How are fastening methods being used to reduce weight in the automotive industry?

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

The need to reduce weight in automotive design is an ongoing obsession for the industry that shows no signs of abating. Where every gram counts, then, it should come as no surprise that fastening methods are as much a focus for lightweighting as any other; a fact that has led to some interesting technological developments.

Against this backdrop, the trend towards hybrid and electric vehicles continues, with constant pressure from the marketplace for cleaner, more efficient cars and cost reductions wherever possible. As a result there is a premium being put on manufacturers to design and produce ever lighter, more efficient and more aerodynamic vehicles.

One method for this is the rise of the use of adhesive tapes in the automotive industry. The benefits of adhesive tapes are that they are clean, light and strong. From a process and performance perspective, they help to simplify assembly operations and offer overall aesthetic and quality benefits to improve many product designs. In addition, the equal distribution of stress across a bond area means no weaknesses are present and a powerful bond is formed, ensuring the best design solution

As one of the leading providers of adhesive tape technologies, tesa offers an extensive range of performance enhancing solutions for the sector.

A wide range of exterior parts require reliable bonding of individual components, as well as permanent attachment to the vehicle. tesa's range of double-sided tapes for mounting exterior parts offer outstanding resilience to external factors such as moisture, UV radiation and temperature fluctuations.

The secure bonding of different materials is also needed in the interior, for example on the headliner, in the seats, or on the dashboard. With its double sided tapes, tesa is helping automotive designers respond to the latest trends and bring their interior designs to life, providing secure bonding on the diverse substrates often used in interiors, while ensuring noise damping – an essential element in guaranteeing customer satisfaction, product differentiation and elimination of re-working costs.

Another lightweight fastening solution comes from Philips' Mortorq Super high-strength internal drive. Manufactured and distributed by TR Fastenings, this innovative system provides the lowest head height possible while reducing overall weight. Furthermore, in transmission applications the Mortorq Super drive has provided excellent tool life, yielding a six-time increase that has resulted in fewer line stoppages for tool changes and greater productivity.

Other new innovations include Phillips' new External Mortorq Super bolt, which was originally designed for the aerospace industry, but is quickly gaining applications in the automotive market. The reduced head height and weight of the External Mortorq Super bolt provides superior torque transfer that is optimised in the removal direction to assure ease of service in the aftermarket (the bolt head design is also compatible with common hex and bi-hex sockets) and at end of vehicle life.

In addition to manufacturing the Phillips Drive Systems at its factories in the Far East, TR's application engineers are working closely with its Automotive Tier 1 customers at its design and engineering centres in Europe, Asia and the USA, providing support on their use in numerous automotive applications, including car seats, cockpit modules, PowerTrain, door and instrument panels, steering systems, chassis and transmissions, as well as engines and brakes.

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