JSAE Exposition 2016: Latest weight saving technologies

Toyota Boshoku, Daikyo Nishikawa, Aisin Chemical, Magna, and more

2016/07/26

Summary

Lightweight foamed door trim and conventional door trim
Lightweight foamed door trim (right) and conventional door trim (left) displayed by Toyota Boshoku

  A wide variety of automotive parts that had weight-saving technologies implemented were exhibited at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2016.

  Toyota Boshoku Corporation exhibited a foamed door trim that is 30% lighter than conventional products. Daikyo Nishikawa Corporation displayed a plastic lift gate that is 5kg lighter than comparable products made of steel. Aisin Chemical Co., Ltd. unveiled a resin oil pan that is used widely in Europe, but has not received much adoption in Japan. Magna International showed off an aluminum oil pan used in General Motors' 8-speed automatic transmission.

  Sumitomo Electric Industries displayed a prototype seat frame made of magnesium alloys. Delta Kogyo presented a lightweight seat concept, and Aisin Takaoka showcased die-quenched (hot pressed) products.

 

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Toyota Boshoku Corporation: A lightweight foamed door trim without the risk of "sharp angles."

Highly impact-resistant lightweight foamed door trim Result of a surface impact test and phase structure of super-impact resistant bio-plastic
Highly impact-resistant lightweight foamed door trim Result of a surface impact test and phase structure of super-impact resistant bio-plastic

 

Highly impact-resistant lightweight foamed door trim Toyota Boshoku has developed a lightweight foamed door trim that prevents sharp angles and the risk they pose to occupants in side collisions. A highly impact-resistant bio-plastic, which was also developed by Toyota Boshoku, is used as a modifying additive in polypropylene to increase impact performance. The prototype door trim has reduced weight by approximately 30% (1160g) compared to conventional products. The company expects to start supplying the door trim to for automotive applications soon.
Toyota Boshoku plans to have the new material made by material manufacturers under a licensing agreement. It then intends to supply it to automakers. The company is currently negotiating with material manufacturers.


Daikyo Nishikawa Corp.: Plastic lift gate for the Daihatsu Tanto

Plastic lift gate for Daihatsu Tanto Plastic lift gate for Daihatsu Tanto
Plastic lift gate for Daihatsu Tanto (external view) Plastic lift gate for Daihatsu Tanto (internal view)

 

Plastic lift gate Daikyo Nishikawa exhibited a plastic lift gate (back door) used on the Daihatsu Tanto. The gate consists of two parts on the outside, top and bottom, made from highly impact-resistant, low thermal expansion polypropylene, and a glass window. It has glass-fiber reinforced PP on the inside to increase the gate's stiffness. The plastic lift gate is approximately 5 kg or 20% lighter than steel-made gates. The molding process for the plastic parts takes only around one minute.
The window pane itself can be replaced with polycarbonate, which will make the gate 1.5kg lighter. But it costs more and doesn't block low-frequency sounds as well as glass.


A plastic oil pan made by Aisin Chemical, and aluminum oil pan from Magna International

Aisin Chemical Co., Ltd.

Lightweight plastic oil pan Aisin Chemical Co., Ltd. has developed a plastic transmission oil pan made of glass-reinforced Nylon 66. Making an oil pan using plastics rather than steel makes it possible to integrate the oil pan with the filter, which is separate in conventional steel pans. The plastic oil pan is 5 mm thinner when installed, approximately 700 g (40%) lighter, and is easier to install than steel pans.
Plastic oil pans are common in Europe, but rarely used in Japan. They are more susceptible to impact damage than steel. The plastic oil pans on higher-end cars in Europe are often protected by undercovers.
A cross-section of a transmission with a steel oil pan A cross-section of a transmission with a plastic oil pan
A cross-section of a transmission with a steel oil pan. The plastic oil filter (identified by a blue cross-section) is separate from the steel oil pan. A cross-section of a transmission with a plastic oil pan. The plastic oil filter (identified by a blue cross-section) is integrated with the plastic oil pan (also identified by blue cross-section) to minimize height.
Conventional steel oil pan Newly-developed plastic oil pan
Conventional steel oil pan Newly-developed plastic oil pan

 

Magna International Inc.

Aluminum oil pan This is the first press-formed aluminum transmission oil pan manufactured by Magna International Inc. in North America. The company produced 282,000 units in 2015 for the 8-speed automatic transmission used on General Motors' Cadillac CT6, CTS, and ATS.
The oil pan is made from aluminum-magnesium (5000) alloys that have high workability, and weighs 0.9kg, a reduction of 1.3kg from steel products. Magna International Inc. claims that the aluminum oil pan is stronger and lighter than a plastic counterpart.
Stamping aluminum is not as easy as stamping steel. Magna International Inc. managed to form curves using its simulation and analysis technologies.

