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Composites take BMW drivers for a ride

A lightweight composites acoustic shield is giving BMW Z4 drivers a quieter ride. The underbody component also improves aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, according to its German developers, Takeo Automotive Systems and Quadrant Plastic Composites.


The SymaLITE shielding is made of a layered, sandwich-like core structure, which provides excellent acoustic properties as well as a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio compared with injection moulded parts or other alternative materials.


An acoustic fleece replaces a thin polymer film on the road-facing side and improves noise damping significantly. Moisture can penetrate the material, but is quickly released without affecting the functionality of the part, while the upper surface is closed and thus impermeable to water, petrol or oil.


According to Harri Dittmar, automotive product manager at Quadrant Plastics Composites: “SymaLITE is an intelligent composite material with specially orientated glass fibres that give it superior rigidity and shape at low weight.


“By varying the mix of fibre and PP resins in relation to the functional surface layers, the material’s properties can be adapted to match the performance demands of the part, giving greater design and processing flexibility than competitive offerings.”


The open cellular structure of SymaLITE provides excellent acoustic properties, reducing engine and gearbox noise and driving noise levels. Rolling noise is also highly absorbed, which further reduces the interior noise level. In addition to superior noise absorption qualities, SymaLITE underbody shields and wheel arch liners are extremely tough and stiff and offer excellent resistance to aging, crack development, stone-chipping and material deformation.


“We have established a close and highly successful co-operation with Quadrant. This allows us to combine our know-how in underbody design and production technology with the material knowledge of Quadrant Plastic Composites to produce superior parts like the SymaLITE body shields,” said Frank Heisler, owner and ceo of Takeo Automotive Systems.


“We are delighted to see how successful these parts are with leading OEMs and the acoustic improvements and fuel efficiency benefits they bring to the driver.”

The composites underbody reduces in-car noise while also improving fuel efficiency