Hybrix is a unique lightweight material made from thin microfiber-laminated metal sheets. It can be used as facade material, in interiors, and in many other applications. Compared to traditional metal half the weight can be saved, and much of the environmental impact.
”There is increasing demand for lighter products in many industries. Low weight is paramount for efficiency and reduced environmental impact. It is important for the Swedish industry to be at the forefront in lightweight development to be able to compete on the global market”, says Bengt Nilsson, CEO of Lamera AB.
Groundbreaking sandwich material
”During the last ten years, we have been developing a Volvo concept further: a lightweight material based on cutting-edge lamination technology. It has potential to revolutionize the sheet metal industry, similar to the impact fiberboard had on the wood-processing industry”, Bengt Nilsson says.
”The formable, composite sandwich material called Hybrix™ is a unique, patented product. The material meets high standards for stiffness, strength and precision, with reduced environmental impact.”
”The facade is important in modern construction. Hybrix offers the same advantages as traditional metal facades, but fewer drawbacks. Our material can reduce the weight of a facade by half, while improving functionality, appearance and design freedom. The total cost is not higher. According to an assessment by Chalmers University of Technology, the product has 15 – 50 percent less environmental impact than steel, aluminium or copper throughout the life of the product”, Bengt says.
Hybrix is a patented technology. The reduced weight is because of the material’s sandwich construction: thin sheets of metal on the outside, with air and microfibers in between. The sheets are 1 – 2 millimeter thick, and the fibres provide strenght and flexibility. In construction, Hybrix can be used as facade panels, ceiling panels and elevator interior walls, for example. There are also many applications in consumer electronics, vehicles and medical technology industry, such as transport containers, trolleys and cabinets, and interior components.
Simulations improve development time
”Simulation tools makes it possible to define the limits and possibilities of the material. Customers have strict requirements, and it is important for Lamera to be able to demonstrate how Hybrix performs in various constructions. A computer-aided forming simulator which was evaluated in a project within the Swedish multi-sectorial lightweight arena LIGHTer demonstrated that we could deliver a product in 6 – 7 weeks instead of 6 – 7 months. We are now able to deliver 300 000 sqm annually, with high precision in the properties of the material”.
The LIGHTer arena is a a national concerted cross-industry effort to promote and develop lightweight technology and solutions in Sweden, coordinated by the research group Swerea. More than half of the total Swedish export value is estimated to be lightweight technology, and approximately 10 billion SEK worth of research and development is conducted annually in the Swedish lightweight sector. More than 300 organizations have joined the initiative since 2013.
”The LIGHTer project was important for us, paving the way for a shorter time-to-market strategy. The material is a sandwich construction with different kinds of materials laminated together, and our results can help other suppliers of new lightweight materials too. We have recently started production in a new facility called ALFA-line. Lamera can now supply the construction, electronics and vehicle industries with large volumes of material”, Bengt Nilsson says.
The article was published in August 2018.