The automotive industry is changing rapidly and manufacturers face new challenges in the design, development and manufacture of new models. The global demand for electric vehicles is increasing while at the same time customers want cars with longer battery range, lower cost and increasingly custom-design options.
KnitMesh Technologies, the leading manufacturer of knitted mesh products used in engineering applications, boasts a unique portfolio comprising cutting-edge solutions for the automotive industry. The range includes mesh products used in heatshields, exhaust systems, decoupling joints and load support assemblies. The most popular material for assured performance at high temperature is a combination of stainless steel mesh and electro-plated washers, although alternatives are available in a wide range of other materials depending on the application.
“In terms of electric vehicles, we threw the gauntlet down to our engineering team a few years ago and they happily accepted the challenge…” says Lew Bingham, Managing Director, KnitMesh Technologies Ltd. “EVs are a lot heavier than conventional vehicles and must comply with very stringent regulations regarding fire and explosion prevention from their battery packs”.
Specifically for EV manufacturing, our customers can specify products made from a wide range of materials in a variety of diameters. They must also have elasticity, thermal expansion, conductivity, specific heat and electrical resistivity characteristics that ensure any excess heat generated from the electric motor or the battery pack is dissipated quickly and safely.
“Our best-selling product is the heatshield isolator that is available in circular, rectangular and cylindrical form. Our in-house team of engineers can rapidly produce and test cost-effective prototypes from low-cost die sets in order to accelerate the product development time. These lightweight washers can then be fixed easily and cost-effectively by riveting, spot welding, bolting or using side-wall friction” Bingham continues.
Whilst part of the appeal of electric vehicles is that they are almost silent when moving, the heavy Li-ion batteries give rise to challenges for the manufacturers who have to battle constantly with the problems associated with noise and vibration which is more apparent in an otherwise silent cabin.
Our knitted wire mesh products have a unique ability to absorb energy, reduce vibration and attenuate sound. Accordingly, the products provide automotive engineers with an effective solution for ‘Buzz, Squeak & Rattle’ (BSR) and ‘Noise, Vibration & Harshness’ (NVH) problems encountered.
Our EV specific range of products has been designed to withstand very high shock loadings. The tiny loops created in the knitting process act like tiny springs which return to their original shape after being subjected to compression. The loops are also free to move in several directions, allowing the knitted material to have natural resilience and to vibrate when sound energy hits the knitted wires. When vibrating, the wires convert sound energy into thermal energy and, in doing so, they create a sound-dampening effect.
“By 2025, analysts forecast that over 8 million electric vehicles, or 7.7% of all stock worldwide (excluding 2 and 3-wheelers) will be on the road. At KnitMesh Technologies, we feel very well placed to meet the demands of EV manufacturing and play our part, with innovative solutions in a robust and demanding supply chain”, Bingham concludes.
To find out more, please visit our Automotive innovations page.