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Advanced Technology of_Automotive Front-End


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Advanced Technology of_Automotive Front-End

  1. 1. Advanced technology of automotive front-endBefore the advent of European sports cars being imported to the United States, highways inthat country were traversed by large heavy hulks of automobiles that somewhat jokinglyheld the reputation of being like Sherman tanks. Everything was heavy about them, frompower train to the knobs on the radio. Up to the very recent past cars were manufacturedfrom the ground-up in one assembly line; nothing really had changed from the time of HenryFord in the very early 1900s. In other areas of manufacturing, especially electronics,miniaturization and modulations were becoming watchwords, as more attention was beingpaid to the need to have space and conserve natural resources.Europe and Japan already realized that there needed to be a change in how automobileswere being manufactured, as peoples in these regions already were experiencing high fuelcosts, and they were living in much more crowded areas. It was only logical to bring inmanufacturing practices to the automobile industry, and the first wave of that came withEuropean “sports cars” and economy cars. The U.S. lagged by at least ten years, introducingsimilar but inferior models, such as the Chevette and Pinto in the early 1970s. The Mustangand the Camero, albeit smaller than their larger predecessors, still weren’t as small as theToyota Corolla of 1971, Honda Civic, fiat Spider, or the VW Beetle. They certainly don’t rankin the category of “compact” or “economy” cars, as a visit to any major parking lot, rentalcar agency, or street in Europe or Japan will immediately reveal.Europe and Japan also led the way to modularization, as well as miniaturization, front-endmodules (FEM) being a major step forward. Two major factors driving FEM developmentwere the need for weight reduction, brought on by increasing fuel costs, and the observationthat vehicle assembly procedures were bulky and inefficient. Smaller cars demand lightercomponents, simply because the engines are not as powerful.Material density and size are the main factors contributing to weight and strength. The maingoal in design to make a material less dense and miniaturized, while retaining functionalityand durability. However, overall cost of manufacturer still is the baseline consideration bymost manufacturers. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations [1] also will be afactor. These U.S. regulations were enacted in 1975 in response to the 1973 Arab oilembargo and mandated auto manufacturers to construct vehicles with lower fuel usage. 1------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  2. 2. Three basic ways of constructing a front-end module (FEM) are using current materials,(mainly metal), all non-metal (mainly composites), or a combination of both. The centralgoal is to have a lower weight but stronger assembly that is durable but environmentallyfriendly. FEMS initially has a steel carrier but developments in composite design have helpedtransition construction from a hybrid design to more composite-based assemblies.Material and weight considerationsLift up the suspension and steering assemblies of the front-end and you’ll realize that theyare one of the heaviest assemblies of the automobile. Only the engine and transmissionweigh more (and the differential in older cars). Just about every part contributes to theweight, but of particular notice are brake assemblies (particularly rotors and callipers), balljoints, power-assisted steering units, and the material out of which the linkage is made –usually dense steel. Plastics, metal alloys, ceramics, and composites are changing all that.PlasticsPlastics saw their advent with Bois Durci (French for "hardened wood") in 1855, made fromfinely ground cellulose together with an adherent, such as egg or blood albumen, orgelatine. The mixture is compressed to a dense form using steam. Synthetic ivory was underthe trade name of Parkesine and won an award at the 1`862 World’s Fair in London. This ismade by treating cellulose with nitric acid (part of the process making nitroglycerine) anddissolving this cellulose nitrate, or pyroxilin, in alcohol and hardened by heating it. Bakelitewas invented in 1912 by Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American and was the firstplastic, not being created from molecules not found in nature. World War I brought polyvinylchloride, with polyamide (nylon) following in the 1930s, and hosts of other during andfollowing World War II. Synthetic rubber saw its advent in that war, and since then, we havedeveloped a plethora of synthetic materials, including biodegradables and organic-synthetics. Which then are used in making cars lighter and stronger? Surely, anything lighterand stronger than the present usually metal-based materials is better.Thermoplastic resins provide the material most commonly used in the most commonmatrices that are filled with polypropylene (PP) and nylon polyamide (PA). Early FEMmaterials consisted of compression moldable glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) 2------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  3. 3. composites with chopped-fiber matting. Plastics manufacturing in other applications wasusing injection molding, and this technology was transferred to FEMs, along with pelletizedlong fiber thermoplastics (LFT), the first being PA, and winding up with PA. Currently, thereis inline-compounded (ILC) injection, or compression-molded direct-LFT (D-LFT) as a majormaterial of choice [2]. D-LFT process (compression): D-LFT (or S-LFT) process (injection): Compression moulding after in-line Injection moulding after in-line compounding with glass rovings. compounding with glass rovings. [3]For lighter cars, manufacturers like Mercedes and Hyundi are using injection-moulded pelletized LFT-PP for their all-composite FEMs. These FEMs have the capability ofdeforming better, thus preserving the main part of the car during a crash. LFT also providesthe needed stiffness and allows for the creation of mounting points for system components.Fiber reinforced plasticsEveryone has heard of fiber glass and knows that strands of a material mixed with any othersubstance that hardens in a homogeneous way will strengthen it. This is the principle behindfiber reinforced plastics. Not only is the substance lighter than metal, it often can be just asstrong or stronger. At the Shanghai Auto Show this year, the Chinese displayed an all-plasticfront-end module (FEM) made out of a long glass fiber polypropylene (LGFPP) resin. Theirclaim is that the weight reduction is about 40%. 