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Laser transparency for engine cooling


Motor developer PM DM uses Ultradur LUX plastic for laser welded control unit
The new Ultradur ® LUX is being used in an air flap control unit, an unusual serial application in automotive construction . Motor developer Precision Motors Deutsche Minebea (PM DM), based in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany, is employing this highly laser-transparent and thus easily laser-weldable BASF plastic of the PBT family (PBT: polybutylene terephthalate) to make the housing cover of its novel control module. This small actuator consisting of gears, an electric motor and an electronic unit serves to control the air flaps in motor vehicles, thus contributing to better aerodynamics and lower CO2 emissions.

Temperature management under the hood
In the future, it will be possible to control the air flow that cools modern car engines, achieving even greater efficiency than before: movable air flaps or vanes installed behind the radiator grill can be closed by the actuator in response to cold weather, helping the engine to reach its operating temperature more quickly. At the same time, the closed vanes reduce air resistance when the vehicle is travelling at high speeds, which also saves fuel. The PM DM company developed this actuator in a joint effort with Röchling Automotive, a supplier to the car industry. The market leader and inventor of air flap systems integrates the modules into its components and also takes care of the validation for its automobile customers. The performance parameters of the PM DM actuators as well as their very compact design allow the supplier to respond flexibly to the requirements in various types of cars.

Laser-transparent PBT
The highly laser-transparent PBT Ultradur LUX accounts for stiffness and dimensional stability, even in damp environments, two properties which are particularly important in the electric and electronic realms. The product’s key characteristic is its high transparency toward near-infrared light in the 800 to 1100 nm wavelength, precisely the crucial range for penetration laser welding. The improved transparency to laser light means that this material can be welded faster than other PBT grades available on the market. Moreover, the processing window is considerably wider and the risk of damage to the material is much lower. The grade used here, Ultradur ® LUX B4300 G4, is reinforced with 20% glass fibers.

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