Sogefi Group (Milan, Italy) has launched what it says is the auto industry's first coil springs manufactured using composite material aimed at passenger vehicle and light commercial vehicle suspension applications. The FRP coil springs are based on glass fiber and epoxy resin.
Sogefi notes that with a weight up to 40-70% less than steel coil springs, equivalent to a reduction of 4-6 kg per vehicle, they contribute to a real reduction in fuel consumption. In addition the production of FRP coil springs is up to five times less energy intensive (thermosetting of composite material at around 170°C compared with temperatures of 1,000°C and 450°C used for steel), and ensures a drastic reduction in wastage and use of consumables.
The coil spring industry for mass production applications is currently based on steel. Despite some weight reduction during the last 20 years, this material has reached its physical limits according to Sogefi. Steel's manufacturing process is also labor intensive with high energy consumption for processes such as heat and surface treatment, and shot peening. These factors inspired Sogefi, to invest in the development of a completely new technology to improve the product and its features: the FRP Coil Spring....