Transmission cross beam made from plastic

Applications for lightweight components are constantly being found in the automotive sector. The latest is a transmission cross beam that has been made from a polyamide plastic. It will be standard on BMW's latest 5 Series Gran Turismo 550i.

The material called Ultramid A3WG10 CR has reduced the weight of the part by 50%, which was made from aluminium. The cross beam was developed by ContiTech Vibration Control in close cooperation with BMW and BASF.

Like many automotive components the actual saving on weight is minimal, just 1 kg, but designers argue the cumulative weight saving across an entire car does is significant. And the importance of this development is it adds to the growing trend of structural, stressed and high temperature parts and components that could previously only be made from metal but are now being replaced by lightweight plastic materials.

The transmission cross beam is a structural component designed to withstand high stressing. It is the direct link to the engine transmission mount. It contributes to the overall rigidity of a vehicle and supports the forces and torque of the engine transmission unit.

In addition to weight reduction, developers claim the part improves crash safety, optimises the vehicles acoustics, and improves recyclability.

Author
Justin Cunningham

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