The Application of Mechanical Surface Treatment in the Passenger Car Industry

Author:  Peter Hutmann, BMW Group, Munich, Germany
Source:  Conf Proc: ICSP-8 Sept. 16-20, 2002 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Doc ID:  2002002
Year of Publication:  2002
Introduction At the beginning of automobile manufacturing, about 100 years ago, customer expectations concerning performance and quality were relatively low. People drove cars for the purpose of getting quickly and reliably from point A to point B. Cars were built from conventional engineering materials of that time. Iron and steel constituted 80% of vehicle weight. Synthetic materials did not exist then. Nowadays, this situation has completely changed. Modern cars must meet a large variety of additional requirements. Among these, the most important are safety, environmental effect, resource preservation, climate comfort and favorable cost of ownership. Ultimate driving performance can be achieved by fulfilling these requirements and, in addition, by providing an individual driving experience, i.e. superior agility, engine power, elasticity in speed changes and corner handling. These high demands on automotive engineering can only be met through the appropriate use of advanced materials in combination with light-weight design. As a result, the composition of materials in passenger cars has changed significantly during the last decades. Fig. 1 shows a typical distirbution of the materials of a modern passenger car, in this case the current BMW 5 series. Iron and steel only make up 51% of the weight, whereas light metals and plastics make up 15% and 12% of the weight, respectively.

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