLight are means to deal with architectural aspects. This fills the gap between strategic planning and operative engineering work in company networks and is aimed to function as a planning tool foremost but also as a framework to inspection of industry model performance. This chapter gives an overview on how permanent inspection of all factors that were classified as relevant functions.

Technology quarter (Materials and Data)
The technology quarter subsumes all primary technology related aspects within an industry model. The inspection of these aspects covers basically three factors: technical firm assets, technology acquisition and degree of technological interweavement. Technical firm assets are being inspected by the individual firm itself in the context of network objectives. The assessment bases on the comparison of nominal and actual values. The efficiency of production facilities, own technological capabilities and infrastructure, as well as potentials for economies of scale and technical experience are subject to the assessment. The assessment of technology acquisition covers the firm’s abilities to technology procurement (e.g. by mergers, shareholding and joint ventures) and technology exploitation in line with the network objectives. The degree of technological interweavement is assessed by the network by evaluation of potentials or burdens of technological interdependencies with inter- and intra-organizational customers, suppliers, competitors and other institutions.

Activity quarter (Methods, Tools and Processes)
The activity quarter subsumes all aspects related to process, tools and methods within an industry model. Relevant to be planned and reviewed within the network are the innovation development process and innovation adaption routines. Concerning the innovation development process it is important to define the minimum order of tasks and establish means for progress control. Innovation adaption review means the continuous assessment if the “way to get there” still is the right regarding the current product requirements.

Connectivity quarter (Markets and Networks)
The connectivity quarter subsumes all aspects related to markets and networks within an industry model. The inspection of those aspects has is done by comparison of nominal and actual values for complementary assets and as multi-user direct assessment for competition, the appropriability regime, the dominant design paradigm and partners’ degree of network competence. The output of the Be@T method gives indication on the power distribution within the network and entry barriers. The assessment of the factor complementary assets is focused on the grade of complement and completeness of the network from individual participants view. This includes technical, non-technical, specialized and generic assets. Competition in the understanding of one of Porter’s five industry forces has two dimensions in this research. Competition might take place on value adding steps and is a matter of network composition and a question within the network if internal competition is valuable. And there is an external dimension of competition with the aspects product characteristics, promotional strategies among rivals, access to distribution channels and service strategies to customers. Appropriability means the ability to capture profits generated by an innovation. The appropriability regime is split into two dimensions: nature of technological and legal mechanisms of protection. At the assessment of dominant design paradigm the focus is on the evolution phase of a dominant design and weather the network takes the right direction to deal with that phase. A new design paradigm will need dedicated instruments and roles to get into the market. An accepted design will shift competition towards design to prices, a whole new set of variables, like economies of scale and learning curves are getting more important. The assessment of network competence is based on relationship-specific task execution and the balance of specialist and social qualifications. The power distribution within a network is assessed company individual on the basis of bargaining power over suppliers and bargaining power over buyers within the BE@T method. Another assessment that is done in the BE@T method is on entry barriers, here the individual and network-wide capability is calculated and visualized as instrument to deal with barriers for potential partners and to increase the network performance to rapidly build external advancement barriers.

Adaption quarter (Company and Sector)
The adaption quarter subsumes company and sector specific factors with high relevance for an industry model. The factors that were selected for the inspection of this quarter of the industry model mesh are cost strategy by comparison of nominal and actual values, external technology procurement by conjunction of Be@T output and comparison of nominal and actual values and innovation determination by multi-user assessment. The inspection of cost strategy links the factor to phases of dominant design and makes a comparison to derived norm strategies. In the case of external technology procurement there are two relevant aspects: procurement within the network and external procurement. Whereas the network-internal technology distribution effects are evaluated by the BE@T Method, external procurement concerns ownership and licensing. Both are closely related to the financial perspective which is not included in this paper. Innovation determination refers to the convergence of strategic aims and is focused on the alignment of all network partners.

