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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries 2 Automotive and Aircraft Industries The development of a materials research agenda for an industry requires an initial analysis of the environment in which the industry operates and the goals that it is attempting to achieve. This chapter discusses four primary environmental forces that are currently impacting the materials-selection process and driving materials research within the two industries: manufacturing rates, global competition, regulatory constraints, and execution cycles. MANUFACTURING RATES The first industry pressure that is driving materials research for the two industries is manufacturing rate. The rates discussed in this section pertain to the number of units produced during a one-year period. Automotive Industry The automotive industry is a producer of products that must be affordable to a huge and diversified market (Table 1-1). As such, the rate of manufacturing must be extremely high. For instance, some automobile plants produce 400–500 steel panels per hour and 1500 vehicles per day. The entire U.S. automotive industry consumes about
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries 24 million tons of materials annually, including steel, cast iron, aluminum, and plastics (MVMA, 1992). The finished value of the vehicle per pound is only about $5, however, and the dominant material, steel, costs only 35 cents a pound. In 1989, the automotive industry accounted for about 14 percent of the U.S. consumption of steel, 16 percent of aluminum, 10 percent of copper, 23 percent of zinc, 68 percent of lead, 60 percent of malleable iron, and 48 percent of rubber (MVMA, 1992). These data reveal two important factors that are driving materials research within the automotive industry. First, the tremendous materials demand necessitates that the raw materials be generally available. The automotive industry will not adopt any material that cannot be reliably produced in the large quantities required within the specifications demanded. Materials research must be aimed at developing inexpensive new materials that can be dependably and faithfully produced in large quantities. Second, the processes developed for forming the materials into the required shapes must be capable of producing highly reliable parts and assemblies at true mass production volumes and uniformly consistent quality, yet the amortized tooling cost must be low to keep the cost of the finished automobile within consumer standards. Fabrication-methods research must ensure that any new techniques are mature, dependable, and inherently capable of satisfying demand. Aircraft Industry The number of units produced per year by the U.S. civilian aircraft industry is three orders of magnitude less than that for the automotive industry (Table 1-1). The aerospace industry shipped a total of 2,500 civil and 1,150 military aircraft in 1991 (AIA, 1992). On average, the finished value per pound is $300 for commercial transport aircraft. The use of relatively advanced materials combined with the production of intricate component forms without net-shape processes contribute to this higher cost per pound. The airframes of
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries commercial aircraft are currently largely aluminum (70–80 percent) with smaller weight fractions of steel, titanium, and advanced composites. The gas turbine engines that power these aircraft use alloys of nickel (~ 40 percent), titanium (~ 30 percent), and steel (~ 20 percent), with the balance being advanced composites and aluminum. Although the production rates for the commercial aircraft industry may be lower than the automotive industry, labor productivity, manufacturing methods, and customer requirements have similar implications concerning materials research. First, the materials used by the aircraft industry are generally more advanced and comparatively rarer than for other industries. Suppliers for aircraft materials must show that the manufacturing processes developed for new materials can produce sufficient quantities to satisfy demand. Second, the complexity of the aircraft and the potentially catastrophic consequences of errors demand that part fabrication be reliable. All new fabrication processes developed must be shown to be fully reproducible and able to maintain tight tolerances and high safety standards. Third, materials developments are closely tied to the requirements of the customer. Although there is steady pressure to employ higher-performance materials to gain market advantage, such pressure is tempered by a high sensitivity to cost. Issues of cost and cost-effectiveness are very important to the aircraft industry. Any new material must be similar to the previous material in procurement costs, fabrication flexibilities, and scrap disposition and recycling capabilities. GLOBAL COMPETITION The second force affecting materials research for both industries is global competition. Both industries operate in highly competitive global marketplaces that rely, to some extent, on material developments to maintain market share.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Automotive Industry The automotive industry currently has extensive foreign and domestic competition. The automobile sector of the U.S. economy had a trade deficit of $36 billion in 1991. Japanese imports reached 30.7 percent of the U.S. automobile sales for the first half of 1992, and the number of Japanese transplant facilities for vehicle assembly and parts manufacture accounted for 22 percent of the cars built in North America (MVMA, 1992). This intense competition is driving the global market to attain higher levels of quality, reliability, innovation, and niche market segmentation while reducing cost and product lead-time. For instance, Japanese companies have shortened their product lead-time from 5 years to 3 years. This allowed Japanese manufacturers to replace 97 percent of their models during the 1986–'91 period, while U.S. industry only replaced 59 percent (Womack et al., 1990). New materials technology can have a significant impact on global competitiveness. This new technology can be applied either to improve automotive performance, quality, and reliability or to permit creative product design to provide new, uncontested competitive space in the marketplace. For instance, materials processing innovations are becoming more important with the trend toward increased market segmentation as each company seeks out niche markets. More ''customized'' models will become available for a given segment, and the economical volume per segment will decrease from a typical level of 250,000 units to the range of 100,000 units and lower for some segments. New materials with more flexible processing methods are needed to permit simple, rapid retooling of automotive manufacturing lines to reduce product lead-times and to allow smaller, niche-production runs, while also offering clear advantages over previous technologies.