& Motorsport

As the Automotive and Vehicular Industries look to transform from fossil fuel-reliant, combustion engine-based technology to Cleaner, Greener more environmentally friendly renewable platforms they have begun to face a whole new set of problems that, being a manufacturer, working in multiple industries we may well have already faced. We talk to designers and engineers at the cutting edge of technology who are trying to solve real-world issues which in many cases we may have already had to face in other industries.

Mastering new disciplines EMI Shielding materials and Seals

In recent years the integration of ever more sophisticated electronics into vehicles and the growing use of electric motors powered by battery, solar, and hydrogen has greatly increased the risk of the effects of EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) on vehicles. EMI is the interaction of two pieces of equipment that both generate electromagnetic fields that then interfere or interact with each other, an easy example of this is driving under power cables and getting static on the radio.

In modern cars the effects of EMI could be far more dangerous than the loss of the radio signal, in this autonomous driving era, it could result in the loss of life. Areas of a vehicle that are open to EMI issues include autonomous control systems, navigation systems, power control systems, engine control systems, power management systems, electronic braking systems, adaptive cruise control, communication systems, and more.

EMI issues can arise from the interaction of internal systems or from external sources, these can be caused by cell phones, overhead cables, communication signals, other vehicles, and of course deliberate interference. Eliminating these dangers requires a good knowledge of shielding materials, applications, and materials and being able to work with OEM’s and system suppliers from very early on in the design stages.

Battery enclosures and power packs – IP/EM/PF

An electric vehicle battery (EVB also known as a traction battery) is a rechargeable battery used to power the electric motors of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV).  Arrays of smaller battery cells are essential for an EVB and need to be kept inside a housing or enclosure that forms what is known as the Battery Pack. These battery packs are usually made from two sections, an upper and a lower which need to be lightweight but tough to protect the cells but also need to be well sealed to protect the cells from water, dust, moisture, and salt ingress. All of which would significantly affect the performance and life of the battery and could lead to thermal incidents. This is known as ingress protection (IP) and is a scale that confirms the level of protection that a battery pack has been tested to. The initial principle of sealing the battery enclosure is via the controlled compression of a gasket or seal, which is compressed to a pre-set thickness or under a pre-determined torque force. There are two main ways to effect an IP seal on a battery enclosure and that predominately depends on whether you wish to be able to service the cell packs. Most high-volume automotive manufacturers favour what is called a wet seal, this is basically where a bead of liquid sealant is applied to one half of the battery pack and then the other half is closed on top and the seal dries and in effect glues the two halves together. The second solution is a dry seal, which is usually a gasket or O Ring that forms the seal between the two halves but allows them to be separated again should access be required to the cells. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but both can provide a good IP solution as well as provide noise and vibration dampening.

There are however vehicular battery packs that require more than just an IP seal, they may need to offer electromagnetic (EM) shielding protection and or low smoke zero halogens (LSZH) approval or UL94 V0 or EN45545 approval or include passive fire (PF) protection to buy the occupants time to affect a safe exit should there be a thermal incident. We can offer a range of specialist integrated solutions that offer the highest levels of protection. We are even able to offer a new, ultra-lightweight material that can be incorporated into battery packs and vehicle compartments that can act as a smoke and fire barrier and can withstand temperatures up to 1100° C.

Classic Car door seal extrusions for automotive applications

The most obvious and visible seals on vehicles are the glazing, door, and compartment seals. The glazing seals can vary depending on whether these are a front screen, rear screen, or side windows, but depending on the vehicle they were traditionally made from black EPDM or Neoprene. These days we like to offer other more environmentally friendly, recyclable materials like TPE’s and TPV’s as well as encourage designers to offer colour-coded or colour-matched seals to give the vehicle a very modern look.

Door seals are similar in that they are traditionally made from a combination of black solid elastomer and sponge materials with steel reinforcing, usually in EPDM, Neoprene, or PVC, but again they do not have to be, they could be colour coded to a vehicle just like the glazing seals.