Advancement Centre (Capabilities)
The advancement center subsumes factors for individual companies’ capabilities with high relevance for an industry model. Factors here, innovation timing and culture for innovation are closely related. The inspection of both factors can only be done by individual companies and serves foremost the creation of transparency within the network and individual corporate learning processes. Innovation timing refers to individual decisive nature concerning the improvement or modification of existing products, the implementation of new process technology, the integration of customers into the development and the market entry of new products and services. Culture for innovation is also very closely related to decision making and includes risk taking and entrepreneurial spirit.



1.3.5 SuPLigh demonstrator
The SuPLIght demonstrator is based on two industrial test cases, and is designed to validate the technology developed in the project. The demonstrator is divided into two parts: Physical and virtual.

The SuPLight Physical Demonstrator is based on pilot scale production of the new materials designed for both automotive and aeronautic components with at least 75% post-consumer scrap as raw material input. The materials used in the demonstrator is designed to simulate composition and impurity levels representative for future commercial materials based on available scrap fractions. The results shows that new materials have manufacturing properties and results in product properties in line with what is used commercially today. However, it should be noted that the number of products produced and tested are limited, and more work is needed in order to develop this technology for an industrial application.

A new processing route for wrought aluminium alloys has been developed in SuPLight, and this is also included for one of the test cases in the physical demonstrator. This production technology has proven superior manufacturing performance in respect of implication of the manufacturing process. This technology is taken further by one of the SuPLight partners and industrial implementation can be expected within 1-2 years.

The SuPLight Virtual Demonstrator is a web-based system to deliver expert knowledge from many aspects of engineering, business and social policy in a single integrated service composition. The underlying information-security architecture and data-privacy protection allows to link expertise from various European stakeholders into a distributed computing and simulation-based optimization service. Figure 27 displays the main architecture of the SuPLight Framework. Technically, SuPLight implements the distributed computing, communication and data management platform using state of the art user-interface and content-management systems, e.g. web services and established platforms as Drupal. Partner GUC with its long and deep security-technology focus and the backing of one former EC research project, i.e. TAS3.eu is able to provide the desired cloud-native personal-data ecosystem including an end2end trust-assurance framework, user-controlled personal data as big data. Moreover, a routable, pluggable analytics framework is capable of offering composite-algorithm workflows to help solve any computational task.

Figure 27 SuPLight Framework supporting distributed, secure computing via the Internet by adopting a secure and privacy-preserving Trust-Platform (TAS3.eu). The frameworks open interfaces enable the integration of newly developed plugins (web services) for material property, geometric design, FEM, sustainability, reverse logistics, eco-design, and industry model optimization.
Various expert knowledge and models are implemented in so-called SuPLight plugins that can extend a the generic SuPLight Framework and customize it to domain-specific tasks, i.e. simulation-based optimization of lightweight solutions and sustainability assessments. Plugins can be linked together in different sequences to evaluate, for example, the engineering design of lightweight components at different levels. SuPLight plugins under research and development are atomic modelling of trace elements, metallurgical and mechanical material properties, geometric design optimization, FEM analysis, Tolerances, LCA and LCC evaluation, Socio-ethical considerations, reverse logistics and business models.
The SuPLight-plugin sequences are accessible from a server which provides user-access control and graphical dashboards for the sequencing of SuPLight and future newly developed plugins to the framework. Subsequently, plugins sequences can be created and executed according to specific demands.

SuPLight Framework
The implementation of the SuPLight framework enables the creation of generic non-branded plugin dashboards (Figure 28, Figure 29). The screenshot provided demonstrate the overview panel and data definitions of the Reverse Logistics plugin as an example. These panels can be created and accessed by an authenticated user.

Figure 28 General information screen for SuPLight plugins

Each partner of the SuPLight project has defined one or more plugins in this manner that perform discrete parts of the simulation-based optimization sequence, such as those discussed in this section. Just as individual plugins may be defined the plugins may then be added to a defined sequence (see Figure 29) Plugins may be used in multiple sequences and may appear in a different order. The order of linkage is not unrestricted but some groups of plugins may be placed in differing order if their authors design for it. Input parameters for a plugin may be a combination of user inputted values and parameters passed form the output of previous plugins, Figure 30.