Aluminum oil pan by Magna

 



Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.: Seat frame prototype made from magnesium alloys

Seatback frame prototype made from magnesium alloys Seat frame part prototypes made from magnesium alloys
Seatback frame prototype made from magnesium alloys Seat frame part prototypes made from magnesium alloys

 

Pressed magnesium alloy parts Sumitomo Electric has developed an AZ91 magnesium alloy sheet with high ductility and strength. AZ91 is a magnesium alloy containing 9% aluminum and approximately 1% zinc. It is usually used to make die-cast parts, but the company succeeded in making rolled sheets that have a unified, fine-crystalline structure free of porosities. The material is used for applications like making notebook PC enclosures.
The seat frame prototype was created using the company's hot press forming and welding technologies. It weighs approximately 1.3 kg (a 650 g seatback and 670 g seat surface), 60% lighter than comparable steel parts. Magnesium alloys for making pressed parts are heated to approximately 250 degrees Celsius before stamping. Pipes are formed by friction stir welding (FSW) to ensure high strength. The material costs around JPY 4,500 per kg and the company plans to cut the cost by half to increase sales.

 

Characteristics of magnesium alloys

Specific gravity Tensile strength MPa
Magnesium alloys 1.8 Sumitomo Electric Industries'
AZ91 magnesium alloys
330
Aluminum alloys 2.7 AZ91 magnesium alloy casts 250
Titanium alloys 4.5 Aluminum-magnesium (5000) alloys 260
Iron, steel 7.9 General purpose steel sheet 270


Delta Kogyo Co., Ltd.: Next-generation seat concept

Net Seat Smart i Heating Steel Frame Net Seat Carbon + Torsion Bar Unit Seat frame made by Smart i Heating technology
Net Seat Smart i Heating Steel Frame Net Seat Carbon + Torsion Bar Unit Seat frame made by Smart i Heating technology (for the Mazda Roadster ND)

 

Net Seat
Smart i heating Steel Frame
Net Seat Smart i Heating Steel Frame Delta Kogyo exhibited lightweight seats consisting of a steel frame made with the company's proprietary Smart i heating induction hardening method (see Note) and a three-dimensionally woven net (3D net). The seat has no reclining mechanism and is about 2 kg lighter than ordinary seats. The 3D net has a resiliency that is close to human muscle and can be used in place of urethane. The urethane-less seat is 2 to 3 cm lower than ordinary seats, which provides extra head clearance.
Net Seat
Carbon + Torsion Bar Unit
The urethane-less seat consists of a carbon frame and torsion bar unit cushions. This combination has been developed for larger seats.

(Note): Smart i heating is an induction hardening process in which parts are quickly heated to approximately 1000 degrees Celsius and quenched. This process is used to increase local strength in pressed parts.

 



Die-quenched parts from Aisin Takaoka, Aisin Chemical's acoustic insulators

Aisin Takaoka Co., Ltd.: Die-quenched parts

Aisin Takaoka exhibited automotive parts with 1500 MPa-class tensile strength. They were made by a die quenching (also called hot press) process in which a heated steel sheet is formed under the press and then quenched by the die. The parts are used in Toyota's Mirai FCV and the Prius HV.

(Top) Door impact beam, (Bottom) Beltline reinforcement

(Top) Door impact beam: 1500 MPa class, 2.0 mm thick

(Bottom) Beltline reinforcement: 1500 MPa class, 1.4 mm thick

 

Aisin Chemical Co., Ltd.: Coatable pillar filling sound insulator

Aisin Chemical Co., Ltd. exhibited a new sound insulation material to be filled in cavities such as the A-pillar. Conventional sound insulators come in sheets that are pasted on by hand and cannot fill small areas like the creases of components (as shown in the photo on the bottom left). Approximately 5% of the cross-section is left unfilled and sounds seep in through those gaps.
The company has developed a sound insulator gel that can be applied by a machine without leaving gaps (photo on the bottom right). The new material reduces the sound level 4 dB more than conventional sheet type insulators. In addition to the higher insulation performance, it can reduce costs 25% when it is applied by an automated coating machine. The new material is still in development, and the company says further improvements are being made.
Paste-on type sound insulator Coatable sound insulator
Paste-on type sound insulator: Gaps are left in top corners even after the material cures, and sounds seep in through them. Coatable sound insulator: Material fills the corners and no gaps are left after the material cures.

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