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18-02-2020 | Production + Production Technology | News | Article

Environmentally Friendly Production of Car and Motorcycle Components

Nadine Winkelmann
1:30 min reading time

The LIFE CRAL research project has created a pilot plant which processes metal alloys in a semi-solid state for the automotive industry. This means that materials with reduced environmental impact are used.

The results of the research, which began in July 2016 and has now led to the construction of a new pilot plant, were presented at the Kilometro Rosso Science and Technology Park. The pilot plant is designed for the mass production of lightweight, high-quality components for cars and motorcycles. The LIFE CRAL (CRadle-to-grave Approach to Light alloys) project, which was co-financed by the EU programme LIFE 2014-2020 (a programme for the environment and climate action), was coordinated by braking system manufacturer Brembo SpA in cooperation with Cannon Ergos SpA, a Cannon Group company that specialises in the construction and realisation of tailor-made industry solutions. Kilometro Rosso was the location for the research and testing of this innovative system which uses light metals in semi-solid states with special technological properties.

The aim of the CRAL project was to develop a pre-production process for the manufacturing of high-performance components for the automotive industry using recycled aluminium and Eco-Magnesium (Eco-Mg). The process was certified as having:

  • A 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions at the primary processing stage of the aluminium. An elimination of the use of SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride), a highly polluting gas (one kilogram of SF6 is equivalent to 22 tonnes of CO2) in the production of magnesium.
  • The total budget for implementing the pilot plant was 3,227,341 euros, of which 1,850,700 euros was contributed by the European Commission, while the remaining sum was provided by both project partners. 

Reducing carbon footprints

Roberto Vavassori, Chief Public Affairs & Institutional Relations Officer at Brembo, said the following: "The CRAL pilot plant will allow the entire production chain to be redesigned, in order to use this innovative technology to produce, as standard, high-performance components, using materials with low environmental impact. In this context, the CRAL project has huge potential for replication and transferability, benefiting industries outside the scope of the automotive sector. Brembo’s primary aim has been to replicate this process, especially in terms of reducing its own environmental footprint. Many companies operating in the automotive and aerospace sectors have already expressed lively interest in using this technology to produce their own components. Thus, the technology developed in the CRAL project is responding to a real demand from the industry, opening the way to further development possibilities."

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