Issue: Oct 2008


Advanced fibre-based design offers new benefits to car manufacturers



by Steve Barclay

Trelleborg Automotive, a leading provider of comfort solutions to the automotive industry, has announced the availability of its fibre-based, Creatube engine cooling hose, which offers a host of key advantages over traditional, multi-layered hoses that incorporate a textile/knitted construction.

These features comprise:

Superior durability
Thanks to a single layer design that integrates fibre compound with rubber, the problem of yarn damages or delamination – both commonly associated with knitted hoses - are eliminated. As a result, overall performance and reliability is significantly increased. The results of stringent internal endurance testing saw Trelleborg’s Creatube continue to perform after 300,000km. Specifically, this superior longevity performance meets the increasing requirements of car manufacturers for more durable products that better withstand ageing.

In addition, Creatube offers a global suitability, thanks to proven functionality under extreme climatic conditions, from -30ºC to +125ºC in temperature.

Increased versatility
Furthermore, thanks to Creatube’s manufacturing process, Trelleborg Automotive is able to achieve far greater versatility in hose design. Unlike traditional knitted methods which limit the length, radius and number of curves obtainable, Creatube enables the construction of longer and more complex shaped hoses, which were previously unachievable. This offers a real opportunity in new engine architecture, where limited space invariably necessitates complicated shaped engine cooling hoses.

Manufacturing Excellence
Additional benefits are afforded by Creatube’s efficiency-enhancing automatic manufacturing process, which reduces production time to around 40 minutes, compared to the two days demanded by more labour-intensive traditional methods. This automatic process delivers time-saving benefits for car manufacturers, while offering a less energy-consuming alternative that greatly improves the working conditions for production line employees.

Commenting on the introduction of Creatube, Jérôme Sablé, Innovation Director at Trelleborg Automotive, says, “Creatube represents a phenomenal development in engine cooling technology and fulfils the requirements of car manufacturers for high quality, durable solutions that meet the performance needs of today’s automobiles.”

Creatube comprises a mono-layer construction that integrates fibre compound directly into rubber material and employs a moving die process to shape the hose directly after extrusion. This differs from multi-layered traditional variants, which require straight hoses to be formed manually using a mandrel, before vulcanization in an autoclave. Creatube’s manufacturing process also avoids the need to ‘flush out’ hoses with release agent, thereby eliminating potentially adverse health and environmental effects.

“Trelleborg’s high level of technological development underscores the respect we have for our customers and workforce, while reflecting our commitment to reduce energy consumption and limit our environmental impact”, continues Sablé.


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