Figure 29 Defining a plugin sequence with data passing within the SuPLight framework

Figure 30 Defining input and out parameters for a SuPLight plugin

Of the full set of plugins that have been researched, designed and evaluated as part of the SuPLight project a selected number was identified as part of a potential BOL to EOL evaluation of lightweight products, i.e.:

Material -> Design Optimisation -> FEM -> Tolerance -> LCA/LCC -> Reverse Logistics -> Eco-Design -> Socio-Ethical

Other partial sequences of this full sequences may have also been practical and the sequence had some potential reordering, e.g. the Reverse Logistics, Eco-Design and Socio-Ethical Plugins running prior to the Material plugin providing constraints for the input, instead of performing a post-design evaluation.

Issues arose during research and plugin development that led to some of the plugins currently implemented with offline functionality only. It implies that such plugins require manual intervention for either part of their runtime sequence or for the transfer of data to and from the framework.

The set of plugins with the potential to be framework ready form the sequence shown below, i.e.

Material -> Design Optimisation -> FEM -> Tolerance -> Reverse Logistics (inc. reduced LCA).




The Material and Reverse Logistics plugins are implemented as web services located on servers in Slovenia and France, respectively. The other three plugins are located on three remote locations in Norway. These plugins integrate multiple applications and servers, e.g. modeFontiers and NX, that are accessed via SuPLight / TAS3 installation with an apache server running within a Cygwin environment.


1.3.6 Evaluation of Optimization Results
In the following one example of the results from SuPLight demonstrator optimisation is presented. 3 scenarios are compared to the present design and technology.

The scenarios are:
1. New alloy based on 75% post-consumer scarp
2. Optimised product & process with respect to weight
3. New alloy based on 75% post-consumer scarp + Optimised product & process with respect to weight
The optimisation results are summarised in Table 2.

Table 3 SuPLight Demonstrator optimisation results
Plug-in

Material

Product optimisation Process optimisation



Base line Shape optimisation Topology optimsation
Base line Recycling level Product weigth Product weigth Base line Optimised initial preshape weight
Results AA6082 New alloy 75% recycling 100 % 93,74 % 93,59 % 100 % 82,67 %

The results from LCA, LCC and Revers Logistics & Eco-design evaluation in the SuPLight framework is presented in Table 3 as fractions of environmental and cost factors of the present design and technology. The product optimisation based on shape optimisation is used in this test case due to ability to run atomised optimisation feasibility of the optimisation results.


Table 4 Environmental and cost factors relative to present design and technology
Plug-in Factor Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
LCA Climate change 0,81 0,69 0,60
Ozone depletion 0,88 0,88 0,79
Human toxicity, cancer effects 0,70 0,40 0,30
Human toxicity, non-cancer effects 0,72 0,52 0,39
Particulate matter 0,76 0,58 0,48
Ionizing radiation HH 0,72 0,45 0,35
Ionizing radiation E (interim) 0,72 0,45 0,35
Photochemical ozone formation 0,83 0,77 0,67
Acidification 0,78 0,61 0,52
Terrestrial eutrophication 0,82 0,74 0,65
Freshwater eutrophication 0,70 0,40 0,30
Marine eutrophication 0,80 0,68 0,59
Freshwater ecotoxicity 0,71 0,49 0,36
Land use 0,86 0,91 0,80
Water resource depletion 0,77 0,79 0,63
Mineral, fossil & ren resource depletion 0,79 0,95 0,76
Cumulated energy consumption 0,82 0,72 0,63
LCC LCC 0,96 0,97 0,94
Revers Logistics & Eco-design Non renewable energy 0,70 0,91 0,6
Climate change 0,75 0,91 0,65
Fresh water consumption 0,5 0,87 0,45

Potential Impact:
As a general average, 75 to 80% of aluminium is used for wrought products, e.g. rolled plate, sheet, foil, extrusions, tube, rod, bar and wire. Wrought aluminium alloys are generally classified into two groups: wrought non-heat treatable alloys and wrought heat treatable alloys. Each group behaves differently, with composition and structure dictating the working characteristics and subsequent properties that are developed.

