LANXESS polyamide 6 used for oil pan of Porsche 911 Car­rera

Auto components India - - INTERNATIONAL - ACI

The trend of man­u­fac­tur­ing en­gine oil pans from plas­tic in­stead of met­als such as alu­minum is con­tin­u­ing to gain ground. For his­tor­i­cal rea­sons, the plas­tic of choice today has been polyamide 6.6. How­ever, newer de­signs are favour­ing polyamide 6, an al­ter­na­tive that of­fers a sim­i­larly high-qual­ity prop­erty pro­file, but is much more eco­nom­i­cal.

The lat­est de­sign of this type is the oil pan mod­ule for the new six-cylin­der boxer en­gines of the Porsche 911 Car­rera, which is be­ing man­u­fac­tured us­ing Durethan from LANXESS. “The com­po­nent fully sat­is­fies the spe­cific re­quire­ments for func­tional in­te­gra­tion, light­weight con­struc­tion and cost­ef­fec­tive pro­duc­tion that the new gen­er­a­tion of en­gines has to meet,” ex­plains Jorge Soares, pro­ject man­ager for the highly com­plex com­po­nent at POLYTEC PLAS­TICS Ger­many GMBH & Co KG, which is based in Lohne. The oil pan mod­ule has been de­vel­oped in close col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween POLYTEC and Porsche.

Data for part­ners

In a study car­ried out for Porsche, LANXESS proved the fea­si­bil­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ing mo­tor oil pans from polyamide 6. For ex­am­ple, ag­ing tests were car­ried out to de­ter­mine the dura­bil­ity of the ther­mo­plas­tic un­der ex­po­sure to el­e­ments such as new and used en­gine oil. Spec­i­men stor­age tests span­ning a to­tal of 3,000 hours at 150 °C were per­formed on highly re­in­forced, hy­drol­y­sis-sta­bi­lized, easy-flowing and high-tem­per­a­ture-sta­bi­lized Durethan grades, among oth­ers.

“The test re­sults show that the ag­ing be­hav­ior of heat-sta­bi­lized polyamide 6 is only marginally dif­fer­ent to that of heat-sta­bi­lized polyamide 6.6 in terms of ten­sile strength, Young’s mod­u­lus, elon­ga­tion at break and im­pact strength. Ap­pro­pri­ately op­ti­mized polyamide 6 com­pounds are there­fore ide­ally suited for use in com­po­nents that con­vey en­gine oil,” says Christof Bo­den, ex­pert for en­gine com­part­ment ap­pli­ca­tions from LANXESS. The spe­cialty chem­i­cals com­pany is mak­ing the test re­sults – and other ma­te­rial data – avail­able to de­vel­op­ment part­ners as part of joint projects.

Pro­duc­tion and in­stal­la­tion

The en­gine oil pan for the Porsche 911 Car­rera con­sists of an up­per and a lower part made from 30% glass fiber-re­in­forced Durethan BKV 30 H2.0 from LANXESS. The up­per part is screw-con­nected to a pipe­line car­rier that is also made from polyamide 6. Us­ing plas­tic in­stead of alu­minum means that nu­mer­ous func­tions can be shaped di­rectly dur­ing in­jec­tion mould­ing, thereby in­te­grat­ing them into the com­po­nent. This has helped re­duce the num­ber of sep­a­rate parts that need to be man­u­fac­tured and mounted for the oil pan from 14 on the metal de­sign to 8.

The num­ber of key work steps needed in the fi­nal as­sem­bly of the en­gine has also been cut from 8 to 2. For ex­am­ple, the bulk­head panel is in­te­grated into the lower part of the pan and it is no longer has to be in­stalled sep­a­rately with a seal. Fur­ther­more, the oil re­turn lines of the tur­bocharger, the oil sep­a­ra­tor and the air-oil sep­a­ra­tor are com­bined in the pipe­line car­rier.

Polyamide 6 has helped to re­duce the weight of the up­per and lower sec­tions of the oil pan to 1.3 and 1.8 kg, re­spec­tively. Over­all, the oil pan is more than 2 kg lighter than its alu­minum pre­de­ces­sor, due to the lower den­sity of the plas­tic and the op­ti­mised wall thick­nesses.

A key ar­gu­ment in fa­vor of man­u­fac­tur­ing the oil pan us­ing in­jec­tion mould­ing was the huge po­ten­tial that the process of­fers for in­te­grat­ing func­tions and thereby cut­ting costs. What’s more, as the parts are pro­duced in a sin­gle step in the mould, there is no need for com­plex fin­ish­ing work such as de­bur­ring die-cast alu­minum parts. The lower en­ergy costs are another ben­e­fit in favour of man­u­fac­tur­ing in­jec­tion­moulded parts.

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