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Keeping the automotive industry securely in place

09 September 2016

Today’s consumers are more connected than ever and expect instant access to information and intuitive technology that fits into their lives.

Electrical twist ties

This continually increasing demand has also led to a change in the expectations and desires of consumers within the automotive industry. 

It is now standard that a car will allow its owner to control all manner of function inside and outside the vehicle, some of which can even be done remotely via a smartphone app. These ‘connected cars’ are able to provide owners with more information than ever before and, as a result, have an increasing number of sensors, lights, infotainment systems and electronics. This technological trend is also developing in parallel with another: the rise of alternative, electric powered vehicles. These twin trends mean that automotive manufacturers are having to be increasingly conscious of fuel economy and carbon neutrality of vehicles, while satisfying the ever-growing consumer demand for increased functionality. 

Both of these developments have led to a huge amount of growth in the components and fasteners market with automotive manufacturers. The addition of more technology within vehicles has led to significant increases in the amount of cabling in cars, all of which needs to be guided, organised and fastened throughout the vehicle. Despite these additions, manufacturers are also trying to make their vehicles as light, and therefore, as fuel efficient as possible. With so many additions still being made to vehicles, manufacturers must look to remove excess weight in new and innovative ways. More attention is being put on the importance of each individual vehicle component, with manufacturers requiring lighter, quality fasteners that still have the same capabilities as alternative metal equivalents. For companies such as Essentra Components, who specialise in the manufacture of automotive fasteners and fixings, the need for lighter, efficient and cost effective components has led to significant growth in our nylon offering. 

The average modern vehicle requires 50-100 fasteners – the weight of which can soon add up. Material is a critical factor in the development of fastener and fixing solutions and manufacturers must ensure the product meets all of the demands of the necessary application in the most efficient way. The reason for the dramatic growth in the demand for nylon fasteners in the automotive market is that they are tough, mechanically resistant fixings that are much lighter than their metal counterparts, as well as being cost effective. Unlike metal fasteners, nylon fixings also do not conduct electricity and are capable of withstanding extensive variations in temperature, making them appropriate for use in many applications throughout the entirety of a vehicle. 

It is now almost inevitable that every new car will include a built-in infotainment system as well as custom additions such as, sensors, screens and speakers. All of this technology requires a huge amount of additional cabling which in turn requires more cable management, fastenings and fixings. Again, given their ability to function well at varying temperatures, nylon fasteners can be utilised under the bonnet and throughout the interior and occasionally exterior of the vehicle. The properties of nylon also allow for products to be designed to be push fit, providing easy to install components.

Electrical clamp

Making thousands of different styles of individual components every year, and with a range of products in stock, Essentra is a ISO/TS16949:2009 certified manufacturer of automotive fastenings. Essentra works with the majority of the existing OEM car manufacturers and all of the top 15 global automotive OEM part suppliers, providing them with innovative and reliable products that meet their unique demands. Essentra’s automotive customers include Tesla, Jaguar Land Rover, Caterpillar and Valeo. Essentra works strategically with all of its automotive customers providing design and prototype support (such as CAD and 3D printed samples) all the way from production through to distribution. 

The needs of Essentra customers vary dramatically, as do fasteners themselves. The majority of fasteners are hidden, usually under the bonnet or in the boot, such as engine caps and truck clips. The bulk of automotive fasteners tend to be push-in, easy to fit applications. However, some are also removable and others are designed not to be removed at all; in turn this makes them easy and fast to be applied, without needing any maintenance or future adjustments. 

Responding to the significant increase in demand for automotive fastenings, Essentra has invested further in the industry to support its customers. A key part of Essentra’s growth strategy is continuing to innovate in order to provide a comprehensive range of standard and bespoke fittings from design, prototyping, manufacturing and distribution. This also involves an increased emphasis on the expansion of Essentra’s already wide range of advanced solutions, requiring the development of additional new products based on customers’ requirements. 

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