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A Spanish company specialised in the design and manufacture of thermal, thermo-acoustic and electromagnetic insulations for automotive industry is seeking a sprayable or projectable technology to improve the thermal insulation, noise reduction and vibration dampening of metal-based parts. Additionally, the solution has to be quick drying and flexible after application.The enterprise is looking for collaboration in the form of research cooperation, technical cooperation or license agreement.
The Catalan enterprise from Spain, founded in 1984, is a global Tier 1 leader providing shielding solutions to reduce heat and noise and eliminate electromagnetic interferences by means of metal based stamping parts. It currently manufactures more than 22 million shields per year, and it is a worldwide player with strong presence in the European, Asian and North American markets.
Among others, the company produces metal-based exhaust capsule assemblies (figure-01), that are directly fitted on the exhaust hot end system mounted between the manifold and the catalytic converter of internal combustion vehicle engines (figure-02).
The exhaust capsule is usually made up of 2 metal shells with semi-cylindrical section, made of aluminium or stainless-steel and obtained by cold stamping. Depending on the end user’s thermal requirements, either a glass or silica fibre needlemat is attached inside of the capsule (figure-03 & figure-04) using staples (figure-05) or ceramic glue. The needlemat, which is supplied to the Catalan enterprise as 2-dimensions (2D) flat cut parts (figure-06), is required for thermal energy retention, surrounding parts heat protection, noise reduction and vibration dampening purposes.
The needlemat faces the following problems:
• 2-dimensions (2D) needlemat fibres detach from the exhaust capsules and pollute the environment, making necessary the use of specific Individual Protection Equipment (IPE).
• Needlemat has a low space/volume usage ratio and requires large storage area, causing high logistic costs.
• Some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not accept staples to join the needlemat to the metal. Gluing, which is the alternate solution, is not price-competitive.
• 2D needlemat thickness is not variable.
• 2D needlemat is difficult to be adapted to the irregular shape of the metal shells, causing low cycle times at the assembly production stage
• 2D needlemat could be substituted by 3-dimensions (3D) needlemat. However, it is less competitive due to its higher cost and detachable fibres when handled.
• Some OEMs require fluid-sealed exhaust capsules. An oleophobic needlemat partially covers the problem to prevent oil-soaked needlemat from deflagration.
• Some OEMs require hydrophobic needlemat, but existing coatings with this behaviour do not withstand 800-1000ºC.
• Some OEMs do not accept the emission of odour and fumes originated in the needlemat when the exhaust capsule is heated up for the first time during the vehicle engine start-up. Pyrolisation of the needlemat before attaching it inside of the capsule is not a cost-effective countermeasure.
In order to minimise the former problems, the company is interested in a research or technical cooperation agreement with a partner with whom to collaborate in the development of the insulating material searched to replace the currently used needlemat.
A license agreement could be also envisaged for this collaboration.
The company is seeking for solutions with the following characteristics:
• Thermal application limit between 800ºC and 1100ºC
• Thermal conductivity: reference value at 100ºC = 0,042 W/m K; reference value at 900ºC = 0,190 W/m K
• Performance under vibrations: able to work under compression and absorb vibrations within a range from 0 to 1000 Hz at application temperature range. Force compression reference value before use: 10N at 30% compression.
• Acoustic absorption: absorption capacity from 0 to 4000 Hz. High absorption at 1000 Hz.
• Flammability: the solution must not be flammable when exposed to thermal application limit temperature.
• Thermal shock: the adhesion and the structure must not be affected by the thermal expansion coefficient gap between both the metal and thermal insulating material.
• Assembly or application on metal shell: the solution should preferably be based on adding insulating material on metal shell (e.g.: spraying, projection, 3D printing, deposition). Additionally, the process has to be capable of being automated.
• Product consistence: the solution has to be flexible the time that elapses between its application on the metal shell surface and its hardening.
• Drying time at ambient conditions must not exceed 30 minutes after product application. The Catalan company does not contemplate using high-temperature drying tunnels to shorten the drying time.
• Quality: trimming tolerances of +/-5mm for insulating material position on metal shell and +/- 0.5 mm on thickness have to be ensured.
• Capacity: the solution has to be applicable to mass production, as the Catalan company’s manufacturing volume of exhaust capsules is 6 million sets/year (1 set = 2 metal shells).
• Solution material cost target: lower than 10€/m2
• Fumes & odour: a solution free from organic components is highly appreciated.
• Oleophobic and hydrophobic behaviour at application limit temperature is highly appreciated.
• Product lifespan: able to resist vehicle lifetime under above mentioned working conditions.
And compliant with:
• The European regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
• Directive 2000/53/CE on end-of life vehicles (ELV Directive).
Given that the company unknowns which is the availability and stage of development of the technology that could fulfil his requirements, the requested solution can be:
• Already on the market
• Available for demonstration
• A prototype available for demonstration
The Catalan company is open to collaborate with start-ups, SMEs, universities or R&D institutions that either:
• Have a deep knowledge and expertise in thermal, acoustic and vibration insulation technologies and are looking for a partner to develop a solution that meets the Catalan company request. In this case, depending on the stage of development of the solution, the collaboration could range from research to technical cooperation agreement.
• Are looking for a licensee for a thermal, acoustic and vibration insulation solution for exhaust encapsulation.