Aluminium wrought heat treatable alloys, more precise Al-Mg-Si/Zn alloys (6xxx and 7xxx series), has been in focus of the SuPLight. These alloys are widely used as medium- and high-strength structural alloys. The 6xxx series alloys are used for the majority of extrusions. Good formability and property requirements of these alloys are based on their low composition level. Because of that the majority of these alloys are produced by virgin aluminium, somewhat scrap and alloying additions. High percent of virgin aluminium in any high–end lightweight product is not in conformity with today’s actual concept of transition to a sustainable technology-based society. The smae situation applies for 7xxx series alloys where 100% of the raw material for the aeronautic industry applications is virgin aluminium.

So far problems relating to the trace elements (Na, Ca, Pb etc) in the alloys and their effect on product performance have been rather unknown. In all standards, the trace elements are usually marked as “unspeci¬fied other elements”. Their quantity in the wrought aluminium alloys is up to 0.15%. It means that they are present in material on an “atomic” grade. Without regard to its minor quantity, it is believed that the trace elements cause variation of the quality of the materials, especially regarding ductility, fatigue and their corrosion resistance. Input material with a higher percent of re-used material can cause still greater trouble. Better understanding of this issue is of great importance for the light metals community.

In case of metals, this concept is based on saving metal ore supply, reducing energy consumption and reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses, compared to extraction of novel metals. Polmear has illustrated this for recirculation of aluminium:

(i) It is estimated that a recycling rate of 50% will expand the aluminium reserves to last from 160 to about 320 years, whereas with a recycling rate of 80% the reserves will last for more than 800 years.
(ii) The primary production of aluminium is a highly energy intensive process, while the remelting of scrap requires only about 5% of the energy needed to extract the same weight of primary metal from bauxite.
(iii) The recycling of aluminium has been well established for many years, and the current ratio of secondary (scrap) to primary aluminium is around 30%.

The SuPLight technology can be an enabler for a step-change in the use and recycling of wrought alloy aluminium for lightweight solutions. With a post-consumer recycling of 75%, this means huge saving in energy consumption. Lightweight vehicles are especially important for the new concepts for sustainable transport such as electric or hydrogen cars. The expected impacts from SuPLight can by summarised by the following bullet-points:
• Closed-loop recycling: Increased reuse and recycling of aluminium with 95% less energy consumption and preservation of natural resources trough: (I) methods and a competence platform for development and manufacturing (II) robust processes for low grade aluminium manufacturing (III) knowledge on effects from impurities and chemical compounds in wrought aluminium alloy (IV) maps of process and product performance tradeoffs (V) alternative raw material sourcing
• Providing step-change lightweight structural solutions based on wrought alloys for a more sustainable transportation; (I) holistic product-process weight/performance optimization through multiple FEM simulations with heuristic parameter optimisation (II) Eco-Design methods with holistic view on product lifecycle (III) tolerance analysis tools
• Sustainable manufacturing with Holistic Life cycle Approach: (I) new use for existing of ecodesign methods and sustainable product development methodologies (II) design of new eco-friendly lightweight products incl. materials and manufacturing processes
• SuPLight industry models and business solutions Novel sustainable industry models with a holistic life cycle view (I) novel transferable modelling canvas for sectoral industrial model generation (II) SuPLight industrial model (III) information platform especially supporting SMEs in the aluminium sector


The exploitable results of SuPLight project are regarded by the consortium to be the following:

R1. Generic framework for simulation-based optimization
R2. Tolerance Module Plugin
R3. Material Model Plugin
R4. Forming Simulation Plugin (Solid works – Forge)
R5. Shape Optimization Plugin (Solid Works – Nastran)
R6. Reverse Logistics Plugin
R7. Eco-Design Plugin
R8. Social-Ethical Plugin
R9. LCA/LCC Plugin
R10. Industrial Model Plugin
R11. Social Platform Plugin
R12. Aluminium Technology based on scarp resources
R13. Alternative processing route for wrought aluminium

When the results and the potential impacts listed above is compared with the SuPLight goals presented in chapter 1.2 in this report, the consortium consider all goals to be fulfilled. Based on this the potential impacts are elaborated in the following.