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Aircraft Industry The U.S. commercial aircraft industry currently enjoys the dominance of its markets, both domestically and internationally. In 1991, a year when the United States as a whole experienced a merchandise trade deficit amounting to $73.6 billion, the U.S. civil aviation industry had a positive trade balance of $22 billion (Table 1-1). Significant shifts in its market share have occurred, however. In 1970, the United States share of the world market (excluding the group of nations led by the former Soviet Union under the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) was almost 80 percent; in 1990 its share was less than 60 percent of the market. To date, the European aircraft industries have provided the most formidable competition to the United States. The Asia-Pacific Rim aircraft sector consists of 23 countries including Japan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and China, which were the five largest importers of U.S. aircraft products within this sector during the 1986–'90 period. The trade surplus with these countries has been significant. Countries in this region are seeking bigger shares of this global industry, and their aircraft industries are growing rapidly. Undoubtedly, Japan will become a competitive force in segments of the industry such as aircraft parts and propulsion systems. Recent events in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union provide opportunities and potential challenges to the U.S. aircraft industry. The opening of these countries to the West creates a large future market. However, at the same time, their conversion to a commercial, export-oriented industry may result in serious competition where their technology is equal to or nearly equal to that of the United States. The United States now has serious competition in the development of advanced-technology commercial airframes. As a result, the U.S. aircraft industry could lose its dominance in the future as foreign
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries manufacturers continue to develop. For example, the U.S. commercial aircraft industry is meeting stiff competition in the application of advanced technologies to reduce weight and improve performance. Six foreign composite airframes and 10 major sets of secondary airframe components have been, or will shortly be, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration compared with three domestic composite airframes and 13 sets of secondary airframe components (NMAB, 1991). One way that U.S. aircraft industries can maintain their edge within the global market is to lead in the cost-effective application of advanced materials. SOCIETAL AND REGULATORY FORCES Societal and regulatory forces have a major impact on materials research for both industries, although their effect on the automotive segment has been more obvious because of the larger numbers of cars on the road. Automotive Industry A large force shaping the automotive industry is the trend toward fuel economy, low vehicle emissions, safety, recyclability, and low manufacturing emissions and waste. In the early 1970s, the federal government began reacting to consumer concerns by passing a sweeping set of federal regulations. Energy America's era of "energy complacency" ended in late 1973 when OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quadrupled the price of oil overnight. Rising energy prices and growing dependence on foreign oil ushered in fuel economy regulations. General concern has intensified since the country's dependency on
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries imported oil rose from 36 percent in 1981 to 45 percent in 1990 (EIA, 1990, 1991a). Moreover, over 60 percent of the total U.S. consumption of petroleum is related to passenger cars and light trucks (EIA, 1991b). As a result, there is increasing pressure in Congress to mandate greater fuel economy standards for highway vehicles. Since 1975, the fuel economy for the average new car has risen from 15.8 mpg to 27.8 mpg, a 76-percent increase (EEB, 1992). Several bills have been introduced in Congress that would require the fleet average to increase well beyond the current standard. It is possible that CAFE standards may be set as high as 40 mpg. Since a 10-percent weight reduction in an automobile can increase fuel economy by five percent (EEB, 1992), the automotive industry has increased its reliance on advanced, lightweight materials (e.g., high-strength steel, cast and wrought aluminum, and nonstructural plastics; Figure 2-1). However, the higher cost of lightweight materials and the more expensive and less flexible processes for manufacturing parts has currently restricted their use. Future increases in fuel economy will demand further improvements in lightweight materials and their processing techniques to reduce vehicle weight even further without substantially increasing cost. Environment Global environmental and natural resource issues will greatly impact product technology of the future, especially increased concern with CO2 emissions. Since the mid-1970s, catalytic converters have been installed in all new cars to reduce tailpipe emissions (Figure 2-2). New federal legislation passed in 1991 will require greater reductions in tailpipe emissions (EEB, 1992). For 1994, the mandated emissions standards for passenger cars of 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less will be non-methane hydrocarbons at 0.25 grams/mile, CO at 3.4 grams/mile, and NOx at 0.4 grams/mile. The government may invoke stricter standards by 2004 (i.e, non-methane hydrocarbons at 0.125 grams/mile, CO at 1.7 grams/mile, and NOx at 0.2 grams/mile).
