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Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall In September

Cox Automotive Forecast: New-Vehicle Sales Stall in September

Automobile sales in September are forecast to slow for the fifth straight month, as tight inventory, high prices take a toll on the industry.


September U.S. auto sales are forecast to be significantly hampered by an ongoing lack of new-vehicle inventory. According to a forecast released by Cox Automotive, the pace of auto sales, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to finish near 12.1 million, the slowest pace since May 2020, when much of the country was closed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The September 2021 sales pace will be down from August’s 13.1 million pace and down from the September 2020 pace of 16.3 million.

Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using vehicles easier for everyone. The global company’s more than 27,000 team members and are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with annual revenues of nearly $20 billion.

Sales volume is forecast by Cox Automotive to come in near a notably low 1.0 million units. The low volume expectations for September 2021 put the month on course to be among the worst in the past decade. Sales volume is expected to be down nearly 26% from last September and down 8.5% from last month. The sales pace in the U.S. market has fallen every month since reaching a peak of 18.3 million in April.

According to Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough: “After a strong spring selling season, the supply situation has worsened precipitously and is dragging sales down with it. The monthly declines have been large – the sales pace has declined by more than a million units in each of the past five months. Available supply on dealer lots is now 58% lower than last September, down nearly 1.4 million units.”

The new-vehicle supply shortage is impacting the market in many ways. Manufacturers have cut back significantly on incentives, and transaction prices have risen as a result. In addition, the lack of new-vehicle inventory is steering many dealers and consumers into the used-vehicle market, resulting in higher prices for both wholesale and retail used vehicles.

Q3 2021: The Auto Industry Finds the Bottom

Cox Automotive will officially revise its full-year forecast, with new projections scheduled to be released on September 30.

The underlying economic conditions in the U.S. are currently healthy enough to support higher new-vehicle sales levels. The demand is there. Inventory levels, however, are the unique problem facing the automotive market right now, with disruptions to the global supply chain challenging all automakers, severely impacting available inventory, and pushing many would-be buyers out of the market. In recent research by Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book team, nearly half of would-be buyers indicated in August that they will likely step back from the market, many for three months or more.

Inventory conditions, however, are anticipated to improve in the coming months. “The expectation is that OEM supply issues will improve such that Q4 should have better selling SAARs than the September rate, but that doesn’t mean good selling rates,” said Chesbrough. “Vehicles are getting produced, and some OEMs have improved their supply situation. In recent months, OEMs seem to be managing the situation better now that they’ve had time to adjust. For example, automakers are improving their ability to redirect existing chips to the most important vehicles in their portfolios. This strategy should support better sales in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.”

September 2021 Sales Forecast Highlights

  • New light-vehicle sales are forecast to fall to 1.0 million units, or down 357,000 units, nearly 26% from last year. Compared to last month, sales are expected to fall 92,000 or nearly 8%.
  • The SAAR in September 2021 is estimated to be 12.1 million, down from last September’s early COVID recovery pace of 16.3 million and down from August’s 13.1 million supply-constrained level.
  • No segment saw a sales increase in September with the Mid-Size Cars and Compact SUV/Crossover segments seeing the largest year-over-year decreases at -41.0% and -33.7%, respectively.

Cox Automotive Q3 U.S. Auto Sales Forecast Call

Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke and the Industry Insights team will share their take on the overall industry performance on Thursday, September 30, at 10 a.m. EDT. In addition to the economic factors influencing the market, the Industry Insights team will cover the industry’s hottest topics, including inventory, vehicle prices, and valuations. The revised Cox Automotive full-year forecast will be explained, including insights into the outlook for the remainder of the year. 

Register to attend.

* All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate.

SOURCE Cox Automotive Press Release. 

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Hyundai X NTU: Four Pilot Projects Focusing On Mobility Of The Future.

Hyundai x NTU: Four Pilot Projects Focusing On Mobility Of The Future.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group have inked an agreement to run four research projects focusing on the production of electric vehicles and future mobility technologies. 

