Metal-plastic hybrid components

New process combination for manufacturing metal-plastic composites

© Fraunhofer IWU
Metal-plastic composite

Metal-plastic hybrid components have become established due to the increasing requirements in the field of automotive lightweight design in recent years. They mainly consist of a thin-walled metal structure in combination with suitably formed plastic areas for reinforcement.

Currently the manufacturing of such components is divided into the production of the metal components and the production of the plastic components, which implies a high level of labor and cost. Within the framework of the federal excellence cluster “MERGE – technologies for multifunctional lightweight structures” integrated processes are developed, enabling more cost-effective manufacturing of hybrid components. In this project two different process combinations are investigated for manufacturing metal-plastic hybrid components. Sheet-based components are realized by applying a combination of deep drawing, plastic injection molding and active media-based forming using the plastic melt. Tube-based components are generated by combining HF of a profile component and encapsulation with plastic in a single tool.

  • Process combination of deep drawing, injection molding and forming with the melt
  • Process combination HF injection molding
  • Forming of composite materials

  • Components and processes become more and more complex
  • Production of hybrid components in one shot (metal forming and plastic injection molding in one tool)
  • Development of production-oriented tool and plant technology for complex process combinations from a single source

Development of process chains

  • Market analysis
  • Investigation of process chains
  • Process optimization
  • Cost-benefit calculation
  • Development and realization of manufacturing concepts
  • Planning and technological dimensioning of processes, tools and machines

Development and evaluation of forming strategies

  • Market analysis
  • Feasibility studies
  • Technology development
  • Development of characteristic process values and optimal forming strategies
  • Benchmarking
  • Numerical simulation
  • Manufacturing of prototypes

Quality assurance

  • Process monitoring and control

Machine technology

  • HF press DUNKES HS3-1500 (max. closing force: 15,000 kN; max. active media pressure: 120 MPa (gas) or 700 MPa (HFA fluid))
  • HF press Schuler SHP 50000 (max. closing force: 50,000 kN; max. active media pressure: 120 MPa (gas) or 400 MPa (HFA fluid))
  • Peripherals (system for induction heating, chamber furnaces, robots, 10 kW cooling unit and electrical die heating)
  • Indirect extrusion press (non-ferrous metal press), pressing force 6.3 MN, billet diameter 100 mm, max. cross-section 50 mm


  • CAD: Catia V5, PTC Creo, Inventor
  • FEM simulation: Autoform, PamStamp, LS Dyna, Abaqus, Deform, Ansys

Testing technology

  • Coordinate measuring instrument PRISMO7S-ACC (ZEISS)
  • Various optical and contact measuring devices for roughness and profiles
  • White light interferometer, ITO Stuttgart University
  • Confocal microscope, ITO Stuttgart University
  • Scanning electron microscope, LEO Oberkochen; stereomicroscope
  • EDX system, Oxford Instruments
  • Optical measuring station UBM
  • Form measuring instrument F2002, HOMMEL
  • Ultrasonic wall thickness gauges
  • Profile projector PJ300