Innovative fastener technology may fix an ailing automotive market
while increasing sales and lowering recall and warranty rates
With auto sales down as much as 40 percent, it can feel to some like the industry is coming apart. But a “revolution in fasteners” may soon help bridge the gap to greener vehicles, while increasing sales and lowering recall and warranty rates.
“We’re at the beginning of a fastener revolution in automotive,” says Ray Genick, Director of New Business Development and former VP of Engineering at Emhart Teknologies, a leader in the design and creation of unique assembly technologies.
“It’s being driven not only by a need to lower recall and warranty costs, but also to raise fuel efficiency while reducing weight and environmental impact.”
A new report, which profiles Emhart Teknologies and other industry leaders, forecasts a growing automotive fastener market to reach $12.2 billion by 2012.
“Automotive fasteners assume high significance owing to the increasingly complex nature of vehicular designs, which is expected to necessitate stronger, improved and durable fasteners,” states a news release for “Automotive Fasteners: A Global Strategic Business Report,” published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., one of the world’s largest market research publishers.
Failure of fasteners is one of the leading causes of vehicle recall in North America and Europe, and improved fastener technology will be part of the solution, according to a release for the report.
The typical threaded joint, produced by a standard nut and bolt, has existed since the 19th century and is no longer adequate for many of the 21st century problems the automotive industry is facing, such as the need for greener vehicles.
The problem is that when a fastener loses its clamp load, it no longer does its job and safety, recall, or warranty issues occur. Locking devices from wires and washers to chemical and drypatch adhesives are commonly added to retain clamp load. While adding weight and complexity, however, these methods do not always hold up under shock, vibration, or temperature extremes.
An overdesign ‘belt and suspenders’ mentality in automotive design has prevailed, for instance, putting 8 bolts on an exhaust manifold when 4 might do. This has led to big, heavy, fuel inefficient cars that consumers will increasingly turn from in today’s cost, energy, and environmentally conscious climate.
While green technology beckons, much of it still isn’t ready for prime time.
Hybrid cars, which pair a traditional gas engine with advanced electronics, are gaining acceptance but are still too costly for many consumers. All-electric vehicles are hampered by battery cost, battery life, and inadequate electrical grids. Fuel cells, which release energy converting hydrogen to water, remain in development and lack a reliable means of distributing hydrogen fuel.
One green technology, however, is already proving itself…
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Article courtesy of Del Williams, technical writer, pddnet.com