Innovation first! Novares Group, a supplier of plastic solutions for the automotive industry, is driven by innovation, also reflected in its name. The company defines itself with the great phrase “We are a multi-specialist supplier”. In 2017, the Mecaplast and Key Plastics merger was rebranded as Novares. Today, with 42 production plants worldwide, 8 technical centres and eight centres of excellence, Novares focuses strongly on expansion and innovation in the complex field of automotive plastics. For example, Novares has become a member of the French association of players in the hydrogen sector, an opportunity to collaborate with other stakeholders in that sector, and the ‘Novares Startup Program’ enables start-ups and young companies to collaborate with major players in domains related to green mobility, vehicle user interfaces and automotive safety and comfort.
The technical team from the Lens Centre of Excellence had a new vibroacoustic project, and submitted their specifications to Technical Sales Engineer, Bruno Durand, who coordinated the project, and closely followed its progress. For the technical part, Bruno was supported by Bertrand Foulard, HBK’s vibration expert. The HBK team, with its involvement in automotive research, knowledge of applications such as plastic deformations, electric battery current measurements, and expertise in the vibroacoustic field, quickly established itself as a key supplier of electrodynamic shakers to Novares.
For this kind of project, numerous discussions and site visits are necessary, including a pre-sales visit to the technical department regarding the setup and installation of the new equipment in the specially designed building, which was then still under construction. To get acquainted with the new requirements of the plastic industry, in depth discussions were had with Mr. Dufour, responsible for the Lens Novares laboratory. He explained the plastic issue:
"When it comes to the automotive industry’s criteria for material that will be used in the near future, plastic remains the reference material due to its potential for mass gain and flexibility. The final products must be recyclable, which is already a challenge, as they contain recycled material whose properties are ultimately too variable and the recycling channels too weak. Plastics must be able to withstand the increasingly delicate moulding requirements and the higher under the bonnet temperatures of 3-cylinder engines – small displacement engines that are becoming more common due to their increased performance. The Lens Center of Excellence is constantly involved in improving the performance of this material and, for example, integrates increasingly sophisticated oil and air separation systems (decanter) into its engine head covers. Plastic is still a lighter material, but the vibration profiles to which it is subjected have also evolved with engine size and require even more rigorous design to avoid premature wear and breakage of parts. In addition, vehicles must be quiet despite increasing stresses induced by vibration, and plastic plays a significant role in noise reduction. HBK was able to take these criteria into account and guide us towards the best possible solution with a shaker capable of carrying out a very wide range of our current and future tests, a future turned towards the evolution of electric and hydrogen engines.”
Current specifications involve testing at relatively high levels of acceleration, and unusual test times of several hundred hours. This long duration requires the shaker to be reliable and regularly maintained, and this was, of course, important when choosing a solution. HBK’s flexible and adaptable maintenance plans fitted Novares’ requirements perfectly. The tests carried out by Novares included testing the vibratory integrity of individual parts by fixing them directly onto supports, representative of their final environment, and testing complete systems with large dimensions requiring stand-alone slip table HBT1220 – an integrated combo system equipped with a horizontal table with hydrostatic bearings that are highly resistant to the overturning moments generated by the transverse reactions of the products being tested. A table of this type has a large mass, requiring a powerful shaker but is perfectly suited to the 90 kN power of the V8900.
In addition to the effects of vibration, plastics behave differently in different temperatures, so most vibration tests are performed in a climatic chamber. The V8900 system and its slip table have been optimized for easy adaptation to the different climatic chamber models available on the market. Vibration tests combined with climatic tests are one of the most representative of the real environment and the most effective in terms of immediate results that can be used to understand the products tested.
- The V8900 shaker is the most powerful air-cooled shaker in the LDS shaker range, with features designed specifically for the needs of the automotive and aerospace industries. Some of the highlights that cover the needs of Novares include:
A force of 80,000 newtons in sinusoidal mode and 76,200 newtons in random mode
- Air cooled, no need for a costly and complex water system
- 101.6 mm peak-to-peak (4 inch) displacement and a high frequency range for a vibrator of this size (up to 3 kHz) to accommodate the most severe shock and sine mode testing
- Unprecedented resistance to overturning moments to accommodate payloads of up to 800 kg, even when highly reactive, that is, when significant transverse forces may be generated, but these are well supported by the shaker coil and, of course, the horizontal table, which has proven its strength in many applications.
With the expected economic upturn, Novares Group now has an ideal tool that will enable them to continue testing the results of their research in the fascinating field of plastics and their derivatives.
Novares is a global plastic solutions provider that designs and manufactures complex components and systems serving the automotive industry of the future.