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


Specifically, the projects will look at the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and additive manufacturing(AM) technologies. The research initiatives were part of NTU’s vision to develop applications that would be revolutionary, paving the way for next-generation automobile manufacturing. One of the projects, for instance, is to build machine learning algorithms for vehicle image processing, that could be tapped to check the quality of battery electric vehicles. An AI-powered image processing sensor deployed in the manufacturing plant could detect defects and anomalies across the production process, ensuring the safety and reliability of the final product, NTU said. 

Another project would explore the integration of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, to customise automotive components for electric vehicles and how these parts could be implemented in small factor operation. This could facilitate smart manufacturing sites capable of building car models that are customised.

The partnership between Hyundai and NTU started last October, when NTU was unveiled as Hyundai’s first academic research partner for their innovation centre in Singapore. The project will steadily begin research work this month and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The Hyundai research facility focuses on future mobility technologies and together with NTU, Hyundai also planned to run 3D printing competitions in automotive engineering, which they hoped would spur interest in electric vehicle manufacturing and nurture new talent in the sector. NTU students and researchers also would be able to tap Hyundai’s industry experts to exchange ideas. 

There are similar projects that Hyundai has partaken in 2021, in view of their carbon neutrality goals. In June, Hyundai teamed up with mobile app platform Grab to drive the adoption of electric vehicles in Southeast Asia. Both companies would explore pilots to ease the use of such vehicles for Grab drivers and delivery partners, such as offering leasing programmes on a “battery-as-a-service” model. The South Korean carmaker in March also announced a partnership with Singapore telco Singtel to develop a system for Hyundai to monitor electric cars driven on the island. The Internet of Things (IoT) platform would provide Hyundai with telemetry, or “automatic data transmission”, on the status and performance of the batteries powering the electric vehicles used the company’s subscription service.

Indeed, multinational automotive manufacturers are gearing ahead into the all-electric future and it seems that this vision of the future, would soon become the present reality. 

References of the content:
1. Original Article Source: Eileen Yu, ZDNet, 2021
2. Image Source: Lorenzo Hamers on Unsplash

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Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

It seems that not much has changed from the age of petrol-fueled vehicles to our current era of electric vehicles(EVs). Scientists are still grappling worldwide over the depleting availability of resources and the effective usage of those resources to meet the rising demand in the automotive industry.

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


General Motors earlier this year announced their commitment towards being carbon neutral, and added that by 2035, all their vehicles will consist of zero tailpipe emissions. Audi, another leading multinational automotive manufacturer, pledges to end the production of combustion-engine by 2033.

With these two market leaders taking the leap forward to an all-electric future, many multinational companies are overwhelmed with the pressure to quickly transition to EVs to maintain their competitive edge but more importantly, meet the rising consumer demand. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis forecasts that by 2026, more than half of new passenger vehicles sold worldwide will be electric.

With the shift from fuel-intensive to material-intensive energy sources, there are two main concerns that scientists are struggling to resolve. Firstly, to reduce the usage of metal in batteries as it is scarce, expensive, environmentally toxic and working conditions hazardous to miners. Secondly, would be to create a recyclable battery system to maximise the utility of the valuable metals available.

Lithium-ion batteries are highly used in EVs due to their low cost which is 30 times cheaper than when they first entered the market in the early 1990s[1]. In addition, BNEF estimated that the current reserves of lithium— 21 million tonnes, according to the US Geological Survey — are enough to carry the conversion to EVs through to the mid-century.[2]  Hence, what concerns researches in EV batteries is Cobalt and Nickel.

