ontiTech transmission crossbeam

ContiTech develops first polyamide rear axle transmission crossbeam

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  • 25% weight reduction compared to aluminum variant
  • Less noise and vibration despite high crash protection

For the first time, ContiTech from Hanover in Germany has developed a transmission crossbeam from fiberglass-reinforced polyamide BASF Ultramid for the rear axle, which is used in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The new variant is about 25 percent lighter compared to diecast aluminum versions. The rear axle transmission crossbeam from ContiTech is used in Mercedes-Benz vehicle models with all wheel drive, with the exception of the AMG range.

High strength meets good NVH performance

The plastic load-bearing structural component meets all the requirements for the static and dynamic loads which act on a transmission beam: As a central component of the rear axle it supports part of the torque which is transferred from the engine to the transmission, and bears a constant share of the load of the differential.
In order to replace the aluminum in this demanding, crash-relevant application, the plastic has to meet high mechanical requirements: The used plastic Ultramid A3WG10 CR (CR = crash-resistant), which is 50% glass fiber reinforced, shows very good strength and rigidity and displays a low tendency to creep under constant loading. In addition, the material has to withstand high bending torques. The component shows good NVH performance (NVH= noise, vibration, harshness).

Polyamide: the material with high potential

Since 2006, ContiTech Vibration Control has been using BASF Ultramid for bearings in automotive construction and has received design awards for its work. Products include heavy-duty engine mounts, with the annual production volume in 2013 exceeding three million. In 2009, the bearings specialist also launched a lightweight transmission crossbeam from the lightweight material to support the forces and torques of the engine transmission unit. The weight is 50 percent less compared to a component made from aluminum. ContiTech produces the component in an injection molding process. ContiTech has already delivered millions of torque reaction mounts made from polyamide.

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