When a new car is introduced to the market with it comes technical improvements and new comfort features for the end-user. Technical improvements increase the complexity and requirements each part must fulfil. A typical example is the car’s ability to receive electrical signals. In the beginning only radio reception was relevant, however, today’s cars need several antennas installed in different locations to fulfill the increased need for seamless connectivity around the vehicle.
The next consideration is the noise in vehicles. As cars become quieter, poor radio reception quality can negatively affect the end-user’s quality-feeling. There are many possibilities for radio frequency interferences (e.g. electric motors, charging circuit, ignition system) and any metal parts that are electrically insulated or poorly connected with the main body can cause radio reception quality issues.
In order to improve radio reception and decrease interferences, OEMs and Tier 1s need robust and reliable bonding of the differing components attached to the car bodies, e.g. the trunk / liftgate hinges.
Currently the preferred method is to connect the moving parts of the liftgate hinge with a strap that permits electricity flow, known commonly as a grounding strap. This solution is costly but provides full and consistent connectivity from the static hinge attached to the car body and the moving hinge attached to the liftgate.
This is where the new innovative SPRINGLIDE™ solution for liftgate hinges comes into focus. It enables the full flow of conductivity (electric potential) through the two halves of the hinge, without the need to add a costly grounding strap.
Liftgate hinge with SPRINGLIDE™ ring for connectivity
SPRINGLIDE™ is a unique spring energised bearing material made up of a polymer composite layer (mainly PTFE compound) laminated to spring steel. This unique solution utilizes the latest technology of NORGLIDE® Bearings and RENCOL® Tolerance Rings and combines them into one simplified solution.
SPRINGLIDE™ uses spring technology (elastic deformability) through its wave formation to maintain a constant contact pressure (top of the waves) on to the mating part. The surrounding PTFE tape on the remaining SPRINGLIDE™ ring works as a sealant and lubricant for the system so that corrosion resistance and the required consistent sliding/rotating performance is maintained.
SPRINGLIDE™ wave design ring
Ring around counterpart
Saint-Gobain understands the need for optimised systems designed to deliver great performance. SPRINGLIDE™ offers savings in packaging and assembly time. Utilising the Saint-Gobain SPRINGLIDE™ wave design enables the development of a sealed solution that transfers electrical current through the liftgate hinge and provide constant low resistance and excellent corrosion resistance. Typical OEM torque levels over the lifetime of the hinge can be achieved whilst eliminating any potential NVH issues. Compared to the traditional grounding or “earthing strap” solutions, SPRINGLIDE™’s wave design offers combined functionality; a reduction in components and production steps, resulting in an overall cost reduction.
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.