Solvay, a leading global supplier of specialty polymers, announced this week at the International CTI Symposium that its Ixef 1027 polyarylamide (PARA) enabled development of a new clutch actuator system from FTE automotive Group, a premier producer of drivetrain and brake system applications. Selected to replace a glass-filled polyamide (PA) 6/6 actuator that generated cabin noise at elevated temperatures, Ixef 1027 PARA introduced lower thermal expansion and higher dimensional stability to the new actuator design, which is now onboard a leading heavy-duty diesel truck series sold in the U.S.
FTE and its customer have managed to reduce cabin noise with each new generation of the manual transmission truck. Ironically, this has caused once relatively quiet functions to become ever more noticeable in recent models. The clutch pedal—or rather the hydraulic actuator system it activates—became the latest target for improvement. The actuator comprises a master cylinder consisting of a piston that attaches to the pedal and a slave cylinder that links to the truck’s drivetrain. Depressing the clutch pedal transfers brake fluid from the master into the slave, which then disengages the transmission from the engine.
Solvay and FTE, who have collaborated for more than 20 years, worked together to select Ixef 1027 PARA, a 50% glass-fiber reinforced, heat-stabilized compound that delivers very high strength and rigidity along with excellent creep resistance. The material flows and packs very well in the tool, which provides the inside bores of the molded clutch cylinders with a very smooth, resin rich surface. The aromatic ring structure of the PARA molecule—in contrast to conventional nylon’s straight chain—substantially reduces its moisture absorption and enables the clutch cylinders to be more dimensionally stable.
Held in Novi, Michigan from May 15 to 18, the 11th Annual International CTI Symposium and its adjoining exhibition is the international industry event for professionals seeking the latest developments in automotive transmissions, HEV, and EVs for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.