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5/7/2015

Glass/epoxy RTM process yields “four-in-one” auto suspension blade

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Hutchison (Levallois Perret, France) caused a stir at JEC Europe with its Trifunctional Auto Suspension.

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Hutchison (Levallois Perret, France) caused a stir at JEC Europe with its Trifunctional Auto Suspension, made of glass/epoxy in a resin transfer molding (RTM) process. Hutchinson’s technical director of the Centre Technique Composite (CTeC), Bertrand Florentz, told CW that the composite “suspension blade” combines four front suspension functions in one part: It eliminates the need for helical springs, wishbones, ball joints, and the need for an anti-roll stabilizing bar and, lastly, it damps or “filters” road noise caused by the frequencies gener- ated by the tires. This approach reduces vehicle weight by 13.6 kg compared to steel-centric suspension, and saves labor and assembly time. The new unit — a design actually envisioned 20 years ago — will be used on a new hybrid European car model. The part reportedly enables a one-step assembly process, instead of the usual 12 steps involved with suspension builds.

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