Weight Reduction in Cars: How You Can Reduce Weight Without Sacrificing Quality?
Joe Cull· October 30, 2020
Have you ever tried to pick up a car?
Not that the average person ever needs to pick up a car, but even if we did, we probably couldn’t do it. Why? Because cars are heavy! And they always have been.
But through the years – as customers have demanded more and more comforts – vehicles have gotten even heavier.
And heavier vehicles equal higher levels of CO2 emissions.
This fact has laid some serious responsibility at the feet of the automotive industry as it has faced increasingly demanding CO2-emission-reduction requirements. Automotive manufacturers have responded by seeking solutions to reduce vehicle weight which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption and harmful CO2.
Experts say a 10-kilogram weight reduction saves one gram of CO2 per kilometer. That means every gram of weight reduction counts.
But what can automotive manufacturers do to reduce weight without sacrificing quality
The automotive industry actually has more options today than ever before. Options that are good for the planet and good for its people – can you think of anyone who wouldn’t want better fuel efficiency? We couldn’t either!
Here are just a few of the solutions available right now:
1. Hole-covering tapes
What are hole-covering tapes? They’re lightweight sealing solutions designed to substitute conventional rubber and plastic plugs or butyl patches; and they can reduce part weight by as much as 85 percent! That’s based on covering an average of 72 interior and exterior holes per vehicle. We don’t know about you, but we think that’s quite a reduction!
And besides being on the light side, these tapes provide maximum flexibility for uneven surfaces, excellent puncture resistance against mechanical impacts, and reliable sealant against humidity and dirt.
2. Self-adhesive films
If you thought the hole-covering tapes were lightweight, wait until you hear about laser-engraved self-adhesive films! They can replace traditional metal tags for vehicle identification and withstand thermal, chemical and physical influences as well as ID tampering.
The data is permanently engraved in the surface, and compared to metal tags, get this… they can save as much as 95 percent in weight!
3. PET fleece and cloth backings
PET fleece and cloth backings are proven solutions for harness coverings in the engine compartment and car interior. They offer flexibility, temperature resistance, abrasion protection, and noise-damping properties.
Due to the growing number of electric components in cars, wire harness diameters just keep getting bigger and bigger – and yes, that also means heavier and heavier!
To counteract this trend and the growing increase in weight, some manufacturers are turning to cloth tapes because they provide as much as 10 percent component weight savings compared to traditional harness coverings like convoluted tubing.
And for smaller harnesses throughout the vehicle body, they can choose adhesive tapes with aggressive acrylic adhesive in lieu of hot melt. These tapes securely attach cables and small harnesses.
They also have anti-squeak and anti-rattle properties to prevent too much unwanted noise. And… they don’t wear out! Owners can enjoy a quiet ride for the entire lifetime of a vehicle that’s secured with aggressive acrylic adhesive.
And before we forget… Back on the topic of weight reduction, these tapes can save an average 73 to 87 percent depending on the specific solution!
4. Structural adhesives
For substituting conventional material like steel with lighter material such as aluminum, advanced plastics, carbon fiber, or composite material, manufacturers can’t use mechanical fasteners or welding to join the lighter materials. Instead they turn to structural adhesives which can join plastics and composites to metal and prevent galvanic corrosion.
Structural adhesives provide a lot of great benefits:
• Increased material stiffness and impact resistance that ensure load distribution over a larger area.
• Reliable bonding of different materials and uneven surfaces.
• Noise and rattle suppression.
• Corrosion protection.
And the real benefit we’re interested in? Weight reduction! Substituting the conventional materials with lighter components and joining them with structural adhesives can save more than 50 percent in weight!
The automotive industry has had a ton of weight to lose in recent years. Consumers and governments alike have demanded it. The good news is lighter adhesive options that don’t compromise quality are out there, and they’re changing the way vehicles shed weight.
Reach out to us for more information on losing weight but keeping quality!