Industry News

Continental & aft automotive to Form JV for Plastics-based Couplings Production

Published on 2020-08-17. Edited By : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Rubber Replacement      Automotive    

continental-couplings-plastic Continental and aft automotive to form a joint venture to manufacture couplings made of high-performance plastics for the future of mobility. The partners have signed a relevant agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture. This successful development partnership is now being further expanded by setting up a joint venture.

High-performance Plastics for Rubber Replacement

Up till now, line systems have often been made of rubber or stainless steel. Especially in vehicles with hybrid drives or electric motors, though, there is a growing trend towards replacing rubber with premium technical plastics. This has allowed the developers to achieve further weight reductions while simultaneously improving performance.

Plastic components reduce vehicle weight and thus help lower fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions. At the same time, the downsizing of space in IC engines is changing the demands on connectors and lines because lighter, quieter and higher-power drives result in increased pressure and thermal loads. For example, auxiliary unit components in the latest generation of IC engines must withstand continuous temperatures of 160 degrees Celsius for over 3,000 hours with temperature peaks of up to 210 degrees Celsius. High-performance plastics such as heat-stabilized polyamides are able to meet these demands in full.

“Our components for safety-related systems are manufactured fully automatically and undergo extremely rigorous product tests; these ensure operational reliability, durability and efficiency. We have access to every system in-house ranging from a state-of-the-art 3D printer for prototyping to the test area for series production. Our joint venture will combine our know-how and experience in the future,” declares aft founder and CEO Dirk Kramer.

Thermal Management for Range of E-vehicles

Unlike conventional vehicles, electric vehicles require multiple cooling circuits with sophisticated thermal management. Batteries in electric vehicles achieve optimum operating efficiency at temperatures between 20 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius. This temperature span enables long ranges, allows the batteries to work more efficiently and extends battery lifetimes. For that reason, in similar fashion to drive and power components, the batteries have to be either cooled or heated, depending on the outside temperature. That results in complex circuits that significantly increase the demands on the individual components. The weight of the new hose generation is also being further reduced. Smaller line cross-sections, for instance on the high-pressure side and in the battery cooling system, mean that less coolant is needed when compared with previous systems.

The right mixture of rubber, polyamide and aluminum materials and an ingenious line geometry ensure the system has adequate inherent stability. Special lines and couplings made of high-performance plastics are developed for this. Lines and connectors remain vital lifelines in cars – both for hybrid and electric vehicles and for IC engines which is a major contribution to the future of mobility.

“No lines, no hoses, no future mobility. Our lines and connectors remain vital lifelines in cars – both for hybrid and electric vehicles and for IC engines,” said Philip Nelles, head of the Mobile Fluid Systems business unit and therefore responsible for automotive lines and hoses at Continental. Nelles adds “The close collaborative partnership with aft automotive will enhance our skills as a system supplier and enable us to consistently expand our technological expertise in high-performance plastics for the future. The new company is planned to create more than 30 new jobs by 2025. Completion of the joint venture is subject to the approval of the relevant anti-trust authorities.

Source: Continental
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