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Hoses for rising standards

07 January 2008

Higher performance, smaller installation spaces and more demanding customers are the typical challenges facing automobile manufacturers. New hydraulic, flat, and moulded hoses from ContiTech Fluid Technology can help them handle these challenges.

The dynamically high-strength flat hoses are already in series production at Porsche, providing a very large volume increase at minimal pressures. They are also planned for use in BMW and Mercedes-Benz’s power steering systems. Their task is to absorb pressure and noise waves in very tight installation conditions. "The hoses achieve this by changing from their original oval form to a round hose cross-section at just over 0 to 2 bar", explains product developer Klaus Brühne. This means that the hose gains about 30% volume, thereby reducing the pressure peak accordingly. Irregularities in the media flow that would lead to disturbing noise are also eliminated in this way. “We've completely redesigned the hose and optimised the material to meet the large forces in limit areas,” reports Brühne.

The same principle is used by the high volume, moulded hoses to optimise noise absorption in narrow installation spaces and reduce pressure peaks, features that are already being used in series production at BMW and Audi. Optimising the polyamide tensile members has made the dynamically high-strength hoses particularly expansible, with their volume increasing during pressure peaks. In addition to applications in power steering, they are also used in gearbox oil cooling systems.

The hoses have now been integrated into the modular system of ContiTech Fluid Technology, in both their oval and round forms.

Other new products include the extra-high-pressure hydraulic hoses for temperatures upwards of 120°C and pressures above 180 bar. They are used in active vehicle control systems like those offered by DaimlerChrysler, BMW and PSA. "These systems are designed to compensate for body roll", explains Brühne. The high forces acting on the hoses require high compensating pressures.

Their high temperature resistance makes them ideal for the changed thermal conditions inside the engine compartment. “Engine compartments are becoming increasingly encapsulated to minimise aerodynamic drag and to house additional technology,” states Brühne, explaining why temperatures there are constantly rising. The hose’s advantageous properties were achieved by employing optimised materials and processes.

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