Intensifying the cooperation between the automotive and aerospace sectors


Novel advanced materials solutions for affordable lightweight to meet automotive and aerospace makers’ needs

RIGHTWEIGHT is an Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) project that will intensify the cooperation between the automotive and aerospace sectors for reaching environmental and affordability targets. The project will apply lightweight solutions to make transport greener. The environmental performance and affordability targets could be reached by leveraging the unique expertise of automotive and aerospace since each sector excels in 1 area where the other could learn from.

SME suppliers of automotive and aerospace parts in NWE encounter severe challenges to define optimal lightweighting: automotive struggles to integrate the most advanced materials; aerospace, to reach acceptable costs and production speeds. Each sector uniquely excels in specific areas: e.g. automotive lead automated mass manufacturing and aerospace, materials performance. To effectively adopt feasible lightweight solutions, more affordable and environmentally-friendly innovations must be co-developed across the value chain: market-pull from demand side will stimulate a competitiveness increase of supplier SMEs while contributing to reducing overall CO2 transport emissions.

RIGHTWEIGHT will support 50+ manufacturing SMEs in automotive and aerospace value chains to deliver components meeting car/aircraft makers’ needs. 20+ novel lightweight products will be incubated to TRL7 by 2022, improving environmental performance and greater value-for-money via an open cross-sectorial innovation process combining educational activities and transnational thematic competitions in 5 cross-cutting areas within lightweight:

1. Materials supply & development
2. Characterisation & modelling
3. Design & smart functions
4. Manufacturing & assembly
5. Recycling. Partners will provide dedicated training in specialized complementary field labs.

5 countries with automotive and aerospace relevance (RIS3) will be involved, leveraging leader-follower synergies: FR (aero), DE and BE (auto), NL (both), and IT (strong in both). 50+ end-users (large demand actors) from 7 regions are already committed (assoc. part.). RIGHTWEIGHT will pioneer to stimulate cross-sectoral transfer between actors now operating in one value chain with dedicated transnational sessions (also inviting peer projects) and a novel database of success cases. We will anchor €10M turnover & 100 jobs in NWE while generating €2M turnover & 50 jobs by 2022.

The need for RIGHTWEIGHT

In both automotive and aerospace value chains, part suppliers in North-West Europe (NWE) struggle with sector-specific challenges that hamper their competitiveness: components in aerospace need to be produced at lower costs and at higher speeds while automotive components need to be lighter.
Currently, there are no cross-sectoral cooperative agreements between companies, so technologies can’t be reinvented. Cross-cutting solutions have been identified but not yet fully exploited.

A large number of companies concentrate on NWE, from suppliers to car/aircraft makers, and SMEs represent about 99%. NWE regions face the risk of losing competitiveness against emerging economies unless they can deliver affordable yet environmentally performing solutions.

The RIGHTWEIGHT project aims to find lightweight solutions with improved environmental and affordability criteria. These solutions, either products and/or technologies, are aimed to be co-developed by SMEs from both sectors in close collaboration with car and aircraft makers. To do so, the project will organise 2 rounds of challenge-based competitions arranged in 5 categories, corresponding to the selected five cross-cutting areas within lightweight detailed above.

Participating SMEs will have the chance to present their solutions to challenges and the winning ones will receive dedicated transnational support through training materials and access to specialised field labs. More than 50 SMEs will be supported with at least 20 of them co-developing solutions to TRL 7, meeting car/aircraft makers’ needs. Furthermore, the project will engage with 100 additional SMEs via educational programmes.

RIGHTWEIGHT will set up a transnational ecosystem involving companies from both sectors and across NWE regions that will seek to foster the creation of synergies and opportunities. This will consist of an online platform enabling an open collaborative business environment and the sharing of best practices.

The Partnership 

  • Lead partner, Saxion Hogeschool
  • Project partner, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie – Institut für Produktentwicklung (IPEK)
  • Project partner, Flanders Make
  • Project partner, POLYMERIS – Pôle de Compétitivité des Caoutchoucs, Plastiques & Composites
  • Project partner, Cluster NanoMikroWerkstoffePhotonik. NRW c/o NMWP Management GmbH
  • Project partner, AutomotiveNL
  • Project partner, IMAST – Distretto Sull’ingegneria Diemateriali Polimerici E Compositi Estrutture Scarl




For more information, contact: communication@elcanetwork.eu

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