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries FIGURE 2-1: Trend in increase of lightweight materials to improve fuel economy of automobiles (Source: Ford Motor Company Research Laboratory). States are also setting their own standards. California is invoking strict standards at a faster rate, requiring that the 1994 federal levels be implemented in 40 percent of the California fleet by 1993. California will also require 2 percent of their fleet to be zero emission vehicles by 1998 and 10 percent to reach this goal by 2003. These regulatory forces have already had a major impact on automotive product technology and materials usage in several major areas, such as the addition of emission control systems that include materials new to the industry (e.g., noble metal catalysts that simultaneously control HC, CO, and NOx; ceramic honeycomb catalyst supports; and 409 stainless steel converter cans) and the addition of electronic control systems. The initial use of electronic control systems to control the air/fuel ratio for three-way catalysts has resulted in the introduction of: engine control computer systems using
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries FIGURE 2-2: Reduction in state passenger-car tailpipe emissions since 1966 (Source: Ford Motor Company Research Laboratory). sophisticated microprocessors (the automobile industry is now the largest volume purchaser of silicon chip devices); exhaust gas oxygen sensors, containing oxygen ion-conductive ceramic electrolytes; and capacitive pressure sensors, fabricated by micromachining silicon. New catalytic materials, new materials for reliably sensing tailpipe gases, and advanced electronic control systems can reduce tailpipe emissions even further. Disposal Disposal of solid wastes and toxic materials is a growing concern. Landfills are filling up, new sites are difficult to find, and disposal costs are rising rapidly. This will bring increased pressures for recycling regulations in the United States. Germany has proposed laws
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries that will force the automobile industry to buy cars back from the final owner; Ford and BMW have already instituted pilot buy-back programs. There are two main problems hindering recycling and disposal programs. First, automobiles have to be disassembled and the materials separated before recycling in order to prevent contamination and to remove those materials that cannot be recycled. BMW has extensively studied the disassembly of discarded vehicles, and many companies are embracing the newly formed discipline of environmentally conscious design of products and processes. New methods for separating materials are required to ensure the proper disassembly and recycling of materials . Second, many advanced materials simply cannot currently be recycled. Methods are needed to permit the recycling of many of the advanced materials that at present can only be disposed of in land fills. Aircraft Industry Energy In response to the rapid increase in fuel prices experienced in the early 1970s, engine and airframe manufacturers gave increased attention to the energy efficiency of aircraft. Some scenarios projected that the cost of fuel would continue to increase and become a major part (some 40 percent) of aircraft direct operating costs (DOC) during the 1980s. Instead, the price of fuel returned to a relatively stable and low level. Fuel costs still represented in 1990 only roughly 18 percent of DOC (ASEB, 1992), which is still less than half of the earlier estimate. New engines were developed to maximize fuel efficiency and engine durability. However, low initial cost (i.e., not much different than that of mature engines) proved to be a more important attribute in terms of market acceptance. Over the past 25 to 30 years, the fuel efficiency of large commercial aircraft has almost doubled from 40 seat-statute miles per
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries gallon of fuel to approximately 80 for the most recent aircraft (e.g., Boeing 767). Although the importance of fuel costs in the DOC equation has not realized the mid-1970s projection, it cannot be ignored, and the trend toward more efficient airframes (and engines that power them) will continue. Airframe manufacturers require new advanced materials to reduce airframe weight and permit reductions in propulsion energy by 10 to 30 percent. Engines can also be made more efficient by both new designs (e.g., the propfan) and component improvements (e.g., gearboxes, compressors, combustion chambers, and turbines). New materials systems and devices are required to reduce airframe and engine weight and further increase fuel efficiency (Barrett, 1992). As stated in the NASA-sponsored Boeing report on the HSCT: "The data show that, collectively, advanced technology reduces