Mercedes to use polyamide crossbeam

Fibreglass reinforced polyamide has been used in the construction of the transmission crossbeam – part of the rear axle – on the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The component, created using BASF Ultramid, is said to offer optimum strength, good noise, vibration and harshness performance, as well as high crash protection. As a central component of the rear axle, it is about 25% lighter than die-cast aluminium versions.

"The rear axle transmission crossbeam is a milestone in the use of polyamides on the chassis and has the potential to set a new trend in the automotive industry," said Kai Frühauf, head of the Vibration Control business unit at ContiTech - a specialist in rubber and plastics technology that helped with development.
Polyamide components allow vehicle designers to reduce weight. And, unlike aluminium, polyamide can be shaped at lower temperatures.

"Absolute precision is called for in the design and production of the transmission crossbeam – particularly in terms of the strength and dimensional accuracy of the component," said Diethard Schneider, head of lightweight construction predevelopment at ContiTech. "Only when all the properties are exactly right can the component be assembled in the axle system without any problems. The fact that premium suppliers are among the forerunners shows the trust and confidence engineers have in polyamide components for engine and chassis applications."

Justin Cunningham

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