In an attempt to address this issue, researches have been experimenting in removing both cobalt and nickel from the composition of EV batteries. However, to successfully remove them would radically transform the cathode materials. In recent years, Ceder’s team and other groups have displayed that certain lithium-rich rock salts were able to perform without the use of cobalt or nickel and yet remain stable in the process. In particular, they can be made with manganese, which is cheap and plentiful, Ceder says.[3]

To create a battery recycling system, another hurdle to overcome is the cost of recycling lithium. A potential solution would be through government support, which is seen in China where financial and regulatory incentives for battery companies are given to source materials from recycling firms instead of importing freshly mined ones, says Hans Eric Melin, managing director of Circular Energy Storage, a consulting company in London.

It is also problematic for manufacturers in their recycling efforts, when the chemistry of cathodes become obsolete at the end of the cars’ life cycle. In response to that, material scientist Andrew Abbott at the University of Leicester, UK developed a technique for separating out cathode materials using ultrasound. He adds that this method works effectively in battery cells that are packed flat rather than rolled up and can make recycled materials much cheaper than virgin mined metals.[4]

Scaling up the volume of lithium also aids in reducing the cost of recycling and this would make it economically viable for businesses to adopt it says Melin. The example of lead-acid batteries — the ones that start petrol-powered cars — gives reason for optimism.  “The value of a lead-acid battery is even lower than a lithium-ion battery. But because of volume, it makes sense to recycle anyway,” Melin says.[5]

With the collaborative effort among policymakers, researchers and manufacturers an all-electric future is an attainable reality.

References of Content:
Original Article Source: Davide Castelvecchi, 2021( https://t.co/amlXvXWs6E?amp=1 )

[1]  M. S. Ziegler & J. E. Trancik Energy Environ. Sci.2021

[2]  BloombergNEF. Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 (BNEF, 2021)

[3]  Yang, J. H., Kim, H. & Ceder, G. Molecules 26, 3173 (2021)

[4] Lei, C. et al. Green Chem. 23, 4710–4715 (2021)

[5] Melin, H. E. et al. Science 373, 384–387 (2021).

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GM Will Boost EV And AV Investments To $35 Billion Through 2025

GM Will Boost EV And AV Investments To $35 Billion Through 2025

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) will increase its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, representing a 75 percent increase from its initial commitment announced prior to the pandemic.

The company’s enhanced commitment will accelerate its transformative strategy to become the market leader in EVs in North America; the global leader in battery and fuel cell technology through its Ultium battery platform and HYDROTEC fuel cells; and through Cruise, be the first to safely commercialise self-driving technology at scale.

“We are investing aggressively in a comprehensive and highly-integrated plan to make sure that GM leads in all aspects of the transformation to a more sustainable future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio.”

GM first shared its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion nearly four years ago. Key factors changing the landscape include strong public reaction to the GMC HUMMER EV and HUMMER EV SUV, the Cadillac LYRIQ and the Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup; GM and dealer investments in the EV customer experience; public and private investment in EV charging infrastructure; and the global policy environment.

“There is a strong and growing conviction among our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, unions and investors, as well as policymakers, that electric vehicles and self-driving technology are the keys to a cleaner, safer world for all,” Barra said.

Today’s announcement builds on GM’s initial commitment announced in March 2020 to invest $20 billion from 2020 through 2025, including capital, engineering expenses and other development costs, to accelerate its transition to EVs and AVs. In November 2020, the company increased its planned investment over the same period to $27 billion.

GM’s additional investments and new collaborations are far-reaching and designed to create even greater competitive advantages for the company. They include:

