Advanced adhesive enables French automotive giant to use light weight materials to develop ultra fuel-efficient prototype
The innovative ARaymond™ bonding solution has eased the assembly of Renault’s latest concept car, the EOLAB.
The vehicle, which was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, has been built to test and refine cutting-edge technologies and manufacturing methods that will be used to design and build future production models.
The main objective of the EOLAB is to deliver ultra-low fuel consumption – as little as 1 litre per 100km, equivalent to 22g of CO2 per km. Besides aerodynamics and hybrid technology, this has been achieved by constructing the demonstrator out of light weight materials, including carbon-fiber composites (for the floor panels) and magnesium (for the firewall).
Joining these materials together, or attaching them to the car’s structure, is simply not possible by welding, as with a conventional vehicle made almost completely of steel. It is also very difficult to drill into these materials and traditional mechanical fasteners such as clips can also lead to corrosion issues.
In search of a solution to the problem, Philippe Moutardier, Fabrication Managerfor the EOLAB project, asked for the advice of one of Renault’s top experts on structural bonding, Philippe Michel. His recommendation was the ARaymond™ solution, based on the results of comparative tests conducted by the Renault Techno centre on the performance of several adhesives in the market.
The ARaymond™ bonding technology supplied to Renault is based on TechBond® PUR, a dry, tack-free polyurethane adhesive. Its key attribute is that it offers instant adhesion (green strength) with load-bearing capabilities after just a few minutes.
Mr Moutardier said: “With the ARaymond™ bonding solution, we can apply 80% of the load almost immediately. That’s the big difference with the other technologies on the market: it allows us to attach instantly.”
The heat-activated adhesive is ideal for both dynamic stress and permanent load applications, and is suitable for painted metals, glass, plastics, carbon fiber, glass fiber and many other composites.
On the EOLAB, the adhesive was applied manually to 50 fastening points around the vehicle but the ARaymond™ product was in fact specially developed for clean, industrial automation, another reason why it was selected by Renault.
On a production line, the parts to be bonded are pre-heated.The heat transfers from the part to the adhesive tablet, making the adhesive stick to the surface and it starts to melt. Once the part is applied to the substrate, the adhesive solidifies while cooling.This ‘pick and bond’ process allows for cycle times ofless than five seconds.
The ARaymond™ Bonding solutions involve not just supplying a product or technology, but also working closely with the customer throughout the lifecycle of a project.
Mr Moutardier added: “Beyond the technical advantages of the ARaymond™ bonding solution, I was very impressed by the organization and professionalism of the implementation. I really appreciated that this work was conducted in a true partnership approach.”
Béatrice Colbeau, International Key Account Manager – ARaymond™ Bonding Solutions, said: “Our added value lies in our ability to provide manufacturers with in-depth expertise and a comprehensive range of services, all the way from the start of a project until the very last day of production.
“This is what sets us apart from our competitors: we provide not only the technical solution, but also ensure that our customer can take ownership and fully integrate the solution by giving them a high level of support.”
Elsewhere in the automotive sector, ARaymond proposesa range of bespoke bonding solutions for OEMs and tier one contractors, including a fully automated solution for bonding of trim clips on the windows of a vehicle for a German car manufacturer.
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