DN Staff

January 28, 2010

2 Min Read
Unique Adhesive Cuts Costs for Plastic Oil Pans

A unique government-industry research consortium in Germany is producing interestingnew materials technology, including a new silicone adhesive sealant for rapidlyemerging plastic oil plans.

The new adhesives replace solid gaskets, further extending thesignificant weight savings (around 40 percent) offered by injection moldedpans, which have been under development in the U.S. and Europe for more than 20years, but are just now breaking through into major production models.

DuPont and BASF have been leaders in developing plastic oil pans, andboth companies have developed specialized grades of engineering plastics tomeet the demand.

"Our selection of a particularly high-melt flow grade of Zytelnylon resin meant that we were able to manage the long flow distances at acomparably low injection pressure and despite some very low wallthicknesses," says Ralf Franz, development engineer at ElringKlinger, aGerman auto supplier.

Ford Motor is now using the first plastic oil pan designed for fullexposure to the road environment and optimized to withstand road chemicals andstone impacts. A special waffle-design ribbing pattern can take multipleimpacts unlike earlier plastic designs with sacrificial ribs.

BASF joined with Wacker in a Berlin-based research imitative calledINPRO to develop an adhesive so strong that the integrity of the oil pan sealwith aluminum engine blocks works under all common testing conditions. Thetests included storage in oil and in a blow-by medium (a condensate found inthe crankcase of gasoline engines) and thermal shock tests between temperaturesof -40 and 150C.

Stress-free Geometry

Removal of the solid gasket and a number of screw joints translates intocost savings of 20 to 25 percent per oil pan. Importantly, the flange geometryis free of stresses. Compressive forces can develop when using a vulcanizablesealant that is formed in place.

The RTV-2 liquid silicone rubber can be easily machine applied, cures atroom temperature, and has excellent resistance to oil, heat and blow-by gases.With its outstanding adhesive and sealing properties, this rubber grade willallow innovation in engine design. Its strength derives from an inorganicbackbone that gives silicone elastomers not only greater heat resistance, butalso better resistance to weathering, aging and chemicals than organicpolymers.

INPRO Innovation Society for advanced production systems in theautomotive industry is a joint venture between BASF, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp,Daimler and Volkswagen. Founded in 1983, the government of Berlin is also a partner.

Areas of focus are:

  • Process simulation,

  • Production systems and information processes,

  • Manufacturing and automation technology, and

  • Coatings and composite technologies.


Use of a silicone adhesive in place of solid gaskets and screw joints cut costs for plastic oil pans. Photo:  BASF

Unique Adhesive Cuts Costs for Plastic Oil Pans A

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