In what could be an emerging trend, plastics are making increasing inroads into an auto application previously the domain of aluminum: engine mounts and supports. Following on from an announcement by BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany), processor ZF Friedrichshafen AG says it has received a major order for lightweight plastic passenger car engine mounts made from a combination of plastic and rubber.
The new plastic engine mount offers a weight advantage of approximately 25 percent compared with rubber-metal designs. The mount is being used in six small and compact car models of Renault-Nissan, as well as in the automaker's electric cars.
"Lightweight design is one of the key technologies when it comes to reducing the energy consumption of vehicles," says ZF, "However, automotive manufacturers and suppliers are not able to draw on a superordinate patent solution. In actual fact, the sum of the individual weight reductions in numerous passenger car components represents the key to success," it notes....