The SuPLight project aimed at a step-change in the performance of European aluminium industry. The project has focused on developing new knowledge and methods allowing economically and ecologically compatible product design and production systems with optimised weight/performance ratio for high-end load bearing wrought alloy component. The ability to accept more than 75 % recycled material opens for a more efficient use of material resources. Novel business models with a holistic life cycle view and higher reactivity to customer contribute to a better impact for the new methods and technology developed in the project.

A more sustainable society is one of the most important for the Grand Challenges for Europe. The European Commission identifies “Sustainable Growth” as one of three key drivers for the new economic strategy for Europe towards 2020. (Europe 2020 and EC Press release IP/10/225) The Commission propose a series of s.k. Flagship initiatives, a.o. “Resource Efficient Europe: Quote: “Resource-efficient Europe - supporting the shift towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy. Europe should stick to its 2020 targets in terms of energy production, efficiency and consumption. This would result in €60 billion less in oil and gas imports by 2020.”

The main properties which make aluminium a valuable material for a sustainable society is its lightweight, strength, recyclability, corrosion resistance, durability, ductility, formability and conductivity. Due to this unique combination of properties, the variety of applications of aluminium continues to increase. One of the problems is, however, the high energy consumption when manufacturing aluminium. Secondary aluminium production (remelting) on the other hand saves 95% to 98% in energy use compared to primary production. Unfortunately, current recycling ratios are too low, especially for wrought alloy aluminium. In 2003, a total of 4.1 million tonnes of tolled and purchased scrap were melted in Western Europe, of which 2.5 million tonnes by means of refining and 1.6 million tonnes by remelting. The share of old scrap reached 28% while new scrap was at 49%, approximately 960 000 tonnes have yet to be identified as new or old scrap. From the companies reporting for 2003, it can be concluded that only 8% of the refiners scrap intake is in form of tolled scrap, while for remelters this ratio is 43%.

By applying the results from SuPLight, the aluminium industry can increase the reuse and recycling of aluminium ant thereby both save energy as well as increase the sustainability rating of aluminium in an sustainability focused marked. The aluminium industry directly provides close to 300 000 jobs in Europe not including application sectors. Thus aluminium production and dependent industries accounts for a considerable part of the labour market. Rising energy prices in Europe has recently led to a production volume decline in Europe and relocation to regions with low energy prices. E.g. Gulf Cooperation Council States (GCC) wants to achieve an increase of their market share from 7% to almost 37% in the primary aluminium production. Europe’s strategy to keep the internal supply with aluminium alloys upright has to consider methods and industrial models to utilise increasing shares of recycled aluminium. Moreover, with an increased focus on lightweight solutions for increased sustainability, wrought aluminium could win new markets shares if the recycling issue can be solved. The SuPLight project findings include technology methods and sustainable industrial models to enhance and sustain the number of jobs in the aluminium industry, but also enabling new lightweight components for the application sector such as automotive, aerospace and buildings. The reuse of aluminium is one important factor for the ability of European Aluminium Industry to remain competitive in the global market while increasing sustainability in product lifecycle.

In the VISION 2030 initiative, the European aluminium industry set itself the deadline of 2030 to attain its vision of what it calls the “sustainable aluminium society”. The SuPLight project results can be an important contribution to this vision. Main drivers behind this initiative are the twin objectives of sustainability and competitiveness, which seek to ensure maximum eco-, cost and material efficiency by the year 2030. Driven by this VISION 2030 initiative, the European aluminium industry aims at addressing long-term industry challenges by stimulating, integrating and accelerating collaborative research and technological development (RTD) activities in Europe. The ultimate goal is to provide long-lasting, energy-saving, highly functional and optimally competitive solutions to a variety of future needs. A new technology platform is the instrument to mobilise and maximise the impact of RTD investments of joint interest to the aluminium value chain.

