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Resin technology was critical to the first-ever glass fibre composite automotive coil spring which has recently been honoured by the Society of Plastic Engineers.
The development team comprised Audi, Sogefi Group, Owens Corning and Hexion.
“A composite coil spring has been a longtime objective for the auto industry, and Hexion is pleased to have been part of the team to realise the technology,” said Francis Defoor, Hexion’s global market segment leader for transportation. “These composite coil springs represent a weight savings of more than forty per cent compared with conventional steel springs.
Hexion’s proprietary system comprising Epikote epoxy resin and Epikure curing agent is used in a unique filament-winding process to make a ‘rope’ that is coiled and cured around a recyclable core.
The resulting part meets and exceeds the various strength and durability requirements of Audi for its A6 at a significant weight saving and overall value to the consumer.
“At a time when most of the easy victories in vehicle weight have been achieved, this is a significant breakthrough,” said Ann Frederix, senior vice-president and general manager for Epoxy Specialty Resins at Hexion.
Environmental and efficiency advancements come with the spring technology, too, along with improved ride performance and safety. The energy used to produce the spring is far less than for steel springs, and the number of manufacturing operations needed to produce the composite spring is reduced to seven from thirteen for steel. Independent automotive test drive journalists have given the technology favourable reviews.