Lightweight design has recently become a much more significant trend in the auto industry. Even with small components like seals, a great deal of weight can be saved. From Freudenberg’s standpoint, several forward-looking issues come together in these approaches.
In his office, Dr. Ted Duclos, the CTO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, is holding up a palm-sized plastic ring. “I know that it seems very small and insignificant,” he said. “But components like this quickly add up to several kilograms of weight in an engine.” And weight is one of the factors getting special attention from the auto industry – for a range of very different reasons.
Duclos has just returned from the Lightweight Summit in Würzburg, an international gathering of more than 300 experts from industry and research. Specialized lectures, discussion panels and presentations focus on lightweight design in the auto industry and especially in electric mobility. “Lightweight design is a trend,” Duclos said. In the design of classic internal combustion engines because low weight reduces emissions. And for the future of the electric car because reduced weight increases the vehicle’s range. Or to put it another way, lightweight design is one of several trends that are now logically tied to one another.