Trelleborg launches e-Mobility Seals to operate at high velocity

Trelleborg Seal for Electric Car

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions pioneers two seals namely, HiSpin PDR RT and HiSpin HS40 to cater to the e-Mobility applications. The new development is a remarkable step in addressing issues pertaining to sealing at high rotary speeds which restricts the usage of electric cars as a hassle-free substitute of gasoline vehicles. The ultimate objective is to travel the same distance as a gasoline vehicle in a one-time electric charge.

Going by the statistics published in a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), there were 3.1 million electric vehicles on roads globally in 2017 which is expected to rise exponentially to a bare minimum of 125 million and potentially to 220 million by 2030. However, the quest to switch to an electric car has intensified in order to deal with the alarming situation of CO2 emissions and retaining vehicle access in the most populous cities of the world.

The making of Next Generation Electric Car a reality is highly dependent on a viable technology that gives the users of the cars the freedom they enjoy from the traditional vehicles i.e. allowing travel from one charge that is equivalent to tank of gasoline. The two new seals plays a pivotal role in making this possible.

Jan Zumbach, the head of business development for e-Mobility at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, says: “With gasoline or diesel vehicles people know they will get where they want to get to. The infrastructure is there and filling up the tank is never an issue”

“When people drive an electric vehicle they worry if they will have enough charge to arrive at their chosen destination, and a lack of charging points and the time taken to charge a battery, make them nervous. The solution to this is to install a charging infrastructure and increase battery capacity to extend the distance that can be travelled on one charge.”

“A limiting factor in achieving this is the seal in the e-axle. The new HiSpin PDR RT and HiSpin HS40 will contribute to extending the travelling distance of electric cars, helping make the mass adoption of these vehicles a reality, rather than a dream.”

An important technology in electric vehicles is ‘e-axle’ which is a combined electric motor and gearbox that fits inside the traditional engine space. The motor and gearbox are directly coupled but the gearbox requires efficient lubrication because it’s important for the motor to remain dry and hence, arises the need of a highly reliable seal between these two components.

Paul Taylor, Product Line Director at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, says: “As electric motors run most efficiently at high speeds, the seal requirements are very different from those for a transmission input on a combustion-engine vehicle. Gasoline engines normally run at 2,000 to 4,000 Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) but the electrically driven transmission runs up to eight times faster typically at 16,000 RPM and in the future this is likely to increase significantly.

“The rotational surface speed limit for traditional seals in the e-axle of today’s electric cars is around 30 meters per second. The theoretical optimum rotational surface speed of the e-axle would be greater than 60 meters per second to maximize efficiency, a speed that is currently impossible to achieve.

“Our aim for the new e-Mobility seals was therefore to increase operating rotational speed to at least 40 meters per second. We achieved this for HiSpin HS40 and an outstanding 60 meters per second with HiSpin PDR RT.”

The new e-Mobile seals launched by Trelleborg address several issues while lack of lubrication in the vehicle’s system is just one of those.

Colin Macqueen, Head of the seal development program, says: “Traditionally product development can be a slow process. But when supporting manufacturers to make electric vehicles travel further became a priority, an agile team of experts were asked to come up with a solution rapidly that could stand up to the high rotational speeds involved in e-Mobility applications, as well as lack of and variations in lubrication. Development took just eight months from convening of the project team to initial availability of the seals to customers.”

Matthias Keck, Director Technology & Innovation at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in Germany, says: “Testing was extremely positive. There was zero leakage for both seals despite the very demanding sealing conditions and HiSpin PDR RT recorded a 75% reduction in friction versus a standard PDR seal and proved to be capable of operating at 60 meters per second.”

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