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Tribology: Detroit and the Automotive Industry Part 1

Automotive & Aerospace

Measurement-on-demand solutions ensure component quality

The development and manufacture of automotive and aerospace components require a wide range of surface texture, roughness and finish measurements in accordance with strict industrial standards to ensure they work reliably under extreme conditions and constant strain. Bruker’s industry-leading 3D optical microscopes and profilers provide the flexible imaging and measurement capabilities for comprehensive, accurate characterization of surfaces related to nearly all aspects of a vehicle, helping predict and prevent product failures, and correlate wear to particular manufacturing processes or sources.

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Bruker’s 3D optical microscopes provide high-quality solutions for the accurate characterization of high-precision bearings, races and associated hardware at high volumes without compromising end product quality. Applications such as roughness, surface quality, and lubricant film thickness can be addressed and processes optimized for best quality output.

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Brakes and Clutches

Both braking and clutch systems require well machined and correctly coated surfaces to ensure best performance over time. Fluid retention, surface texture direction and bearing area are just a few of the functional characteristics that can easily and readily be quantified via non-contact 3D optical metrology.

New: Download Brake Material Testing App Note

Electrical and Sensors

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have taken an ever increasing role in performing crucial aircraft and automobile functions, and precision metrology is one of the key enablers in the steady advancement of this technology. Bruker’s 3D optical metrology provides rapid, non-contact investigation of a wide range of parameters, from shape and surface roughness to residual stress and thermal properties.

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The production of engine blocks to exacting industrial standards requires the use of accurate metrology. In automotive plants around the world, 3D optical profilometry is being used to measure items such as the grind pattern on engine valves, the texture inside engine cylinders, and the critical characteristics of fuel injectors.

Gears and Sprockets

Automatic pitting identification and detailed time studies of lubricant and corrosion inhibition of gears is being used extensively in the automotive industry to enhance fatigue strength and improve manufacturing QC. 3D optical microscopy provides rapid, gauge-capable metrology for functional surface parameters relating to the performance of gears, including surface roughness, interfacial area, and fluid retention.

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Interior, Exterior, and Other Trim

Producing attractive yet durable trim pieces is a must for automotive and aerospace industries who cater to public passenger transportation. From defect detection in chrome-plated moldings, handles, and interior trim pieces to wear measurement of synthetic coverings and rubber components, 3D optical microscopes enable engineers to improve their manufacturing processes and select the most optimized materials possessing both the appropriate aesthetics and the durability demanded by the industry.

Lubricants and Additives

The selection of the best lubricant and understanding the mechanism by which it acts to separate surfaces in an automotive component is a complex process. Bruker’s 3D optical microscopes enable engineers to clearly document and trace changes over time in lubricant transportation, as well as characterize the influence of additives and corrosion prevention techniques.

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Shafts and Seals

The production of high-performance sealing systems requires advanced characterization of surface roughness and lead angle to identify and help prevent leakage and reduce product recalls. Bruker’s 3D optical microscopes accurately perform dimensional measurements and characterize surface texture, providing data to enable the comprehensive critical inspection of rotary dynamic sealing surfaces.

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