The world’s first plastic transmission crossbeam in the rear axle subframe has been developed by ContiTech Vibration Control and BASF for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Made from the Ultramid A3WG10 CR, a specialty polyamide from BASF which is particularly reinforced to withstand high mechanical loads.
Compared to the previous beam made from die-cast aluminum, the plastic component offers a claimed weight saving of 25%, better acoustics as well as excellent mechanical properties even at high temperatures and conforms to the latest crash requirements.
The plastic load-bearing structural component meets all the requirements for the static and dynamic loads which act on a transmission beam: As a central component of the rear axle it supports part of the torque which is transferred from the engine to the transmission, and bears a constant share of the load of the differential.
“The new rear axle transmission crossbeam is a milestone in the use of polyamides in the chassis. It has the potential to set a new trend in the automotive industry,” said Kai Fruehauf, head of the ContiTech Vibration Control business unit. “In order to replace metal with high-performance plastics, it is necessary to make optimum use of the material and adapt it to the particular load situations, as BASF has demonstrated in the development of Ultramid for the transmission crossbeam.”