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Increasing the competitiveness of European manufacturing companies by introducing an innovative single-step production process for moveable, functional multi-piece components

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INTERLOGS (Increasing the competitiveness of European manufacturing companies by introducing an innovative single-step production process for moveable, functional multi-piece components)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-08-31

In the last years, trillions of EUR added value moved from Europe to countries with favourable production factors, especially to countries with low labour-costs. To stay competitive in manufacturing, European companies have to innovate their processes to more efficiency.

Due to its scalability and automation capacity, die-casting is one of the most prevalent production processes in the world leading to billions of parts each day. However, with die-casting, only rigid parts are realisable. For moveable components (like hinges), different rigid parts have to be assembled to create functionality. This value-adding step of assembling cannibalises the efficiency advantages of die-casting, making European assemblies less competitive due to higher wage costs.

With INTERLOGS, LOHR has developed the worldwide first production process which allows the automated production of fully integrated moveable parts with die-casting in one single production step without the need for multi-step assembling. This leads to time saving of more than 98%, weight reduction of about 56% and costs savings of up to 60% while stability of components could be increased by factor 4. The objectives of the project were scaling-up the prototype process for commercial exploitation, demonstrating large-scale working of the process and preparing the initial market entry.

The INTERLOGS project will not only boost the scale-up of LOHR in terms of turnover and employees but also of thousands of companies in Europe creating tens of thousands new jobs in Europe by retrieving trillions of EUR added-value.
Since the beginning of the project, LOHR was able to technically adapt the process for market entry and broader market acceptance. In addition, LOHR itself was up-scaled by building up the capacities and processes needed. Demonstration parts for different market segments have been designed, simulated, and qualified. Stakeholders and potential customers have been involved, new markets for the INTERLOGS hinges have been examined, elaborated, and prepared. Protection strategy has been further followed on and project achievements have been released and disseminated via different channels, e.g. on social media. At the end of the project the INTERLOGS technology is ready for a broad range of applications.
In contrast to the conventional multi-step production process of usual hinges, the new INTERLOGS process provides a process/ production time reduction of over 98% per hinge. This is an extraordinary improvement, significantly increasing the productivity of the company and the availability of finished parts for the end user. As the production of hinges is realised in one step, our INTERLOGS process offers great automation capacity and much higher scalability compared to the conventional process. Due to the die casting technology used, significantly less raw material is needed for production (100g aluminium instead of 380g steel) and less material is wasted (10g aluminium instead of 190g steel). Due to the reduction of production steps to one single step, the reliability of the process and the quality of the final product are higher. By using aluminium instead of steel, with the new process a remarkable weight reduction of 53% per hinge can be achieved.

Concerning non-technical aspects, the new process provides a reduction of production cost of 50-60%. This reduction is also of high relevance to the end users, as it leads to reduced part prices. As the raw material input as well as the material waste are reduced and due to the faster processing times, energy costs per part are lower, generating environmental benefits. Due to the lightweight design of the hinges, significant CO2 reductions can be achieved in the important application area of the automotive industry. With LOHR’s new process and the products manufactured with it, a significant amount of added value in manufacturing and corresponding jobs can be kept in Europe, providing a benefit for the European society.
Die-casted INTERLOGS hinges
Die-casted INTERLOGS tailgate hinge
Injection-moulded INTERLOGS hinge