the MTOW [Maximum Takeoff Weight] from 1 million pounds to 745,000 pounds (about 25%) with advanced structures and materials providing the largest single benefit" (Boeing Commercial Airplanes, 1989). Environment Aircraft are minor contributors to pollution (less than 3 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuel use), and the environmental impact of aviation has generally attracted little attention. Nonetheless, since air travel (both international and domestic passenger and freight transport) is one of the fastest growing energy-use sectors, the environmental concern of the effects of combustion products—especially CO and NOx—on the atmosphere at high altitudes (~ 10 km), will become increasingly significant. NOx is already viewed as a principal factor in determining the operational feasibility of the HSCT and a driver of combustion technology. One way to reduce engine emissions is to improve fuel efficiency. Environmental concerns about aircraft emissions will also drive the same improvements in the operational efficiencies of engines and airframes, as discussed in the aircraft Energy section above.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Although the quantity of materials used by the civilian aircraft industry is far less than that used by the automotive industry, specific manufacturing issues relating to environmental impact, safety, and energy that were often treated as being of secondary importance in the past are receiving increased attention. State and federal regulations related to the handling and disposal of toxic materials used during manufacturing (e.g., disposition of spent chemical baths and recycling and scrap disposal) have become far stricter during the past few years. Increased concern for safety and energy savings will drive research for environmentally benign manufacturing processes. Commercial aircraft noise is also subject to strict regulations. For example, the United States has established rules that will require complete phase-out of operations by the early 21st century of jet-powered airplanes that do not meet Stage 3 noise-level standards (Federal A viation Regulation 36). These regulations or noise standards set by local airports place design constraints on new powerplants and require in-service airplanes powered by older design, lower by-pass ratio engines to be retired, re-engined, or retrofitted for noise abatement (e.g., "hushkits" for JT8D-powered airplanes). Noise control compromises engine performance, however, such as by the addition of parasitic weight through the unavoidable use of heavy, acoustically absorbent materials (Marsh, 1991). Research is required for better acoustically absorbent materials and for materials systems and designs for quieter engines. PLANNING AND EXECUTION CYCLES The planning and execution cycles within the two industries also affect the materials selected and the time required to adopt new materials.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Automotive Industry On average, planning for a new vehicle by a U.S. manufacturer begins 62 months before production, advanced engineering begins 56 months before production, and process engineering begins 31 months before production (Clark and Fujimoto, 1989). Thus, new materials and new material processing technologies must be fully developed roughly five years before actual production use. Although competitive pressures are forcing these times to be reduced (overall lead-times are moving from 5 toward 3.5 years), the intense emphasis today on reliability and quality means that the task of developing new automotive materials and processes well in advance of production is more critical than ever. Before any new material or process is approved for production, the company must have high confidence in its reliability, cost, performance, and environmental impact throughout its full cycle of processing, use, service, and disposal. The time required to design and process existing materials is a major component of lead-time. Particularly important is the time required for designing and machining major dies for exterior body panels. In the growing trend to reduce time to market, new materials are typically avoided because of the time and cost required to test them. There is growing confidence in the accuracy of computer assessments of design integrity, but costly and time-consuming testing is still required to verify designs of automotive components and systems. A materials development approach that incorporates increased use of computer simulation can reduce lead-times and costs in the automotive industry. An example of where this has worked is in sheet metal stamping where fundamental considerations of constitutive behavior have been used to speed the design of dies for complex parts through the use of computer simulation (Wang and Tang, 1985).