  • Accelerating Ultium battery cell production in the United States: GM is accelerating plans to build two new battery cell manufacturing plants in the United States by mid-decade to complement the Ultium Cells LLC plants under construction in Tennessee and Ohio. Further details about these new U.S. plants, including the locations, will be announced at a later date.
  • Commercialising U.S.-made Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells: In addition to collaborating with Honda to build two EVs using Ultium technology – one SUV for the Honda brand and one for the Acura brand – GM announced June 15 it has signed a memorandum of understanding to supply Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells to Wabtec Corporation, which is developing the world’s first 100 percent battery-powered locomotive.
  • Expanding and accelerating the rollout of EVs for retail and fleet customers: In November 2020, GM announced it would deliver 30 new EVs by 2025 globally, with two-thirds available in North America. Through the additional investments announced today, GM will add to its North America plan new electric commercial trucks and other products that will take advantage of the creative design opportunities and flexibility enabled by the Ultium Platform.  In addition, GM will add additional U.S. assembly capacity for EV SUVs. Details will be announced at a later date.
  • Safely deploying self-driving technology at scale: Cruise, GM’s majority-owned subsidiary, recently became the first company to receive permission from regulators in California to provide a driverless AV passenger service to the public. Cruise also was recently selected as the exclusive provider of AV rideshare services to the city of Dubai and is working with Honda to begin development of an AV testing program in Japan. In addition, GM Financial will provide a multi-year, $5 billion credit facility for Cruise to scale its Cruise Origin fleet. Developed through a partnership between GM, Honda and Cruise, the Cruise Origin will be built at GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center starting in early 2023.

 

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Future Electric Vehicle Platforms Will Be Flexible And Multifaceted

Future Electric Vehicle Platforms Will be Flexible And Multifaceted

As the automotive industry converges toward connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) mobility, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are working on re-engineering their conventional platforms to accommodate electric vehicle (EV) components such as batteries and motors. However, the industry’s transition from a vehicle-centric to a service-centric approach necessitates the development of new digital platforms (software, back-haul connectivity, and cloud).

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis finds that future modular EV platforms will be flexible and multifaceted, with various vehicle types and shapes built on a single program, saving OEMs the time, effort, and money required to launch new models. The study examines emerging market trends, platform development’s collaborative approach, new business models for platforms, and growth opportunities.

“In the future, the automotive industry will not be restricted to traditional vehicle manufacturing methods, and sales will focus on building new downstream sources of revenue with an emphasis on the users instead of the vehicles,” said Kamalesh MohanarangamProgram Manager, Mobility Practice at Frost & Sullivan.

“As the automotive industry shifts from the traditional pyramidal value chain to a flat value chain, mobility companies are sourcing chassis technology and platforms from third parties and integrating their technologies.”

Mohanarangam added: “Although the initial investment required to develop a dedicated, scalable platform is significantly high, the excessive flexibility this platform offers will offset this investment through economies of scale. Further, the amount of time, investment, and effort required to manufacture different battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on an EV platform is significantly less when compared to other platforms.”

Market participants should focus on the following growth prospects:

  • To overcome CASE-related challenges, industry participants must develop modular and flexible platforms to offer a number of models without significant investment.
  • With electrification and autonomy gaining popularity, OEMs need to push purpose-built platforms for EV production to enable the seamless introduction of automation.
  • Suppliers will need to expand their scope and focus on bringing in X-by-wire systems for spacious cabins. They should ensure that fail-operational functionalities are built into the system to develop and offer products that address evolving hardware architecture and the software consolidation process.
  • By developing end-to-end software platforms that are scalable and modular, OEMs can make resource sharing a reality, which will lower overall costs and add new capabilities.

 

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Globaldata: Global Vehicle Market Recovery On Track

Globaldata: Global Vehicle Market Recovery On Track

After an unprecedented pandemic-induced reversal in 2020, the global vehicle market is firmly in recovery phase in 2021, according to the latest analysis by GlobalData.

“April’s light vehicle sales have now been reported for all global markets. They show an 83.4 percent year-on-year overall increase, which was not unexpected due to the impact COVID-19 had on the prior year’s sales. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) came in at 88.4 million. Together with March’s stronger result, April showed the global market recovery is on track,” commented Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData.

However, the global new vehicle market recovery this year hides mixed trends at regional level. Demand for new vehicles is surging in the US, even as forecasts for Europe are downgraded.

