Watch: Design-for-manufacturing and light-weighting move to the top of the agenda

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This livestream investigates how designers and engineers at Ford, Gestamp and key suppliers are using innovative materials and creating light-weight architectures, including for models like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Maverick compact truck.

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Reducing weight in vehicle structures and components has taken on a new level of importance with the shift to electric powertrains and a growing focus on sustainability in manufacturing. Addressing this challenge, designers and manufacturing engineers have a range of proven and emerging materials to work with that offer the required combination of strength and low weight for body structures and exteriors, whilst there are an increasing array of options for sustainable, light-weight materials and technology for interiors. Optimising the material mix, design and application in a vehicle’s architecture is a key factor both in the performance of electric cars and in maintaining efficient, low-carbon production.

These opportunities in materials, combined with compressed development time for new vehicles, are also requiring much closer collaboration across vehicle design, engineering and production than ever before. Design teams are more closely integrated with production engineers across an OEM and key suppliers, and are using tools such as rapid prototyping, digital simulation and virtual reality to test and validate structures and changes for production. 

This livestream Hour, brought to you by Car Design News and Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, features leading designers, engineers and materials specialists at Ford, Gestamp, SSAB and ArcelorMittal presenting case studies on recent vehicle launches and innovation on light-weighting and materials, and in a panel discussion. 

Two leading designers from Ford, Elvir Mesalic and Scott Anderson provide exclusive insight into light-weighting considerations and innovations in two of the carmaker’s most important new vehicle models, the electric pickup Ford F-150 Lightning, and the new Ford Maverick hybrid compact truck. In both cases, lead Ford designers worked closely with engineering teams to bring material and light-weighting innovations to the exterior and interior, and make sure they were optimal for production as well. 

Paul Belanger, director of Gestamp’s North America R&D Center, provides insights on the automotive supplier’s advances in body and materials engineering.

Specialists at steel suppliers SSAB and ArcelorMittal, meanwhile, discuss materials processes and digital tools for light-weight body construction and materials application in automotive manufacturing. 

This episode features the following segments of interviews, presentations and panel discussions:

  • Minutes 0.00 - 6.00 – Insight on the drivers and challenges for light-weighting vehicles for car design and manufacturing – Christopher Ludwig and Nick Holt, AMS
  • Minutes 6.00 - 15.30 – How Ford used design-for-manufacturing to light-weight interiors and simplify production processes for the Maverick truck – Scott Anderson, Ford
  • Minutes 15.30 - 25.00 – Designing and integrating the ’Mega Frunk’ in the F-150 Lightning, including engineering and manufacturing challenges – Elvir Mesalic, Ford
  • Minutes 25.00 - 32.00 – Q&A with Scott Anderson and Elvir Mesalic, Ford
  • Minutes 32.00 - 46.00 – Optimising design and manufacture for high-strength steels – Robert Ström, SSAB
  • Minutes 46.00 - 58.00 – Strengthening body structures with light-weight materials – Paul Belanger, Gestamp
  • Minutes 58.00 - 74.00 – Optimising body-in-white structures and manufacturing – Jérôme Favero, ArcelorMittal
  • Minutes 74.00 - 107.00 – Panel discussion


Elvir Mesalic, Senior Exterior Designer, Ford Motor Company
Scott Anderson, Lead Interior Designer SUVs and Trucks, Ford Motor Company
Paul Belanger, Director, North American R&D Center, Gestamp
Robert Ström, Automotive Design Specialist, SSAB
ArcelorMittal TBC

In partnership with ArcelorMittal and SSAB

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