Cymat Technologies Ltd. reported recently that it has gained approval from Georg Fischer AG for the prototype automotive part it developed with the components manufacturer, using its proprietary “stabilized aluminum foam” (SAF) technology. The Toronto-based materials development group has global licensing and marketing rights to the “ultra-light metallic foam,” which is manufactured by bubbling gas through a molten aluminum alloy that contains “a dispersion of fine ceramic particles.” The material can be used to produce near-net shapes or flat panels.
In 2006 Cymat entered into an agreement with the Georg Fischer Automotive subsidiary to develop and manufacture automotive components using the low-pressure foam casting technology.
In September 2007, Cymat announced that GF Automotive had booked the first prototype order for a SAF part from an unnamed German automaker. The part is a chassis component used in vibration reduction.
Now, Cymat details that a complex hollow aluminum part was filled with the aluminum foam at Cymat’s plant in Toronto. “Cymat is very satisfied with the result on many fronts including foam density and filling completeness, the high rate of process, and the dramatic reduction in NVH (noise vibration and harshness) that was achieved” stated president and CEO Chris Skillen. “NVH is a very important element in automotive design as it has a large impact on passenger comfort.”
The company explained that one challenge was managing similar melting points for both materials in a way that did not deform or melt the target part, and still effectively filled the complex sections. It said the technology used in the effort by Georg Fischer and Cymat is “the result of know-how built on protected intellectual property.”
“Georg Fischer has experienced a major increase in automaker demands for lighter components while at the same time requiring reduced NVH associated with lighter parts” stated the head of Georg Fischer Research and Development, Dr. Leopold Kniewallner. “This recent result with the prototype component is important confirmation that Cymat aluminum foam has an important role to play in the future of light weighting of automobiles.”