Plastic cam carriers are coming

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

fraunhofer cam carrier1 Fraunhofer plastic cam carrier fraunhofer cam carrier1
fraunhofer cam carrier2 Fraunhofer plastic cam cap fraunhofer cam carrier2

German organisation announces a lighter alternative

The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Germany has shown a prototype plastic cam carrier and cap design that it says replaces the more usual aluminium casting used on the majority of OHC engines.

According to the organisation: "When it comes to the choice of the right polymer, the project partners opted for high-strength, fiber-reinforced thermoset polymers, as they are well able to withstand high temperatures and mechanical and chemical stresses such as those caused by synthetic motor oils and coolants, for instance.

"'We contribute the know-how regarding how to design the component geometries to suit the material and the process so that they satisfy all requirements,' says Thomas Sorg, a researcher at Fraunhofer ICT.

"'The camshaft module is located in the cylinder head, so normally in the upper installation space of the powertrain. Here, it makes particular sense to reduce weight, since doing so also contributes to lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity.'"

Fraunhofer claims that, in addition to being lighter it's also more economical to produce, while having ample strength to cope with the stresses involved. While the plastic material isn't as rigid as aluminium, the design of the piece takes this into account.

The company says a significant side-benefit is a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness. And it claims to be more 'green' to produce.

So far, the design has done 600 hours of dynamic testing in an engine.

You can find the company's full release here

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