Move over heavy metal! With
cars becoming more and more lighter and fuel efficient, ContiTech Vibration
Control – the strut mount specialist based in Hanover in Germany – has
developed a strut mount in which fiberglass-reinforced BASF Ultramid polyamide
is also used as the primary structural component. It is the first strut mount
made of this material, which is used both at the front and rear axle in the
chassis environment of passenger cars. The strut mount offers significant
advantages over traditional variants made from steel or aluminum: a weight
reduction of around 25 percent and a longer service life. At the same time, a
highly insulating rubber element enhances ride comfort. In collaboration with
General Motors LLC, ContiTech developed the strut mount for the new Cadillac
CT6, which is set to be launched on the market at the end of 2015.
“High-performance plastics are the material of
the future in the automotive industry,” says Kai Frühauf, who heads ContiTech
Vibration Control. “Thanks to our many years of experience and extensive
materials expertise, we are among the top partners when it comes to innovative
new developments with this material. This strut mount designed for passenger
car bodies represents another step forward,” he added.
In passenger cars, the spring
strut mount is the interface between the spring strut and body. It enables
precise and low-friction rotational movement of the spring strut in the front
of the vehicle, thereby ensuring optimum contact of the tyre to the road. The
vehicle is easier to steer.
As a chassis component, it is subjected to
extreme stress. Spray water, road salt, sand, gravel, and vibrations can cause
the spring strut to wear. If it is no longer fully functional, the shock
absorbers – among other things – are more highly stressed. Vibrations and noise
from the axles are more pronounced, resulting in reduced ride comfort.
The new two-section,
three-path bearing from ContiTech comprises both fiberglass-reinforced
polyamide and aluminum components. This brand-new design can even withstand
shock loading as high as 75 kN, equivalent to driving a car along a badly
potholed road. The strut mount also ensures that only minimal counter torque
acts on the shock absorber. This component too is subjected to less stress
which, in turn, enhances safety in the vehicle.
The new strut mount from ContiTech also enhances ride comfort. This highly
durable, extremely comfortable, and innovative strut mount was developed in
close cooperation with the customer. “Key to success was the early integration
of our customer in the development process, which meant that we were involved
in system design right from the outset and could contribute our specialist
experience,” reports Stefan Wöhler, a developer at ContiTech Vibration
ContiTech Vibration Control
has been developing light weight products, using BASF Ultramid material, for
the automotive industry since 2006. Product solutions include heavy-duty engine
mounts, with the annual production volume in 2013 exceeding three million. In
2009ContiTech Vibration Control also launched a lightweight transmission cross
member from the lightweight material to support the forces and torques of the
engine transmission unit. The weight is 50 percent less compared to an aluminum
component. In 2014, ContiTech presented the first rear axle transmission cross
member made from this high-performance polyamide. ContiTech has already
delivered millions of torque rod supports and torque reaction mounts made from
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