Christian NowakHead of Design Castings at Continental Teves
Continental AG is the world’s second largest automotive parts supplier, specializing in brake systems, interior electronics, and automotive safety, among others. Within the DIGIMAT project CONTINENTAL has designed a brake carrier / anchor for a passenger car wheel brake that is lighter than today’s component while complying to current requirements. This new design has been possible thanks to the characteristics of the new material developed by DIGIMAT project team. The new design has already been manufactured by AAPICO. Even though more trials are still to be performed on the new parts, the CONTINENTAL team is optimistic when it comes to the new market opportunities offered by these lighter brake anchors.
Christian Nowak, Head of Design Castings at Continental Teves, explains the main outcomes of DIGIMAT project for the multinational company.
Which have been the main challenges for CONTINENTAL within the DIGIMAT project?
To configure and design a lightweight brake anchor which fulfills expected requirements in respect of strength, deformation, and stress assuming material properties that are fictional from physics point of view at that stage of time was the main challenge to develop this anchor.
Housing high machinability study had the hurdles to require more than 120.000 parts for trials to prove consistent machine tool usage decreases, without the interruption of product changes on high volume machine line.
And the biggest learnings for your team?
The defined goal to reach the expected weight saving can be solved quite fast if you consider strength and stress (higher limit of yield strength of the new material) requirements only. But since a significant demand of a brake anchor is its deformation within the arms and the broaching profile area to avoid brake pad taper wear an anchor must not be designed with regards to strength and stresses only but to deflection as well. The deflection itself is depending essentially on the materials Young’s modulus. In almost all GJS materials this value is nearly the same. Therefore, the initial weight saving of ca. 12% could not be achieved.
Which are the improvements experienced in your products?
As the machining trials are still ongoing and Continental could not test the anchors at its bench test facility yet, which is mandatory to confirm the new requested material properties, the expected improvements have to be confirmed at a particular time.
In regard to the high machinability housings, improvements were observed however the results are not conclusive at this time due to the very high quantity of parts required for the study completion.
Do you think DIGIMAT project’s outcomes will have an impact on the automotive industry?
If the bench test results confirm the expectations and simulations, Continental will be in position to offer lightweight Brake Anchor products for the worldwide automotive market. This will have a positive impact within automotive sector towards the climate as it helps to reduce CO2 emissions.
What is next for Continental in this field?
Assuming the new material fulfills all necessary requirements, Continental will extend its tests within a live axle development project in cooperation with an automotive OEM car manufacturer to prove a 100% series feasibility and exclude any potential risks for safety parts.
For high machinability materials, Continental will start to order all housings from AAPICO our consortium partner with this material, additional expanding to alternative suppliers as per the IPR agreements with the project.