Total demand for wrought and semi fabrication is about 12.4 million tonnes in Europe, whereof 90% in the European Union. Finally the total aluminium metal is processed into 4.8 million tonnes rolled products by 57 rolling mills, into 3.3 million tonnes extruded products by around 300 extrusion plants into 3.4 million tonnes of castings by more than 2400 users of casting alloys, and another 1.0 million tonnes is produced in the form of wire, slugs, powder and some other applications. The transport, building and packaging sectors are the most important markets for aluminium products. The remaining part goes into applications such as electrical and mechanical engineering, office equipment, domestic appliances, lighting, chemistry and pharmaceuticals.
The SuPLight project has focused its test cases on Aerospace and Automotive sectors in the validation of the results, however the results are regarded to also be relevant for manufacturing of aluminium in general. In the SuPLight project, the use of advanced genetic optimisation algorithms has been used for optimisation of wrought aluminium alloy based product design and manufacturing processes. SuPLight has resulted in innovation in material science and manufacturing processes with increased robustness against impurities and chemical composition in wrought. The technology enables to dynamically determine the best settings for both the product design and the production processes, according to the characteristics of the raw material composition. This technology can ensure dramatic increased weight/performance ratio and at the same time enable the use of more than 75% post-consumer recycled aluminium even for high-end components.

Furthermore, the open framework and the ability to include dedicated simulation tools and optimisation algorithms have broader impact possibilities. During the project two other application areas has been developed and new activities has been initiated.

The dissemination of project work and –results in SuPLight has been focused on activities towards the scientific community, industry (especially SMEs) and, to some extent, the general public. Several different established networks have been used to gain the trust and the valuable time of top management in Norwegian SME and an Industry Innovation Development Group (IDG) was established for stakeholders with special interest of the SuPLight-project. The Industry Innovation Development Group had to cancel the first meeting as reported mid-term. It was later re-established in a new form with on line conferences (webinars). There has been two webinars in the IDG with participation from the IDG-members. A recorded version of the webinars was published on the web site.

The project established a dissemination plan within the first months of SuPLight. The dissemination plan has been updated and revised during the period. Dissemination of results has been conducted in both academic and popular channels, through papers, articles, presentations etc. SuPLight has been presented five times in different SME forums. SME dissemination has been conducted through established networks, such as TotAl-gruppen, Maritime Clean Tech West and the SuPLight IDG-group, in addition the project was presented to academic networks on more than three occasions. SuPLight has produced a newsletter every six months in order to inform stakeholders about the project progress. The newsletters have been published on the web page as well as sent by email to members of the IDG and other stakeholders.

The scientific community has got a lot of attention of the dissemination activities of the project.
• 10 conference papers presented
• 4 journal papers published or will be published shortly
• 1 white paper published, and 1 will be published shortly
• more papers in pipeline to be published (after the project period)
• master thesis in shape and topology optimization (completed) in NTNU
• SupLight Optimization tools are implemented in one mandatory NTNU course TMM4155 with 60 students each year

To continue the good network established during the SuPLight Project an IMS-project was established and will continue its activity throughout its project period. The IMS project was established some time into the SuPLight project with partners from Europe, Mexico and the US. SuPLight results were presented in the IMS Projects Workshops in Charleston, USA, in May 2013 and in Barcelona, Spain in February 2014. A SuPLight workshop was also planned to take place at NIST in conjunction with WMF 2013 in Washington DC in USA, but it was cancelled because the WMF 2013 event was cancelled to the known budget restrictions in US. However, contacts have been created with the Lightweight solutions lab of NIST and the planed workshop with NIST is expected to be organised by the interested parties (SINTEF, NIST, EPFL, Mexican partners) at a convenient place and time in the future, after the end of the project, since the interest of the involved partners remains strong and valid.

In order to analyse the potential implementation of the SuPLight technology the business modelling tools developed in the project have been applied. The SuPLight framework is integrated with a social networking platform suitable for businesses throughout the supply, manufacturing and recycling industries. The concept of this user front-end grants a low barrier access to the plug-in connected to the framework. The industry modelling is based on the data made available in the network from the different plug-ins, such as reverse logistics chain actors, plug-in providers and framework users as well as collaborating network users. The model explores available partners within the network to propose supply chains that can satisfy a required set of business parameters as shown in Figure 31.