MacRae continues: “An index of SAAR, shows that West Europe is furthest removed from the January 2018 base, while the US market has undergone the shallowest impact from COVID-19. Indeed, the US market continues to perform above expectations.

The US market is currently fuelled by the fiscal stimulus and a sense of FOMO among consumers. The fear is driven by dealer stock being depleted to historic lows due to the chip supply issues that have plagued production in the industry in the first half.”

GlobalData figures also show solid new vehicle demand this year in China, although the West European market is undergoing a patchy recovery. April’s West European new vehicle sales came in at around the same level as the prior month, but markets have been roiled by ongoing COVID-19 population movement restrictions.

MacRae concludes: “Our latest forecast for the world – at 86.1 million light vehicle sales for the year – still sees 2021 as being some 3.3 percent shy of 2019’s total, but don’t be too surprised if the market ends up closer to 2019 than many currently forecast.”

 

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Freedom To Measure With Volvo

Freedom To Measure With Volvo

An automotive production plant for Volvo has boosted its productivity and efficiency with advanced measurement systems. Article by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.  

With some 2400 employees, Volvo Car Body Components (VCBC) in Olofström is an automotive production plant that produces millions of car body parts every year. From hoods and roofs to doors and subassemblies, the facility is dedicated to pressing sheet metal into vital car components that are shipped whole or partially assembled to Volvo car factories around the world for final assembly and finishing.

The earliest production stages of the car design process at Volvo rely heavily on the development of the sheet metal stamping tools designed and manufactured by the Tool and Die team at Olofström. The team is first responsible for producing tool prototypes, and with up with up to 80 tools needed for a vehicle project this can be a four-to-five-month task. Each project typically runs for a year, and the remainder of the time is dedicated to producing the final tooling that will be used to press hundreds of thousands of car body components.

In 2018, the team decided it was time to introduce a modern metrology solution to their tool prototyping and production with the goal of improving productivity. They identified several key steps in their design, production and validation process that could potentially benefit from the introduction of advanced measurement devices. Having a large and well-equipped quality room already in place, the team was already familiar with a wide range of metrology hardware. One of their key considerations was identifying a solution that would be as at home on the shop floor as it was in the quality room.

Improving the Initial Casting

The first step in producing a designed prototype or final tool is the precision milling of a casted block of raw material. Casting is not a precise process, and the casted part is typically delivered with a lot of excess raw material that must be subsequently milled down to the correct size and shape.

A key step in setting up a casted part for milling is ensuring there is no collision between the milling machine and part as they are both moved into position. Such a collision can result in expensive and time-consuming damage to the CNC milling machine. Therefore, the operator must introduce a safety factor when setting things up – positioning the machine far enough away from the material that they are sure no collision will occur. Doing this by eye is not easy, and often means that the milling machine spends a significant amount of time at the beginning of its program milling nothing.

“When you can optimise the milling program to the actual size of the material, that’s the big time saving, because it doesn’t matter if the machine goes through the air or through the material, it’s the same speed,” said Kim Tingstedt, Tool and Die Operator at VCBC Olofström.

This optimisation was already being performed, but with the comprehensive data provided by a scanner, things could be much easier. This casting scan data can be used in other ways to improve production. Tool castings are extremely heavy and difficult to move, so any possibility to make them lighter improves their usability and reduces the amount of raw material required to make them. This means they have to be as small as possible – but not too small; if not enough material is left between the outside of the tool and the inside of its precision mould, it won’t be strong enough to withstand repeated high-power stamping.

Using scan data taken after casting, the casting of subsequent prototypes and final tools can be refined to ensure the minimum weight and raw material usage is achieved without diminishing the structural integrity of the tool. This also has the benefit of allowing the milling machine to begin its work closer to the final part shape with each iteration, compounding the time savings at every step.

