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Value engineering for motion applications in vehicles cuts costs

02 November 2021

igus VAVE-oriented plastic bearings bring high-performance, low-cost parts solutions to the automotive industry at a very challenging time – proving the igus mantra of Tech up, Cost down.

The automotive industry is in constant a state of change, with high product introduction turnover and now the shift to electrification. Costs are rising fast – materials, wages, and transportation – but the pressure to keep vehicle prices down is constant. igus has responded, by drawing on its value engineering roots and offering automotive suppliers high value components, series or customised, at low costs.

igus is using value analysis and value engineering – or VAVE – principles to offer automotive suppliers high performing parts at low prices at a time of fierce cost pressures on the industry.

VAVE is a method for improving value by either increasing the functions of a product, reducing its cost of manufacture, or both. In the 1940s, engineers (initially at General Electric) discovered that replacing conventional materials and components with different parts delivered significant benefits for the final product. Costs were frequently reduced or the product improved, and sometimes both.

VAVE applied by igus adheres to the first tenet of value engineering that basic functions are preserved and not reduced due to pursuing value improvements. Today, VAVE is a fixed component of cost reduction measures for series and pre-series products.

Part specifications from automotive OEMs to tier 1 and 2 suppliers change frequently, but this rate is increasing with higher NPI rates and new electric and hybrid-electric model launches. Input costs are rising as raw materials like polymers, aluminium, electronics and – above all – semiconductors are going up as supply is squeezed. Automotive suppliers are under extreme pressure to remain competitive.

In response, igus has a series of VAVE offers to the auto industry and other highly cost-sensitive manufacturing industries, for receiving samples quickly and cost-effectively.

• Extensive catalogue programme with more than 6,500 dimensions and no additional tool costs
• Bar stock in the form of round bar or plate material for the mechanical processing of individual samples
• 3D printing: low-wear plastic components for the automotive industry – blog
• Series injection moulding and special designs: customised dry-tech products with tools manufactured in our own tool shop with low proportional cavity costs. Wide material selection for the ideal solution which lowers costs and improves technology for your application
• FastLine: customised injection-moulded plain bearings and thrust washers in a maximum of seven days with fully automated processes

Value engineering for motion applications in vehicles

igus is an ideal component supplier to automotive companies because cars and vans have many applications for its speciality motion plastics and because using plastic bearings and parts saves weight, essential for modern automotive design.

igus products can be found wherever there is movement where reducing friction, wear and noise in components and counter partners is needed. From the pedal mount to the windscreen wipers to the car seat adjustment mechanism, from plain bearings and gears in actuators and small motors to high temperature ranges in gearboxes, the list of products needing motion plastics grows continuously.

Engineers are researching special materials and developing new, innovative products and designs. The basis of all igus ideas is always Tech up, Cost down – a slogan that perfectly matches VAVE. Its dry-tech product range currently encompasses products such as tribologically optimised plain bearings, gears, lead screw nuts and lead screws, spherical bearings, ball bearings, and more.

“Give me your most difficult part and I will find a solution”, the original challenge that igus Founder, Günter Blase, issued to automotive supplier Pierburg in 1965, is now being invoked to help the under-pressure auto sector find the best parts with the most robust functions at the cheapest cost – i.e., value engineering, or VAVE.

With 35 subsidiaries around the world and partners in another 55 countries, igus can offer strong co-operation. At its igus Motion Plastics Show (IMPS) this year, igus will exhibit 168 new products that can help companies select the VAVE products that match their needs.


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