Figure 31: Use case network formation

Business ecosystems based assessment of technologies (BE@T): Accompanying the generation of networks this concept which is also implemented as mock-up tool to assess generated networks. The driving question for modelling this part of the industry model is: What is the optimum for decentralized engineering and focusing on core competencies? The networks that evolve on a web 2.0 platform are not contract centric. Hence, those task-oriented partnerships of convenience function similar to conventional B2B ecosystems where the Arthur D. Little (ADL) technology portfolio can be applied. The concept which is schematically shown in Figure 4 makes use of the business ecosystems’ strategies and roles and combines the resulting setting to the abilities of network members concerning a certain technology concept. Who will benefit in which way from collaboration, how can a new equilibrium in the value chain be achieved?

To grant the network the ability to adapt an industry model an easy to use assessment-logic was developed and implemented into a prototypic web application. The input part starts with the classification of the surroundings. The innovation/technology life cycle stage and matureness as well as analogies in other industries (where learning effects can be found) are asked. The next step is the retrieval of partners’ individual ‘technological expertise’. To get information on the business ecosystem instance ‘relation between actors’ the (past and future) existence of interfaces between participants and based thereon their roles or ecosystem behaviors in terms of ‘competitive position between participants’ are classified. The last input step is the request for the ‘relation-matureness between participants’ for existing interfaces between participants. These are important pieces of information to make conclusions on the network dynamics or its evolution in business ecosystem terms. All collected information are then put in their mutual context and assigned to risk classes and corresponding norm strategies as they can be found in the ADL portfolio. As a summarizing visualization of the ecosystem health a heat-map is generated as shown in Figure 32. Hot spots in this graph refer to connections between companies with a higher risk level for network co-operation and industry model adaption (e.g. asymmetrical power distribution or abilities concerning the technology). The concept has three risk classes and outputs the mentioned norm strategies to classify single inter-organizational relations.


Figure 32: BE@T heat map screenshot of HAI use case scenario


The framework is integrated with a social networking platform suitable for businesses throughout the supply, manufacturing and recycling industries. The concept of this user front-end grants a low barrier access to the plug-in connected to the framework. The industry modelling is based on the data made available in the network from the different plug-ins, such as reverse logistics chain actors, plug-in providers and framework users as well as collaborating network users. The model explores available partners within the network to propose supply chains that can satisfy a required set of business parameters

The analysis of use case scenarios covers the well examined technology and process perspective described within previous sections. The dedicated analysis of yet experimental (not all relevant roles are represented in the project consortium) value chain settings shows that “hot spots” might appear especially in the reverse logistics partners chain. The reasons are:

• There are currently no strategically planned technology advancement processes for higher levels of recycling alloys in wrought alloys (see also SuPLight deliverable D1.1)
• The current market prices for recycled aluminium do not justify technology invests (see also SuPLight deliverable D1.1)
• There is currently no value chain pull for correspondent alloys within global aluminium flows (see also SuPLight deliverable D1.3)

Hence, the formation and optimization of a closed loop industry value chain would need most attention on technological advancement in the recycling chain.

Strategic alignment between engineering and manufacturing sides of the industry value chain is exposed to uncertainties due to following reasons:

• Price pressure driven by OEMs
• Own strategic aims for value adding share

To keep up the level of strategic alignment during operations (engineering and manufacturing) phases, a network management instance has positive effects in experimental settings (referred as SuPLight business model in deliverable D5.2 experimental MACTOR analyses).

List of Websites:

The SuPLight website can be found here: http://www.suplight-eu.org/
SuPLight contact information:
Sverre Gulbrandsen-Dahl

SINTEF Raufoss Manufacturing AS
PO box: 163
2831 Raufoss
NORWAY

E-mail: sverre.gulbrandsen-dahl@sintef.no
Phone:+47 916 01 205