FlexHyJoin | Flexible production cell for hybrid joining


Growing requirements in the transport industry with regard to safety, lightweight construction, fuel economy and functional integration can usually only be met by a mix of materials. The mantra is: "the right material in the right place". However, these hybrid material concepts can only be realized if the different components and materials are combinable respecting their individual properties. FlexHyJoin deals with the joining of metals and thermoplastic fibre reinforced polymer composites (TP-FRPC) by means of implementing two complementary joining technologies (laser and induction joining). The overall goal of the project is the construction of a fully automated production cell for joining metal with TP-FRPC including quality assurance for the automotive industry. The most important requirements to be fulfilled by the production cell are: weight neutrality, cost efficiency, time efficiency and bonding strength. With state of the art joining solutions, these requirements can only be partially met. Most joining methods such as adhesive, screw or bolt connections require additional weight. Adhesives are also expensive, while screw and bolt connections weaken the TP-FRPC structurally and cause an unfavourable load condition.

For this reason the FlexHyJoin project combines laser joining (LJ) for complex, smaller geometries and induction joining (IJ) for larger geometries in a single prototype production cell. The advantage of these joining processes is that components can be joined without need of additional material. This saves weight (weight neutrality) and costs (cost efficiency). With LJ and IJ, the components are heated in a single contactless process that goes easy on the material and joint to each other by use of a pressure device (time efficiency). By means of laser structuring of the metallic surface, high connection strength can be achieved. The key for the automation is an online process control and quality assurance. Non-destructive testing (NDT) shall ensure a 100% inspection of the joints and thus an automated and comprehensive quality assurance.

By providing an efficient joining process for hybrid material solutions, the FlexHyJoin project contributes to enable cost-effective, safe and climate-neutral mobility. In addition, the technologies developed in the project can be applied to a wide range of thermoplastic and metallic materials and transferred to many other applications and industries such as aviation, sports & recreation and energy sector.

More information & hyperlinks
Web resources: http://www.flexhyjoin.eu
Start date: 10-01-2015
End date: 31-12-2018
Total budget - Public funding: 5 868 684,00 Euro - 4 141 348,00 Euro
Cordis data

Original description

Multimaterial systems combining metals with thermoplastic fiber reinforced polymer composites (TP-FRPC) are the key for light weight design in the automotive industry. However, the joining of the material partners remains main issue. Currently, no approach exists which sufficiently meets the three core requirements: weight neutrality, cost- and time efficiency and bonding strength. Technologies like adhesive bonding or bolted joints show good results for one or two of the criterions, but not for all three of them.
The FlexHyJoin project aims at the development of a joining process for hybrid components, which satisfies all three criterions. Induction Joining (IJ) and Laser Joining (LJ) are combined, since they have complementary fields of application and most of all they do not require additional material and are therefore weight neutral joining methods. Thus, the full lightweight potential is preserved. Additionally, a surface texturing method for the metal is integrated in the approach, which leads to a form closure bonding, providing a high mechanical bonding performance. Finally, a main aspect of the FlexHyJoin project is to integrate the surface texturing as well as both joining methods in a single, continuous, and fully automatized pilot process with an overall process control and supervision system. This leads to a maximum of time- and cost-efficiency and will allow the future application of the approach in the mass production of automotives. The key for the automation is an online process control and quality assurance.
The FlexHyJoin project provides an essential enabler technology for future mobility concepts. The final result is an innovative joining process for fiber reinforced polymers and metals, suiting the strict requirements of automotive industry and enabling the broad application of hybrid material systems.



Call topic


Update Date

FlexHyJoin production cell unlabeled.JPG
Geographical location(s)
Structured mapping
Unfold all
Fold all

The production cell consists of pre-treatment metal surface structuring, simultaneous laser and induction joining area, online monitoring and non-destructive testing.