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Investment in our future

Lightness.NRW – Developing materials and processes for the utilization of recyclable, eco-friendly, and maximum-strength aluminum alloys in mass-producible, ultra-lightweight designs for future mobility.


For many different reasons the automotive industry is under immense pressure - in both the short and medium term - to design and build vehicles that are significantly lighter.

That is why aluminum producers are sparing no effort in the development of new, high-strength aluminum alloys, and have set their sights on winning major orders in future with these kinds of alloys as a competitor to steel. In terms of high-strength aluminum alloys, however, one drawback that must be taken into consideration in the vehicle design is the lack of cost-effective manufacturing technology that is not only adapted to such high-strength alloys but is also suitable for large-scale production. The huge benefits to society that this brings are found not in the developments that can only be implemented for top range vehicles; rather, what’s needed are lightweight systems that can be utilized in all vehicle segments.

The resulting project consortium is purposefully set up in such a way that all the requisite development stages, including a new, patentable production technology, are covered by reputable global players: that goes for everything from the development of the high-strength, process-adapted aluminum alloys, right up to the design of the components and construction of the manufacturing facility required for it – e.g. in this case, for the first time, for the Ford Fiesta developed and built in Cologne.

Suppliers in NRW (e.g. from the Attendorn region) are also able to benefit from the development of this mass-producible lightweight technology for the new high-strength aluminum alloys by designing and offering other products with these alloys.



→ June 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021

SMS group GmbH is coordinating this joint research project, which is being funded and promoted as part of the “New Materials” lead market competition.

Project partner

  • FH Aachen, Aachen
  • Ford-Werke GmbH, Köln
  • Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH, Bonn
  • RWTH Aachen/IBF, Aachen
  • Hydro Extruded Solutions GmbH, Remscheid
  • HoDforming GmbH, Düsseldorf


The aim is to develop a continuous process chain for the production, processing and application of today’s and tomorrow’s aluminum alloys for mass-producible lightweight designs in the car of the future.
The innovation focus is on the interconnected development of a combination of both material and process for the hot forming of high-strength aluminum alloys, so as to leverage the potential of lightweight design and engineering.

Your contact

SMSgroup van Putten, Koos

Koos van Putten

SMS group GmbH
Research & Development
Ohlerkirchweg 66
41069 Mönchengladbach

Phone : +49 2161 350 2434

This project is funded by the European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.