Thermoset composite EV parts

Sumitomo Bakelite Co Ltd has announced a research project to develop thermoset composite products for electric drivetrains applications.

The project will develop the company’s thermosets to replace metal in the eAxle, a part which combines electric motor, electronic power management, and transmission in one unit to power an electric vehicle (EV).

Using its composite materials could help lightweight components, helping the traction motor to run cooler than current industry standards allow, and increasing design flexibility, Sumitomo said. It plans to make a demonstrator unit in 2022 featuring an 150kW IPM type electric motor with a weight of 80kg. the company also wants to improve the cooling structures and reduce operating temperature.

Sumitomo Bakelite’s eAxle testing and validation program will include collaboration with research organizations such as the Fraunhofer Institute and other academic institutions in Italy and France. As some of the extended test program data becomes available during the project, the company says it will provide updates on specific performance gains, including noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) improvements.

“With the New eAxle project we are focusing on novel design configurations just as much as our materials, asking how we can provide manufacturers with validated efficiency improvements and increased design flexibility,” said Hendrik De Keyser, chief innovation and technology officer.