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Rise In Demand For EVs To Reduce Carbon Footprint Creates Opportunities In Lithium-Ion Battery Packs Market

Rise In Demand For EVs To Reduce Carbon Footprint Creates Opportunities In Lithium-Ion Battery Packs Market

The emergence of lithium-ion batteries has been phenomenal. With the rising awareness about environmental conservation around the world, many individuals switched toward buying products or items that have a lower negative impact on the environment. As lithium-ion battery packs are used extensively in such products, the market will expand at a healthy CAGR of 11 percent across the forecast period of 2021-2031, to surpass a valuation of US$ 120.3 bn by 2031 according to a report by Transparency Market Research (TMR).

Lithium-ion battery packs are rechargeable batteries mainly used for electric vehicles and portable electronic items. These battery packs are eco-friendly alternatives to store energy and do not contain high levels of heavy metals that are harmful to the environment. All these aspects act as prominent growth generators for the lithium-ion battery packs market.

The demand for hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles has increased exponentially across various regions. The growing demand for these vehicles has led to an increase in the demand for lithium-ion battery packs, which will positively influence the growth of the global market for lithium-ion battery packs market.

Furthermore, government bodies of numerous countries are increasing their efforts to reduce carbon emissions across their regions. Various agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement have been signed to speed up the process of decarbonisation. Densely populated countries like India are encouraging the production of electric vehicles through initiatives like Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) and others. Thus, these factors are helping in increasing the growth opportunities across the lithium-ion battery packs market.

 

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Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant Iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

Driving Hard On The Race Track: Wear-Resistant iglidur Gears In The Gearbox

The iglidur I6 gears from the 3D printer for car racing of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) challenge

Electromobility is a crucial topic of the future. For Germany to be in the pole position, it is important to inspire young minds to take up scientific and engineering professions. Towards this purpose, the annual JET Challenge takes place at the IdeenExpo in Hanover. Students are given the task of building a fast, tough and energy-efficient racing car from a standard, remote-controlled car with a limited budget. Wear-resistant 3D-printed gears from igus made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6 helped in this endeavour.

Build a fast, energy-saving racing car from an ordinary, remote-controlled car and overtake all other teams in a race – that’s the goal of the “Youth Discovers Technology” (Jugend entdeckt Technik – JET) Challenge, organised by the Society of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure – VDI) and the University of Hanover (Hochschule Hannover – HSH). As with the renowned models, the key factor is not speed alone, but also energy efficiency. In June 2019, visitors to the IdeenExpo can see the JET Challenge in action at the HSH trade fair stand. 25 teams compete for victory with their racing cars on a 1:10 scale on a 20-metre race track. The rules are strict. Available to each team is a budget of just 50 euros. Apart from battery, motor and speed controller, all components must be purchased, developed or built by yourself.

Save money with the igus 3D printing service

The teams are currently preparing for the next IdeenExpo. Students of the Eugen Reintjes vocational school are relying on a wear-resistant and tough gear transmission to enhance the performance of their race car. The biggest difficulty with this gearbox was the gear procurement. Due to the small budget, the students couldn’t afford big innovations. Finally, they found what they were looking for at the motion plastics specialist igus in Cologne: cost-effective, low-wear gears from the SLS printer. After a simple online configuration, the gears were printed and provided, made from the high-performance plastic iglidur I6.

High performance plastic makes race cars tough

Laboratory tests prove that the material I6 is significantly tougher than other plastics. In an experiment at our in-house test laboratory, the engineers tested gears made of polyoxymethylene (POM) and iglidur I6 at 12 revolutions per minute and loaded with 5Nm. A machined gear made of POM failed after 621,000 revolutions, while iglidur I6 was still in very good condition after one million revolutions. Thus, the team does not have to worry about potential failures. The gears in the racing car have already successfully completed an initial test run. The car is energy efficient and still reaches the top speed of 60km/h.

The young engineers support from igus promotes innovative projects

Innovative projects such as the race car gears for the JET Challenge are supported by igus as part of the young engineers support. The initiative supports young pupils, students and inventors in the development and execution of their technical projects.

 

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