German technology company Continental AG and supplier Aft Automotive are starting a 50-50 joint venture to manufacture high-performance plastic couplings for the auto industry.
Since 2016, the two companies have developed special couplings that connect the cooling circuit or the turbocharger/charge-air cooler with units in the engine compartment, an Aug. 10 news release by Continental said.
The formal partnership will expand the technology into the lines, hoses and connectors that are essential to the thermal management systems of hybrid and electric cars, which require multiple cooling circuits, and in cars with internal combustion engines.
The joint venture is expected to create more than 30 jobs by 2025, Philip Nelles, head of the Mobile Fluid Systems business unit at Continental, said in the release.
"No lines, no hoses, no future mobility. Our lines and connectors remain vital lifelines in cars — both for hybrid and electric vehicles and for IC engines," Nelles said. "The close collaborative partnership with Aft Automotive will enhance our skills as a system supplier and enable us to consistently expand our technological expertise in high-performance plastics for the future."
Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the joint venture is expected to start production in 2021 or 2022, Aft CEO Dirk Kramer told Plastics News in an emailed statement.
"It is not yet finally decided at which location the production of couplings will be set up," Kramer said. "We are in the final decision phase for nominating the location and are confident to announce this shortly."
The production site will be in Germany, he added.
Kramer said Continental and Aft worked closely with automotive customers to design and develop the couplings, which are made of high-performance plastics for sophisticated thermal management systems in new electric cars.