Canadian Plastics

German firms Continental, Aft form JV to make plastic couplings for hybrid, electric cars

The two companies have already been jointly developing special couplings that connect the cooling circuit or the turbocharger/charge-air cooler with units in the engine compartment since 2016, and the JV is an expansion of this.

August 17, 2020   Canadian Plastics

The JV will expand the technology into the lines, hoses and connectors that are essential to the thermal management systems of hybrid and electric cars. Photo Credit: Continental AG

Germany-based technology company Continental AG and German system supplier Aft automotive are setting up a 50/50 joint venture to manufacture couplings made of high-performance plastics for the automotive sector.

The two companies have already been jointly developing special couplings that connect the cooling circuit or the turbocharger/charge-air cooler with units in the engine compartment since 2016, and the JV is an expansion of this.

“Our lines and connectors remain vital lifelines in cars – both for hybrid and electric vehicles and for IC engines,” said Philip Nelles, head of Continental’s mobile fluid systems business unit. “The close collaborative partnership with aft automotive will enhance our skills as a system supplier and enable us to consistently expand our technological expertise in high-performance plastics for the future.”

The new company is planned to create more than 30 new jobs by 2025. Completion of the joint venture is subject to the approval of the relevant anti-trust authorities.

“Until now, line systems have often been made of rubber or stainless steel,” Continental said in a statement. “Especially in vehicles with hybrid drives or electric motors, though, there is a growing trend towards replacing rubber with premium technical plastics. This has allowed the developers to achieve further weight reductions while simultaneously improving performance: Plastic components reduce vehicle weight and thus help lower fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions.”

At the same time, Continental said, the downsizing of space in IC engines is changing the demands on connectors and lines because lighter, quieter and higher-power drives result in increased pressure and thermal loads. “For example, auxiliary unit components in the latest generation of IC engines have to withstand continuous temperatures of 160 degrees Celsius for over 3,000 hours with temperature peaks of up to 210 degrees Celsius,” the statement continued. “High-performance plastics such as heat-stabilized polyamide are able to meet these demands in full.”


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