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The evolution of material issues in the automotive industry

The evolution of material issues in the automotive industry

Bannière Article Matériaux Auto   EN

What determines success? The ability to sustain a continuous effort.’’ By answering the question he himself asked, Henri Ford, signs here the philosophy that will drive his entire life. By revolutionizing the industry with its eponymous methodology, Ford has demonstrated that innovation is a continuous search for success. However, since the first real appearance of the automobile in 1860 and the democratization of the internal combustion engine, what place has been given to the evolution of materials, almost 160 years later?

While the use of certain materials has hardly changed in more than a century, for example, the use of rubber in tires, it must be recognised that processes have evolved considerably. In this case, the first tire weighed more than 13 lbs and was worn in about 100 mile at a rate of 10 mph. It has to be said that nowadays the "recipe" has not evolved much, but is based on great innovations.

First of all, because new data must be taken into account in order to optimize lightness, aerodynamics, resistance, safety... While the size of the current traffic lanes is still based on a calculation from Ancient Rome (12 ft being the spacing between two horses, running side by side.) the stakes of the automobile are greatly influenced by new constants. A fairly telling issue, which is, after all, centuries old and yet still contemporary, is the reduction of costs.

However, standardization and chain work, developed in the 1950s, made it possible to produce more and cheaper. Today, it is a new revolution in the optimization of automotive manufacturing costs. In particular thanks to the selection of new types of materials, these allow, more than saving time, but also to use more economical materials, or even to develop your own materials thanks to additive manufacturing, the next revolution in this field. (Read More about the perspectives of Added Manufacturing : http://www.bassetti-group.com/fr/actualites/fabrication-additive-2019-quel-perspectives.

Thanks to the rise of composite materials, car manufacturers are looking for real efficiency beyond effectiveness: i.e. performance without costs. The advantage of these new materials, which by definition are "an assembly of at least two materials with a high adhesion capacity. The new material thus formed has superior performance because it combines the strengths of the two incorporated materials. "For example, it can be stronger and lighter.

By using our rubber tire recipe, if the raw material has always come from the same tree for decades, many additives and other chemical treatment interventions improve longevity, grip, safety..... It is, therefore, necessary for manufacturers to concentrate their efforts on new materials, this time taking into account new constants such as acoustic or electrical insulation.

Finally, unlike the internal combustion engine, the next generation of cars will be electric. In fact, the pressure on manufacturers to address issues of social responsibility and respect for the environment is increasing day by day. In particular, the reduction of greenhouse gases is a major issue, both in the design of the product and in the release during its use. Finding THE lightweight, durable AND pollution-reducing material in the city, therefore, presents new challenges for engineers. 

Faced with all these facts, a number of issues specific to the materials industry in the automotive sector are emerging:

  • How to keep a record of the data?
  • How to limit the risks of using uncertified or validated data? 
  • How to facilitate the comparison between two families of materials? 
  • How to structure internal expertise? 

To find out how an IT tool can help you manage these issues: http://www.bassetti-group.com/en/solutions/teexma-materials

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