Safe and extremely stable: in automotive engineering, plastics are now indispensable.
Conventional metal bodies are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Why? Because less weight means less energy consumption, fewer CO2 emissions and, in the case of e-mobility, extended cruising range. Our REHAU developers’ latest coup is called ULTRALITEC: a production method that dramatically improves modern light-weight construction in automotive manufacturing.
The battery housing of an e-car is precisely one of the components in which metal just won’t be playing a future role. This could be completely plastics-based in the future, as could similar components in aircraft construction. An intelligent box, the battery housing has to be extremely safe, stable and robust enough to withstand crash situations, while keeping battery cells in good working order.
REHAU’s patented method ULTRALITEC was developed to meet precisely these specifications. Structural components like side doors including impact-absorbers, or even the battery housings, become wonders of weightlessness, weighing in against conventional metal components a full 30 percent lighter.
This is due to the special structure of the composite materials. In a highly industrialised process, continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic materials flowing in lengths like bolts of fabric are laid layer-by-layer atop of one another, then fused together. This increases the material’s stability many times over, but keeps its density nonetheless at a minimum. The three dimensionally bonded fabric is warmed, then finally press-molded. Following that, injection moulding of additional attachments like ribs to improve acoustics and noise insulation, as well as clips, cables or brackets takes place. These uniquely manufactured light, functional elements will have a weighty impact on the car bodies of the future.
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