Keeping together what belongs together

Lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions – the road that stretches before the automotive industry is clearly mapped out. Whether the journey to climate-friendly is taken with the combustion or electric engine, lightweight design plays a major role. With friction inserts, Freudenberg Performance Materials offers a twice-awarded innovation that facilitates the design of weight-reduced compact components.

In the engine, powertrain, or chassis: Wherever components in the vehicle are connected to each other in bolted or press-fitted joints, friction inserts make it possible to transmit distinctly higher torques and forces. Precision-designed for their intended use, they increase the static friction co-efficient between two components and permanently hold the components together. 

“Friction inserts from Freudenberg Performance Materials consist of an ultra-thin special nonwoven coated on one side with hard particles,” explains Sabastian Klein, Sales Manager New Business Development at Freudenberg Performance Materials.  “The size of the particles used is adapted to the specific application.”

These particles penetrate the two surfaces to be connected and create a permanently resilient micro interlock – even with corrosion-coated components. Thanks to its porous structure, the nonwoven backing blends into the joint and disappears into the micrometer-fine surface roughness.

Material utilization is significantly reduced

Friction enhancement using friction inserts has many benefits. For bolted joints, the number and/or size of bolts can be minimized. And, overall, components can be made smaller and lighter, while maintaining the same performance. The technology is therefore ideal when it comes to downsizing in the automotive industry.

Technology is a decisive influence

Tobias Speth, Application Engineer at Freudenberg Performance Materials states: “Our technology will have a decisive influence on the economical, reliable and sustainable design of vehicle units for hybrid, electric and hydrogen vehicles. Thanks to significant weight savings, our friction inserts have also already made a contribution to extending the range of electric vehicles.”

Thanks to significant weight savings, our friction inserts have also already made a contribution to extending the range of electric vehicles.

Tobias Speth, Application Engineer at Freudenberg Performance Materials

Another added value for the customer

Another added value for the customer: As part of a cost-efficient carry-over parts strategy, the customer can access the same components in different vehicle models – customized friction inserts allow component joints to be easily designed for the relevant load case. For example, standard wheel bearings fitted with friction inserts proved to be able to smoothly transmit higher torques in the high-performance model of a vehicle series, minimizing development and tooling costs.

Freudenberg Performance Materials varies the size and number of hard particles applied to the carrier nonwoven. At the same time, friction inserts pave the way for new lightweight material combinations – for example aluminum and plastics. They also offer added value when it comes to ride comfort. Friction enhancement prevents relative motion and therefore the associated noise, which plays a key role when it comes to quietly cruising electric vehicles.

Wind power applications

Friction inserts are used primarily in the automotive industry. However, their advantages are not limited to passenger car design. Using them in trucks and trains enables such vehicles to carry heavier loads. In a wide range of industrial applications, “microserrations” from Freudenberg Performance Materials deliver greater benefits for plant operators. “Flange connections in wind turbines are a good example,” says Klein. In the interests of energy efficiency, the rotor blades of modern multi-megawatt turbines are becoming longer and heavier. Friction inserts can help ensure that the torques acting on the flange connection are safely transmitted. This means that the rotor blades of modern wind turbines can continue to rotate even more efficiently and thus more sustainably.

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