3------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  4. 4. All Plastic FEM [3]The American Chemistry Council says of fiber reinforced plastics:Fiber-reinforced polymer composite materials weigh around 50 percent less than steel,though according to a carbon fiber manufacturer, they are characterized by a higherabsorption of crush energy per kilogram — 100 kJ/kg, compared to steel’s 25 kJ/kg. Onimpact, carbon fibers can have four to five times higher energy absorption than steel oraluminium [5].Such materials are designed to break crack so as to use up impact energy. The Councilasserts, “An automotive front-end section built from glass-fiber-reinforced polymercomposites passed a key 35 mph barrier crash test performed by the AutomotiveComposites Consortium (ACC), a research partnership established by DaimlerChrysler, Ford,and General Motors [6].”MetalsLight weight metals (such as magnesium and aluminum), alloys and metal structures, suchas tubes, being injected with plastics, such as polyphenylene ether/polyamide (PPE/PA)blend for strength, are being used in lie of conventional metals. Compressible steel reducesthe consequences of vehicle object/person impact are designed to meet regulations, such asthe European Pedestrian Impact Phase Two Standards that took effect in 2010. Magnesiumis mixed with aluminum and then formed into geometric structures that have equivalent 4------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  5. 5. strength to older designs using conventional steel [7]. Too, with the design of a collapsiblefront as an ultimate shock absorber, the need for conventional metals and solid construction,with attendant heavy weight, is no longer needed or even wanted, the result being a lighter(often to more than a third of the weight of a regular component) and safer car.Magnesium, itself, is strong and durable, as well as being lightweight, so as to hold radiatorand front-hood latching mechanism. The metal is cheaper than plastics, is fully recyclable,and obviously doesn’t rely on petroleum [8]. Of course, everyone knows about “magwheels”, and simply lifting one up and comparing it to the weight of a conventional wheelwill be convincing enough in arguing for using magnesium as a way to make cars lighter. Asa general consideration, magnesium is used for making engine blocks, and considering thestrength needed for that component, it is easily seen that it would be satisfactory for front-end components, as well.In its undated report, “Lightweight Front End Structure”, the Auto/Steel Partnershiporganization presents front-end rail and bumper construction that significantly reducesweight but sustains crashes just as well as conventional materials. By stamping inreinforcement geometry, with thinner metals, there is significant weight loss but strength asin conventional designs [9]. In addition, strength in the parts is manufactured as needed,rather than having a uniform density.Example of reinforcement by geometry Different strengths of a rail [10] 5------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  6. 6. Hybrid materialsHeavier vehicles cannot be constructed from purely composite materials, as the technologyhas not been developed to the point of lowering the cost of construction. Consequently, whatwe see is a reliance on GMTs. Research is continuing to develop composites with thestrength of conventional metals. Developments in adhesives have accelerated FEM designand construction.Plastics and metals are being united to create building material for components [11].Where plastics cannot supplant metal in order to reduce weight, the metal can surely beused with the plastic. In one process, metal is drilled with holes and plastic reinforced withfibers uses them into which to hold when covering the metal part [12]. Want to learn more about current technologies and developments in automotive front-end? Visit our download centre for more articles, whitepapers and interviews: is indicated by URL – accessed 22 August 2011)[1][2][3] Courtesy of[4];jsessionid=9AD213EBDB025E2FD69077E5DC86E890.9OphEwv4[5], p. 2[6] ibid.[7][8] 6------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences:
  7. 7. [9][10][11][12] (Subject is indicated by URL – accessed 22 August 2011);jsessionid=9AD213EBDB025E2FD69077E5DC86E890.9OphEwv4 – SuperLight Car - Magnesium IQPC:IQPC provides tailored conferences, large events, seminars and internal training programmes formanagers around the world. Topics include current information on industry trends, technicaldevelopments and regulatory rules and guidelines. IQPCs conferences are market leading events,highly regarded for their opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas for professionals from variousindustries.IQPC has offices in major cities across six continents including: Berlin, Dubai, London, New York, SaoPaulo, Singapore, Johannesburg, Sydney and Toronto. IQPC leverages a global research base of bestpractices to produce an unrivaled portfolio of problem-solving conferences. Each year IQPC offersapproximately 2,000 worldwide conferences, seminars, and related learning programs. 7------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ IQPC GmbH | Friedrichstr. 94 | D-10117 Berlin, Germany t: +49 (0) 30 2091 3330 | f: +49 (0) 30 2091 3263 | e: | w: Visit IQPC for a portfolio of topic-related events, congresses, seminars and conferences: