Today’s cars are more technologically advanced than ever. Vehicles coming off the assembly line today have standard features that would have been considered as luxury items in the past – features such as onboard GPS navigation systems, Bluetooth communication systems, touchscreen entertainment systems, and now, semi-autonomous control systems, with fully autonomous (self-driving) vehicles on the horizon. In addition, today’s vehicles are now using alternative energy sources, and fully electric vehicles (EV’s) are already here.
Cars of the future will increasingly rely on sophisticated electronics for their control and operation. The spread of advanced electronics within vehicles has resulted in new sealing challenges and needs. In this blog, we look at some of these challenges and needs and highlight how CRG is positioned to help OEM’s and their supply chains meet these challenges through the provision of gaskets, seals and parts for electric and autonomous vehicles.
Challenge #1: EMI shielding for vehicle electronics
The more advanced the electronics in a vehicle become, the more important it is to protect and shield these electronics from the undesirable effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI). EMI is disruptive electromagnetic energy which is transmitted from one electronic device to another via radiated or conductive paths. EMI problems can become evident in various ways, ranging from simple nuisance effects, such as static on the car radio, to dangerous effects that could cause loss of control of a vehicle. Because EMI can seriously degrade or compromise the performance of an electronic device or circuit, it is important to shield vehicle electronics from EMI that is either radiated or conducted, and which can arise from sources inside and outside the vehicle.
Electronic systems within vehicles that could give rise to EMI and which, at the same time, are vulnerable to its effects, include navigation and autonomous control systems, engine control modules, electronic braking systems, adaptive cruise control, fuel control systems, console and communication applications, and the like. Sources of EMI external to vehicles include cell phones, Bluetooth devices, radio and TV transmitters, and more.
Overcoming these challenges requires using EMI shielding solutions, such as board-level shielding for electronic circuits and EMI gaskets and seals for electronic device enclosures. CRG can work with OEM’s and their electronic systems suppliers early in the design process to create and supply EMI shielding solutions to protect sensitive vehicle electronics. These EMI shielding solutions are produced from a wide range of performance materials especially designed to address the damaging effects of EMI.
Challenge #2: Vehicle lightweighting
Because electric energy platforms enable and support many autonomous features in vehicles, electric and autonomous vehicles are complementary concepts. Combining these two functionalities into a single vehicle brings some exciting challenges for designers and builders alike.
For electric vehicles, addressing the weight of the car’s battery pack while maximizing the vehicle’s operating range from a single charge is a key challenge. This requires the use of lighter parts and components in the vehicle to reduce weight as much as possible. CRG is already working with OEM’s and their suppliers to provide parts made from newer and lighter performance materials, including elastomers and foams and sponges. These parts can substantially reduce the weight of the components and systems into which they are installed, thereby contributing to vehicle lightweighting.
Challenge #3: EV battery pack seals
In EV’s, battery packs are usually placed inside enclosures consisting of an upper and lower housing. Gaskets or seals are used to separate these sections and prevent the ingress of water, dust, moisture, and salt into the battery pack. Should these elements find their way into an EV battery pack, battery life and performance can be significantly degraded.
Besides sealing against the entry of environmental elements, electric vehicle battery pack seals perform several other key functions. The seals help to control and regulate heat produced by the battery pack, and they also prevent the fugitive emission of gas and liquids. Finally, electric vehicle battery pack seals perform an important function in helping to dampen noise and vibration that could degrade the battery pack or annoy vehicle occupants.
CRG battery pack seals provide optimal sealing conditions for EV battery units. Our seals are made from materials especially formulated to protect EV battery packs from environmental elements, thereby reducing the risk of failure and extending battery life. These seals provide super sealing capabilities over a long lifespan, with extreme temperature resistance (-60°C to 230°C) in EV battery pack applications where temperatures can fluctuate significantly.
Challenge #4: NVH and ride experience
With the move toward autonomous vehicle operation, driving will no longer be the main focus for occupants in the car. With more time to devote to other things, vehicle occupants will want their rides to be comfortable, quiet and smooth, and clean. The requirement for providing a superior cabin experience is also likely to escalate because car sharing is expected to increase in the future.
Enhancing the ride experience and comfort brings an increased emphasis on reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Because electric platforms generate little or no noise compared to their internal combustion counterparts, vehicle occupants are likely to be more sensitive to road and wind noise that intrudes into the vehicle cabin.
CRG works extensively with vehicle OEM’s to supply NVH parts for shock absorption and dampening, as well as those for soundproofing and sealing. Materials we work with include elastomers, foams and sponges, non-wovens, and plastics. Examples of automotive NVH reduction products we have supplied include: fuel tank cushions and isolator pads; door check seals; noise-reducing window and door seals; radiator dampening pads; rear hatch dampening bumpers; grommets to secure wiring and cables; and more.
If you are sourcing gaskets, seals and parts for electric and autonomous vehicles, CRG can help. We have a proven capability in supplying parts to major OEM’s, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Mazda, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. To find out more about CRG can meet your needs, please contact our sales department at firstname.lastname@example.org.