Vehicle lightweighting is now a major trend in the automotive industry. Reducing vehicle weight has taken on increased importance with the emergence of Electric Vehicle (EV) technologies – reduced vehicle weight translates into increased range. Even with traditional combustion engines, reducing the vehicle weight has the significant benefits of reduced emissions and fuel consumption.
“Vehicle lightweighting is now a major design trend,” notes CRG automotive sales manager Paul Carey. “Design engineers are scrutinizing even small vehicle components like seals to see how weight might be saved. While a seal may seem like a small and insignificant vehicle component, the weight saved on a individual seal can be significant when added up across all the seals present in a vehicle.”
Driving the move to lightweighting has been the desire to reduce CO2 emissions and increase vehicle ranges. “Emission rules and regulations are becoming tighter all the time,” says Carey. “The price of oil is also moving upwards again, an important factor for gasoline-powered vehicles. EV designers are always looking for ways to increase vehicle range, and reduced vehicle weight translates into increased range. Saving vehicle weight can help OEM’s address these factors.”
How Seals can Contribute to Vehicle Lightweighting
Seals can contribute to lowering vehicle weight in several ways. Firstly, sealing material manufacturers are innovating new, lighter weight materials that can be used to fabricate lightweight seals. Secondly, seals can be integrated with the components to which they are connected, thereby saving weight.
“Lightweight sealing materials, such as the latest generation elastomers, polymers, and foams and sponges, offer the same or better sealing performance with lower material weight,” says Carey. “In addition, redesigning and producing vehicle components with the seal integrated within the component can save weight. Composite materials are playing an increasingly important role in the development of components with integrated seals.”
Because air resistance and friction in a moving vehicle can greatly affect fuel consumption, intelligent seal design can help improve performance in this respect. “Low friction seals around moving parts, made from new materials, can greatly reduce friction and improve fuel consumption,” comments Carey. “Using lightweight materials, intelligent seal design around windows, doors and other body appurtenances can lower wind resistance, improving mileage and range.”
Lightweight Seals and Products from CRG
CRG produces seals and other flexible products for automotive applications. A major product category we supply is the provision of gaskets, seals and weather stripping for varied applications, including: body; driveline; engine; steering and suspension; wheel-end; bearing; and doors, windows, hoods and trunks. Other automotive products CRG supplies include NVH parts, grommets, cuffs and sleeves, plenum plugs, fuel tank cushions, and many more.
“Recognizing vehicle lightweighting as a design imperative, at CRG we are working with the latest materials to produce sealing solutions that can reduce vehicle weight,” explains Carey. “Through our global sourcing and supply capability, we have working relationships with leading manufacturers of the latest lightweight sealing materials. This capability allows us to work with our OEM customers to create lightweight sealing solutions for their vehicle programs.”
If you are seeking lightweight sealing solutions for a vehicle program or application, you can have full confidence in CRG’s supply capabilities. All aspects of CRG operations conform to the ISO 9001 standard, and we have a proven capability in supplying products which meet ASTM D2000 line call-outs, as well as the material specifications of major OEM’s, including those of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Mazda, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. Where a new specification is required, we work with our supply chain partners to develop an appropriate solution that meets or exceeds all requirements.
To find out more about the lightweight seals for vehicle applications which CRG can provide, or to request a quote, please contact our sales department at email@example.com.