Joining of multi-materials
There is great demand from the manufacturing industry (transport sector, mechanical engineering sector and consumer and construction products) for practical knowledge about riveting, clinching, gluing and welding techniques to join different materials to each other structurally to achieve this objective. The real target group is estimated to be approximately 1000 companies (> 97% SMEs) where the objective is to reach 500 companies within the period of the VIS project.
Future products will have the right material at the right place and the joining is a very critical part within this context. For structural engineers from the transport, mechanical engineering and consumer and construction product sectors, unique products – with regard to performance, weight or functionality – can only be achieved by linking an optimum design to advanced production techniques. Although the target group is fully aware of traditional joining technologies to join similar materials with each other, there is a lack of awareness and knowledge of techniques for joining dissimilar materials (for example, composites to aluminium or steel to plastics). After all, implementing new joining techniques sets requirements at the product and the production level. Many of these commercially available techniques have been tested in the automotive sector, but are basically not used outside this sector.
The companies operating in the manufacturing industry are made aware of the available joining techniques to join different materials structurally with each other through, on the one hand, joint knowledge sharing and awareness raising and, on the other hand, through a more individual approach including company visits, local network events and thematic workshops.
Companies can deliver a better product with regard to quality by deploying new joining techniques and therefore they can differentiate themselves and claim a larger market share. Linking an optimum product to an advanced production technique will moreover drastically increase the probability of embedding it in Belgium and therefore employment will be retained (more than 55000 employees in the target group).