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The new Ford 3.5 and 3.7 engine manifold uses a cross-over coolant component which will now be made of DuPont’s Zytel HTN PPA resin instead of brazed metal, reducing weight by one pound to improve fuel economy.
The cross-over coolant component is a hollow part that allows engine coolant to bypass the manifold as it circulates through the engine. Traditional nylon 6 polymer doesn’t withstand long-term exposure to heat and long-life coolant, so the component had previously been made of brazed metal.
While DuPont Zytel HTN PPA is frequently used in engine cooling components because it can withstand the long term exposure to heat and long life coolant, the intense pressure of the overmoulding process needed to integrate the component into the manifold system was damaging the hollow component.
The cross-functional team looked at the design, material and processing, and made modifications using advanced computer models. ITW invested in cavity-pressure sensing technology from RJG, Inc. to examine pressures inside the moulding cavity. The data was used to pinpoint where design changes could add structure and to control the process so the prototype could scale into production quickly.
“Getting accurate data about pressures and conditions inside the moulding cavity significantly improved our ability to evaluate the material, iterate more efficiently on design and shorten the development cycle,” said Tyler Terrell, ITW Project Manager. “This was a really tough challenge and we used every technology we could to get this part into production. The collaboration between the members of this team really made the difference.”
“There’s a growing trend toward using high-performance materials only where they are needed,” said Pat Granowicz, Powertrain Segment Leader, DuPont Automotive Performance Polymers. “This can lead to challenging designs and demand innovative processing solutions. Modelling based on how a material behaves in processing and in use is critical.”
In addition to significant weight savings, the switch has eliminated several steps in the value chain associated with processing and machining powder-coated metal. Ford and the team from ITW and DuPont were named finalists in the Society of Plastics Engineers Most Innovative Use of Plastics Award in the Process/Assemby/Enabling Technology category.
It was one of two 2013 finalists. The other – an acoustic shield mounted on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra and Forte cylinder block – was developed by a team from Hyundai Motor Company, NVH Korea Co., Ltd. and DuPont. The application relies on heat and flame resistant DuPont Nomex brand fibre to withstand the demanding engine environment.