17th June 2016 by Richard Yen
Today, we’re continuing our look back at FTE Automotive’s entry for last year’s Altair Enlighten Award. The nomination concerned a Gear Shift Actuator Module (GSAM), a component that allows a vehicle to shifts between gears by converting hydraulic pressure into mechanical stroke.
Traditionally hydraulic shift rod actuators are made of steel and aluminum to withstand the rigorous functional and temperature requirements inside modern transmissions. FTE automotive introduced a plastic design a few years ago which is in production for ZF’s 7speed DCT. It features 4 single plastic gear shift actuators and it is still the only all plastic double acting hydraulic gear shift actuator design with bearing function in the industry. FTE has now integrated 4 separate gear shift actuators into one plastic housing and integrated 4 position sensors and 2 RPM sensors for added functionality. Adding those additional features resulted in the Gear Shift Actuator Module or GSAM.
The GSAM was specifically designed for double clutch transmissions (DCT) but can also be utilized in automated manual transmissions (AMT).
Composed of mainly high tech plastic materials, the GSAM provides a 35% weight saving in comparison to standard gear shift technologies made of steel and aluminum.
FTE Automotive’s nomination highlighted an increasingly common effort in the automotive industry to look at the application of new plastics as a replacement for metallic parts. Plastics provide weight advantages as they are inherently lighter than metals but come at a cost of lower strength. For many systems however, they can be used highly effectively to produce lightweight parts that still meet the set safety and performance targets.
As the trend continues, I fully expect to see more plastic material components as a replacement for metallic parts in this year’s nominations.
Download a PDF of this nomination via this link – FTE Automotive