November 15th, 2021
In May 2012, Google received the first approval of an autonomous vehicle in the U.S. for testing on public roads in the state of Nevada which pushed the boundaries of possibilities, and soon car manufacturers and entrepreneurs started to pay attention. In 2015, Audi presented the first near-production vehicles at CES in Las Vegas and now, 6 years on, a good number of concepts and close to market solutions have been presented by Tier 1s and OEMs.
We at Saint-Gobain understand that new interior comfort system design options like long tracks or swivel seats will push for new consumer expectations on the performance and user experience for a pleasurable and seamless ride. The future interior of autonomous vehicles will provide space to incorporate many additional comfort features like centre consoles (with the ability to hold screens), compartments for storage and complex folding systems such as office tables. These changes will transform how the end user uses a car and their experiences in it.
To enable these changes centre consoles, seats and panels will all need to facilitate linear and/or rotational movement so the vehicle’s interior can be adjusted. Current thinking includes seats that can move the length of the vehicle, interiors that can be transformed into office spaces with fold-away tables and seats than can fold down flat to create relaxation zones. Saint-Gobain’s SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearing solutions have undergone extensive testing which shows that the combination of spring steel and PTFE can be designed for a consistent low friction while in a clearance free condition which permits ease of movement for comfort systems.
With rising customer demands for automotive comfort, it proves difficult to find bearing solutions that can deliver on all aspects of comfort like smooth adjustment feel or reduced rattle noise. For example, when the user moves a seat (whether adjusting back and forth or into a different position) the effort should be minimal with any rattle or noise reduced to give the user confidence the seat is well-made.
Traditionally, consistently low adjustment forces require clearance between the bearing and the shaft at the expense of increasing vibration and rattle noise. SPRINGLIDE™ is a unique spring energised bearing material made up of a polymer composite layer (mainly PTFE compound) laminated to spring steel.
By using a preloaded bearing to address damping, misalignment and tolerance issues in a system assembly, SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearings solve a number of design and manufacturing challenges at the same time. This unique technology utilises the latest technology of NORGLIDE® Bearings and RENCOL® Tolerance Rings and combines them into one simplified solution. The result is a bearing that controls torque, has a smooth feel without stick-slip and a reduction of irritating rattle and vibration noise. SPRINGLIDE™ can easily compensate for manufacturing tolerances and misalignments, giving you confidence that this solution will perform consistently over the lifetime of the vehicle.
Saint-Gobain understands the drive towards optimised comfort systems designed to make savings in space and weight. SPRINGLIDE™ Slotted Rib solution enables the development of a sliding mechanism for a centre console that reduces packaging space, weight, number of parts and eliminates grease within the system when compared to existing solutions that are currently being used in this application.
Utilising SPRINGLIDE™ can optimise your system design by offering more design flexibility and system functionality, allowing for longer travel potential with the adaptability to have stop positions along the length of travel, as well as compensating misalignment and controlling torque, this whilst maintaining the highest quality performance over lifetime. Our innovative solutions create smoother, longer lasting, quieter sliding systems to ultimately provide flexibility for car interiors and meet the end user expectations.
With the increased demand for a more flexible, multi-functional car interior comfort system, complex foldable features such as office tables and tablet stations are being integrated into doors, centre consoles and armrests. To meet this demand SPRINGLIDE™ wave design solution is designed to control torque, withstand repetitive use, overcome misalignment issues, whilst minimising rattle and N.V.H. from your folding features.
With the introduction of SPRINGLIDE™ Spring Energised Bearings, there is no need to choose between consistently low adjustment forces and low rattle noise. Instead, the combination of spring steel and PTFE allows SPRINGLIDE™ to be formed with unique design possibilities that can be used to replace sub-systems and hereby save space, weight and cost, and creates clearance free systems with smooth and easy adjustment, every time. SPRINGLIDE™ brings a high quality and smooth feel to interior systems so drivers and passengers alike can enjoy a comfortable seamless ride for a first-class customer experience.
Find out more about SPRINGLIDE™ by contacting us at Saint-Gobain. We’ll discuss your application with you, engineer to engineer, and find the right component.