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ZF Friedrichshafen launches plastic and rubber engine mount

By: Rhoda Miel

March 27, 2013

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY — German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has launched production of a plastic and rubber engine mount, replacing a metal system in six models of small and compact cars made by Renault and Nissan.

The engine mount parts use glass fiber reinforced polyamide and are a 25 percent weight reduction from previous cast aluminum parts. ZF officials noted in a March 21 news release that the parts meet all safety and reliability requirements and also are recyclable.

ZF, based in Friedrichshafen, is a traditional metal-based parts company, but has been putting an increased emphasis on the potential for plastics to help reduce vehicle weight. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, it displayed plastic parts that are in development as well as parts currently in production, such as an all-plastic brake pedal.

"In the automotive industry, we are currently noticing a marked trend towards plastic lightweight construction or downsizing," said Torsten Bremer, head of the rubber and plastics business unit in ZF's Chassis Technology division.

The initial production is for small and compact cars as well as all-electric cars for French automaker Renault SA and its alliance partner, Japan's Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

"Moreover, other vehicle manufacturers are intensively testing our innovation for their passenger car models," Bremer said.