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lightweighting


Potts said that an increasing emphasis is being placed on testing and development of plastic products, as well as metal connectors that help to reduce the overall weight of end products.


“The expansion of our laboratories on a global basis allows us to cover an even broader range of complex test requirements for our customers,” he said. “In this way, we also can ensure the same high standards in quality testing throughout the world.”


Test Facilities


Plastic applications are tested at eight of the company’s 12 test facilities around the world. In Asia, Europe and the Americas, new testing machinery offers accelerated lifetime testing to ensure product longevity.


New plastic tubing and components for next-generation sys- tem designs are lighter and easier to assemble than many cur- rent product solutions that rely on metal or rubber, according to Jonathan Heywood, director of product engineering for Norma Group’s Engineered Joining Technology business in Europe. “Tubes and connectors in a wide variety and combination of plastics provide an optimal solution for customer needs for durable, recyclable light-weight parts,” Heywood said. “Plas- tic components with low fluid permeability and the ability to withstand wide temperature variations are ideal for hydrogen lines and battery-cooling applications.”


Heywood said that plastics also can help engine manu-


facturers and their customers, especially in the automotive, commercial-vehicle and marine industries, reduce weight and so lessen CO²


emissions. For example, newer and stricter


exhaust standards such as Euro 6 in Europe and EPA-15 in Canada, Mexico and the US will increasingly require technol- ogy that continues to reduce nitric-oxide emissions from diesel engines.


In the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) process


used to reduce diesel-engine emissions, urea is injected into the exhaust stream under high pressure. The use of urea solutions such as AdBlue or Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) has been proven to cut the emission of nitric oxide from diesel engines by up to 90%. High-performance lines to transport these additives are needed, however, to more cleanly and efficiently burn diesel fuel in next-generation engines. Norma Group is developing components to meet these next-generation needs.


Potts said that lines carrying fluid from storage to the SCR


urea injector have special test requirements. They must, for example, withstand temperatures of up to 300° C and pass long-term durability tests of up to 3000 hours. At the same time various pressure-load tests of up to 20 bar (290 psi) also are performed. Urea solutions present certain other engineering challeng- es as well. AdBlue and other urea solutions freeze at −11.5° C (11.3° F). In cold climates, additional heating is required. Usually, urea-solution lines are electrically heated, which af- fects the design of a vehicle’s electrical system. The Norma Group, however, has developed an addition to its family of urea transport systems that uses heat generated by an engine’s cooling system to warm the urea solution. Fluid transport lines for this Norma Group product now run the urea solution line parallel to lines from the coolant sys- tem. Both are enclosed by a corrugated plastic pipe and heat released by engine coolant is transferred to the urea solution with only a slight loss of heat to the surrounding environ- ment. The lines are made of special weight-reduced plastics rather than heavier metal or rubber. The new system also is designed to simplify the installation and removal of the lines. Urea lines also undergo vibration testing to simulate in- service vehicle operation, and aging is simulated using water and salt solutions. Seal, pull-off force and twisting torque are measured as well. Potts said that automotive and commer- cial-vehicle manufacturers have placed orders for the new lines, which are an addition to the company’s current and well-regarded urea lines already in use.


Norma Group’s new urea


connector system.


40 — Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing 2017


Photo courtesy Norma


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