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Lightweight air springs offer enhanced comfort and lower fuel consumption

17 December 2019

With its air spring system featuring an integrated plastic roller piston, Continental has taken a step toward reducing the weight of buses and trucks.

Continental is confident that the on-trend concept of lightweight construction harbours significant potential for air spring system solutions. This view is shared by others on the market, as one current example demonstrates: Bus manufacturer EvoBus is equipping its entire fleet of buses with a lightweight air spring featuring an integrated plastic roller piston. These innovative roller pistons ensure high ride comfort thanks to maximum utilisation of the inner air volume and their special design. Instead of steel or aluminium, plastic components made from polyamide are used. This helps to reduce weight without compromising the comfort.

Factors such as ever-stricter legal requirements for pollutant emissions, the growing demand for electric vehicles and hybrids as well as the desire for enhanced ride comfort and optimised vehicle dynamics are pushing the lightweight construction industry to deliver new innovations.

“We are facing some tremendous challenges in the automotive industry, with business models and markets undergoing major and rapid upheaval,” says Diethelm Bauch, from Air Spring Systems in Continental’s Commercial Vehicles Original Equipment segment. “Lightweight design can make a key contribution, especially when it comes to energy efficiency and CO2 emissions. I see no end to this trend. Our lightweight air springs have in one fell swoop given bus and commercial vehicle manufacturers a solution that offers much greater design flexibility. Plastic offers much greater design freedom and the capacity for customised, comfort-oriented design.” This is a key advantage, especially in the e-mobility segment where the batteries themselves are very heavy and so all the other components need to be designed to offset the weight of the batteries and extend the vehicle range.

Read the full article in the January 2020 issue of DPA.

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