tedrive Steering Systems has revealed an innovative, lightweight plastic housing for mechanical steering systems. Working with market leaders from the polymers industry, tedrive has succeeded in making plastic materials usable in the highly demanding field of steering systems. The robust and durable housing design has achieved a weight saving of up to 40 percent compared with solutions made from aluminum.
The plastic housing is particularly suitable for use in the compact and city car segments as well as in electric vehicles and, in certain circumstances, can even be adapted to the loads exerted in the mid-size segment.
Compared with steering housings in aluminum – to-date the standard lightweight material used in steering systems – the tedrive plastic housing can be realized on an almost cost-neutral basis. Customers of tedrive Steering were given the opportunity to view a prototype of the steering system in September 2015 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.
With its innovative plastic housing for mechanical steering systems, tedrive has now taken a further, major step forward in reducing the weight of its steering systems.
“Intense research and development work has now enabled us to meet the high technical demands set by steering systems using plastic, too, and to offer a durable housing design,” explains Peter Heimbrock, Head of Development for tedrive Steering Systems GmbH.
The new steering housing achieves a weight saving of up to 40 percent compared with an aluminum design. Furthermore, the housing is cost neutral compared with aluminum, partly because its injection-molded components require no additional machining.
The high loads and temperatures exerted on individual components presented the engineers with particularly tough challenges. tedrive therefore cooperated closely with materials experts from a leading polymer manufacturer as well as the experienced plastic injection-molding technology team from Josef Mawick Kunstoff-Spritzgusstechnik to achieve the best possible combination of material and design.
The result is a robust housing able to withstand endurance testing of around ten years or 240,000 kilometers. The load tests also verified its operation in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 80°C with a short-term maximum temperature load of 105°C.