If automakers are to comply with stringent CO2 emissions regulations that will come into force in 2025, power transmission systems, whether traditional, hybrid or full-power, need to lose weight.
Composites will play an important role in achieving this goal.
This is an important message delivered by Vyncolit and Sumitomo Bakelite, a specialist in thermoset plastics, in the light weight composites solutions conference in Ghent, Belgium. The automotive industry is at a turning point, with increasingly stringent CO2 emissions regulations driving cars that use conventional internal combustion engines to turn to hybrids or all-electric power transmission systems. In an electric car, the power transmission system weighs 32% of the car's total weight.
This reduction means that such vehicles can travel farther after a single charge, and allow smaller, cheaper batteries to be used. Pieter Vanderstraeten, managing director of Vyncolit NV, said that all OEMs had a lot of work to do in the next 6-7 years and that lightweighting would be the key to achieving those goals. Regardless of the power transmission system, for electric vehicles, the means to achieve real mass production of electric motors are limited and there are few standardized technologies, and the demand for regenerative technology, small city cars and driverless cars will change the braking technology requirements.
All of this presents opportunities for lightweight composite solutions. Kimio Nishimura, general manager of Nissan's powertrain technology and prototyping division, outlined the OEM's medium-term plan--m.o.v.e to 2022. To meet CO2 emissions targets, the company is accelerating the electrification of its vehicles. He highlighted the need for compact, efficient and powerful motors, as well as the application of heat-resistant, thermally conductive and low-dielectric materials in these structures.
Sumitomo Bakelite has developed a wide range of material combinations and processing technologies that enable its partners to not only reduce the weight of components in powertrain systems, but also to save costs by integrating multiple functions into a single component with plastic. Lars-fredrik Berg of Fraunhofer ICT spoke about the Demil project, with the goal of developing cooled motors in an integrated lightweight housing to deliver power on a consistent basis Sumitomo The Bakelite provides a high-fill, low-viscosity epoxy resin that is used to cover the stator of a molded motor. The formation of passages in this transfer molding process helps to cool the active substance, thus helping to produce motors with a high weight-to-power output.
There is also a lightweight application space in the internal combustion engine that allows composites to work. Robert Bosch's composites team leader, Gerrit Hülder, introduced the company's research into replacing aluminum fuel pumps with parts made from plastics.
The replacement of this material not only reduces the weight by 40%, but also lowers the cost by 30% by reducing the number of components.