Bushes, Grommets, and Anti-vibration mountings for automotive applications

Look a little closer at a vehicle and you will start to realise just how many rubber or elastomeric parts are used or fitted to a vehicle – Grommets to protect wiring and pipes, stabiliser bushes, suspension bushes, Shock absorber bushes,  engine mounts, steering rack gaiters, drive shaft boots and spring bumpers, all protecting parts of the car from wear and tear and the elements.

Hoses and Tubes for automotive applications

On ICE vehicles there are innumerable hoses and tubes on the cooling system – Turbochargers, intercoolers, the fuel system, and on both ICE and EV vehicles there are hoses for heating and cooling. These are usually made from materials like Silicone, EPDM, Neoprene depending on the media and temperatures they will be subjected to.

O-rings for automotive applications

O-rings are now the most used seal on the planet and are critical in keeping lubricants and fluids confined in automobiles and vehicles. Without these vital rubber seals, leakage may occur, causing serious problems within the vehicle. Automotive O-Rings are utilised to seal the space between the two components in order to prevent leaking during the compression stage. Automotive seals are capable of withstanding both mild and heavy compressive stresses. EMI Seals & Gaskets Ltd offers a diverse selection of high-performance seals for use in automobiles and automotive manufacturing. Following are the automobile systems in which O rings are used:

Automotive O-rings in Lubricant System:

Mineral oils with varying amounts of additives such as antifoaming and antioxidant compounds are used to lubricate engine and transmission components. The temperature of the fluid varies based on its use and on the circuit line which comes under inspection. Compounds like NBRFKM, and ACM are advised for this purpose, depending on the temperature of the exercise to which the O-Ring is subjected, and keeping in mind that as the temperature rises, the fluid becomes more aggressive compared to the elastomer.

Automotive O-rings in Braking System:

One of the most significant automobile systems is the braking system. The fluid utilised in this system is a glycol-based synthesised oil, which ensures consistent performance. The system’s reliability must be assured throughout a large temperature range, which we could define as -40°C to 150°C. The properties of the O-Rings employed must ensure maximum performance at any and all temperatures and tolerate rapid fluctuations in pressure within the circuit without altering themselves. Compounds with a rubber EPDM Peroxide base are ideal for certain purposes. These compounds, which are not suited to activities involving contact with mineral oils, exhibit properties more suited to contact with glycol-based oils.

Automotive O-rings in Air-conditioning Systems:

Another key area in the automobile sector where O-rings play a vital role is air-conditioning systems. The gaseous fluids moving inside an air conditioner move through several phases based on the circuit and temperature. O-rings are critical in ensuring that the gases remain in the allocated region and do not flow into places where they are not allowed to flow.

Quality-assured seals in the automotive industry

As a seals and gaskets expert, our products and services are used by some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. Because of our rapid production management, we can supply solutions throughout the manufacturing process.

We have been supplying these clients for many years and understand the significance of quality standards such as PPAP, PSW, ISIR, and IMDS. We are working towards IATF16949. Our products are RoHS3, REACH, and Conflict Mineral compliant.

UKAS ISO Standards

Certified Excellence: From early prototyping to mass manufacturing, our operations adhere to the highest standards. Our UKAS AS9100 D (Technically equivalent to EN 9100:2018 and JISQ 9100:2016) & BS EN ISO 9001:2015, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 45001:2018 certifications signify our commitment to delivering top-notch products and meeting critical production deadlines. Whether it’s a vehicle door seal replacement or another automotive requirement, our certifications testify to our unwavering dedication to quality.

PPAP Documentation and PSW

The Part Production Approval Process (PPAP), designed specifically for the automotive industry, guarantees that client parts are manufactured regularly to specified tolerances with a set process capability level (Cpk). Custom tooling is used to ensure that the strictest tolerances are met so that the component fits precisely when installed in the vehicle.

PPAP requirements are categorized into five levels with the fifth level requirement being the PSW (Part Submission Warrant) with product samples and complete supporting data, reviewed at the supplier’s manufacturing facility. Though only up to Level 3 PPAP paperwork is commonly sought by most companies, EMI Seals & Gaskets can offer all PPAP levels of documentation.

Please contact our skilled team of engineers for more information on our prior work and expertise in the automotive industry, whether it’s a vehicle door seal replacement request or anything else.

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