Keeping together what belongs together

Friction Inserts help make cars lighter and more energy efficient

Lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions – the road that stretches before the automotive industry is clearly defined. Regardless of whether the journey to climate-friendly is made with the combustion or electric engine, lightweight construction plays a major role. Freudenberg Performance Materials has an innovation that facilitates the design of weight-reduced compact components and which has already won two awards: Friction Inserts. 

In the engine, powertrain, or chassis: Wherever components in the vehicle are connected to each other in bolted or press-fitted joints, Friction Inserts help make it possible to transmit significantly higher torques and forces. Precisely designed for their intended use, they increase the static friction between two components and permanently hold those components together that belong together. 

“Friction Inserts from Freudenberg Performance Materials consist of an ultra-thin special nonwoven coated on one side with hard particles. The size of the particles used is adapted to the specific application,” explains Sebastian Klein, Sales Manager New Business Development at Freudenberg Performance Materials. The particles penetrate the two surfaces to be joined and create a permanently resilient micro interlock – even for corrosion coated components. Thanks to its porous structure, the nonwoven backing blends into the joint and disappears into the micrometer-fine surface roughness.



Friction Inserts applied to wheel bearings.

Friction inserts can be used in various products enhancing friction between components.

Friction enhancement using Friction Inserts has many benefits. For bolted joints, the number and/or size of bolts can be minimized. And components can be made smaller and lighter, while maintaining the same performance – an excellent example of downsizing. 

Another added value for the customer: As part of a carry-over parts strategy, the customer can access the same components in different vehicle models – Friction Inserts allow component connections 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.

In turn, this reduces the expenditure needed for development and tooling. Freudenberg Performance Materials varies the size and number of hard particles applied to the carrier nonwoven. At the same time, Friction Inserts open the door to new lightweight material combinations – for example aluminum and plastics. They also offer added value in driving comfort by minimizing noise. Friction enhancement prevents relative motion and therefore the associated noise, which plays a key role when it comes to quietly gliding electric vehicles.

Friction inserts can be used in various products enhancing friction between components.

Such advantages are not only limited to passenger cars. Trucks and trains are being enabled to transport heavier loads. Friction Inserts from Freudenberg Performance Materials also deliver added value to plant operators in a wide range of industrial applications. “Flange connections in wind turbines are a good example,” says Klein. The rotor blades of modern multi-megawatt turbines are becoming longer and heavier in the interests of energy efficiency – Friction Inserts can help ensure that the torques acting on the flange connection are safely transmitted, so that rotor blades continue rotating in the future.

How a friction insert works.


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