ZF Concept Study At The IAA 2009: Ultralight Dampers For Micro Cars
- Saving weight – with fiber composite and functional integration
- Half of the total weight compared to today’s aluminum lightweight dampers
Even after the scrappage incentive, smaller vehicle classes will still gain a larger share on the global market. Increasing vehicle weight due to better equipment and crash safety make the lightweight design approach a megatrend. At the IAA 2009, ZF presents an ultralight fiber composite damper. By using lighter materials and by integrating functions, it has been possible to halve the weight of today’s aluminum lightweight dampers.
Save fuel with innovations and thereby improve profitability – this is what all new ZF developments aim at. This is not only achieved by consistently optimizing the driveline. Another contribution can be made by reducing the vehicle weight with lightweight chassis construction. At the IAA 2009, ZF showcases a lightweight concept study from chassis technology: The ultralight fiber composite damper only weighs half of today’s aluminum lightweight damper. Moreover, partially sprung and unsprung masses are reduced, leading to considerably enhanced comfort.
The study by ZF Sachs, the Powertrain and Suspension Components division of the ZF Group, deals with an entire suspension strut with integrated wheel carrier. Weight savings are generated by using lighter materials instead of steel parts in the piston rod, internal parts, and module assemblies on the one hand, and with the integration of functions on the other: The newly designed plastic components make previous heavy steel components like the spring cap unnecessary. Despite their low weight, plastic dampers have all the features of a modern damper; this was proven by loading calculations based on Western European road surface conditions.
“With our study on plastic suspension struts, we want to show above all how much potential there still is in terms of lightweight chassis”, says Dr. Peter Ottenbruch, Head of the Powertrain and Suspension Components division. Despite the tremendous weight savings, the design is realistic and, as feasibility and cost analyses have shown, it could easily be transferred to volume production.
Optimal for A-Segment cars
The concept study takes the use in mini and microcars as a basis, with some vehicles featuring a curb weight of much less than a ton. Here, the ultralight damper supports the overall design approach in small cars: low total weight, reduced fuel consumption and CO? emissions, as well as enhanced comfort and noise insulation. In a next step, it is also thinkable to use this technology in larger vehicles.