Norma Group is boosting its research and testing resources in North America for under-the-hood automotive joining components.
The company is investing nearly $1 million to expand its testing laboratories and product development facilities to meet future demands for lighter exhaust, powertrain and electric vehicle parts. The program is underway at its Auburn Hills, Mich., North American headquarters and in St. Clair, Mich., and Monterrey, Mexico.
The St. Clair facility makes plastic products such as quick connectors for charged air and cooling water systems and for ventilation and exhaust lines in the engine. Auburn Hills' production focuses on metal clamps while Monterrey has a test stand for urea transport systems for diesel engines. The systems transport liquid urea for selective catalytic reduction of nitric oxides to atmospheric nitrogen and water in exhaust gases.
Similar investments are directed to operations in China, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia and at its Maintal, Germany, head office, Norma noted in a Jan. 18 news release.
“Tubes and connectors in a wide variety and combination of plastics provide an optimal solution for many customer needs for durable, recyclable lightweight parts,” said Jonathan Heywood, director of product engineering for Norma's technology unit in Maintal. He cited plastic components with low fluid permeability and temperature resistance as being ideal for hydrogen lines and battery-cooling applications. Tubing with multiple layers of different plastics provide broad properties and flexibility in performance and price.
Plastics that can be reused or recycled are becoming more important as they replace heavier, often-costlier conventional materials such as rubber and metal. Parts can experience wide temperature swings up to 572° F and pressures up to 20 atmospheres, as well as different vibration frequencies. They need to withstand aggressive chemicals such as glycol-water mixtures, oil, fuel and urea.
The company wants to be a leader in the development of high-temperature resistant plastics, said Norma CEO Werner Deggim.