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Owens Corning has contributed to the development of the first composite material coil springs for automotive suspension systems.
Owens Corning, the new composite coil spring, patented by Sogefi, was on display at JEC Europe 2015. It is made of glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) and it is claimed that it weighs 40 to 70 percent less than traditional springs made of steel. Owens Corning say that the GFRP materials resist fatigue and dampen noise and vibration in terms of mechanical performance and are also resistant to chemical corrosion (for instance, from wheel cleaners) and to gravel impact.
Owens Corning customised a glass fibre reinforcement especially for Sogefi’s composite coil spring project to ensure compatibility with their manufacturing process and to help meet demanding performance requirements. The initial design and industrial development of the composite coil spring results from close collaboration between Sogefi and Owens Corning since 2009.
Sogefi explains that the new springs can be mounted on cars and light commercial vehicles with no change to the suspension system, guaranteeing the vehicle a weight reduction of 4-6 kilograms (depending on the type of vehicle and the design of the spring) and a significantly reduced unsprung mass, thus improving driving precision. It says the replacement of steel by materials that are not subject to corrosion also guarantees a lower noise level and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions (up to – 0.5 g per km).i
Owens Corning explains that taking weight out of cars is mandatory to meet CO2 emission regulations and fuel economy standards. Glass fibre reinforced composites provide the opportunity for significant part weight reduction compared to steel. Owens Corning is proud of its contribution to Sogefi’s innovation. The company continues to work on light-weighting solutions in structural composites applications such as floor systems, pillars, roof and door modules, bumper beams, and seat structures.
At the end of 2014, the GFRP coil springs manufactured by Sogefi were launched in serial production on the European car market.
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