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Aircraft Industry The acceptance of new materials in the commercial airframe and engine industries is delayed by long planning and execution cycles. The materials for new aircraft and propulsion systems planned for initial operation in 2005 will be frozen during the next two or three years. Preliminary planning for 2015 product systems is underway and broad macroeconomic planning for 2025 can rationally be undertaken. New materials and new material processing technologies for the civil aircraft industry require roughly 2 or 3 times longer to implement than for the automotive industry. Nonetheless, aircraft systems designs push the capabilities of structural materials as no other industry does. The principal factors for structural applications of aircraft materials involve considerations of life-cycle costs, strength-to-weight ratios, fatigue life, fracture toughness, corrosion resistance, and reliability. Even when a newer, more advanced material can apparently be used to some advantage, the issue of safety and service-life warranties bias designs and materials choices toward preexisting materials. This is especially true in civil aircraft. As a result, the use of newer materials is severely inhibited in the commercial sector as far as primary structures are concerned. Because advances are so dependent on significant improvements in materials capabilities, complex design and cost trade-offs are performed. Competing solutions to the same envisioned problem must be explored and evaluated in parallel, with a corresponding multiple-cost impact. Production volume may be so low and lead-time from design to production so long that the selected materials may be a generation or two behind the state of the art before they find real application. Basic materials work should be initiated in anticipation of future system needs even though specific needs may be ill-defined. This work should be done a partnership involving user and supplier industries.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries SUMMARY Although there are some stark differences between the commercial automotive and aircraft industries, the information presented in this chapter reveals many similarities in their current and projected materials needs (Table 2-1). However, the materials solutions will have to be different for the two industries. The civil aircraft industry will require that the materials applications be increasingly met with high-performance new materials, while the automotive industry will continue to require the lowest-cost materials to keep the product universally available. Chapters 3 and 4 detail the future materials research priorities for both of these industries.
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Materials Research Agenda for the Automotive and Aircraft Industries Table 2-1 Comparison of the Four Primary Forces Driving Materials Research within the Civil Aircraft and Automotive Industries. Automotive Industry Civil Aircraft Industry Manufacturing Rates Readily available supply of materials required. Materials capable of high processing rates. Materials capable of low amortized tooling costs. High reliability/quality of finished parts/assemblies. Fabricated component cost must be low (i.e., <$5 per pound). Stable supplier base for advanced materials required. High reliability/quality of finished parts/assemblies. Materials tied to customer requirements/cost issues. Materials cost must meet $300/lb for civil transport aircraft. Global Competition Increasingly internationally competitive field. Product must be affordable to large/diverse market. Impact of changing commercial market causing shift to ''niche'' production. New concepts/designs will demand new materials. New materials required to improve performance/quality/reliability. New materials must offer clear advantages. Increasingly internationally competitive field. Product must meet customer requirements/cost issues. Impact of growing commercial travel market causing demand for new aircraft (i.e., HSCT). New concepts/designs will demand new materials. Improvement of performance/safety/reliability will require new, less forgiving material combinations. New materials must offer clear advantages. Societal and Regulatory Constraints More stringent regulations will drive new materials for emissions/fuel economy at low cost. Reduced weight for fuel economy. Normal operations must meet safety/environmental regulations. Finished products must be environmentally stable. Methods for recycling many materials required. Environmental/recycling concerns will drive reliance on leading "materials R&D power curve". More efficient airframes/engines for fuel economy. Normal operations must meet safety/environmental regulations. New aircraft needs structurally/environmentally stable, high-temperature materials. Execution Cycles New materials must be developed 5-years prior to production. New materials must show improvements in life cycle reliability/cost/performance/environmental effects. New materials must fit into existing processes to meet production cycle and minimize added cost. New materials must be developed 10–15 years prior to production. New process/manufacturing paradigms require early introduction of material constraints into design. Greater reliance on rapid introduction of intelligent processing of materials.
Representative terms from entire chapter: