Electromobility SJM Presents Itself for the First Time in Europe at EUROGUSS
While the revolutionary changes in the automotive industry and the overall manufacturing landscape are exciting, it is a reorientate-or-die-situation for the traditional supplier industry. If you perceive change too late, reality hits you all the harder. Against this background, the Korean mono-manufacturer SJM is an eye-opening example of how the change to e-mobility can be managed.
With electro mobility on the rise, the design of the components of the drivetrain must take the optimization of the thermal conditions into consideration. Geometrically complex channel structures for guiding the cooling medium must already be integrated into housings for batteries or power electronics as well as the motor itself in the manufacturing process, demand the authors of “Leakage-free cooling channels for Die-cast housing components”.
The use of one-piece housing requires a corresponding solution to stabilize the cast pipes. Now, an alternative procedure to the common mechanically compacted salt filling was developed by the Korean company MH Technologies. Their so-called ZeroLeak Tube is based on a filler that is removed after pouring, which, however, has a two-layer structure. These fillers generate a counterpressure inside the tube during the high pressure die casting process to maintain its original shape. Complex shaped cooling channels with round, but also elliptical or rectangular cross-sections can be realized, taking into account the optimal heat dissipation, to achieve maximum performance and durability of the motor. This technology claims to enhance safety from coolant leakage and lowers production cost by simplifying processes.
At the same time and in the same country, another company had a very different problem: SJM is mono-manufacturing components for the exhaust tract, especially components for vibration decoupling in the exhaust tract, and began to see the writing on the wall: The market was clearly moving towards electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, making the diesel exhaust tract obsolete. In order to keep pace and to stay in control of their future, SJM quickly established their very own innovation team dedicated to finding promising technologies worldwide.
Last year, SJM established a joint venture with MH Technologies in order to transfer their knowledge into its own product portfolio and to establish it on the market. SJM has chosen EUROGUSS to make its first official appearance in Europe and build up their network in the high pressure die casting industry.
Comment on how SJM has Navigated the Change
Beate Voss, Business Administration Manager and Benjamin Großardt, Technical Manager, explain how SJM has navigated the change that is eventually going to hit most companies in the supply industry.
Beate Voss: We are a one-product company, and this product is for the exhaust systems, hence no longer the first choice of customers. Fortunately, our management saw this development coming. They understood that there must be a change within the company. Otherwise, the company would have no future. The Korean companies, like Hyundai, are go-getters. They search for new products, for new possibilities, for new ways of production for e-mobility, or other mobilities without the exhaust systems. So about five years ago, our management created a team called the innovation team. As we are a global company headquartered in Korea, the innovation team consisted of members from all markets in Europe, Africa and America. Their purpose was to spend about 20 percent of their time searching for innovation in their respective countries. They discovered MH Technologies and were clever enough to establish a joint venture very early last year.
Benjamin Großardt: There was no limiting point from our management. We weren’t focused on the automotive industry but were rather told to keep an open eye for all possible opportunities. Of course, our experience in the automotive industry is an advantage from a structural point of view, but as a small company, we are also quite flexible and can quickly change and react.
Voss: We have two advantages: We have knowledge in the automotive industry, and we have knowledge of the material. Sure, we could look around for everything, but we always knew it would be great to find something with either the material or the automotive market, and now we have a little bit of both, so it's the perfect product for us.
Großardt: For us, being at EUROGUSS is a good way of networking. We are new in the business, new in HPDC family, so to say, because as we heard, it's like a big family and everybody knows everybody. We need EUROGUSS as a starting point. For us it will be important to see: Who are the players in the industry? Who can we talk to? It's not always the big companies that come to mind first. As we are a smaller company, it's also important to us that we have a proper fit. Smaller companies can be more innovative sometimes.
ZeroLeak Tube is part of the project “CoolCast - New Approaches for High Efficiency Cooling of Electric Drives”, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the AiF-ZIM program, and was published in the GIESSEREI magazine September 2021.
The results of the CoolCast project prove the feasibility and above all also the predictability of the deployment of the ZeroLeak Tube technology in die casting. This technology can be used to implement media-carrying channels based on aluminum tubes and hollow profiles in die-cast components. This opens up promising prospects for the production of central components of the electric drivetrain, which require exact temperature control.
The stability of the pipes could be used for recompression pressures up to 1200 bar. Those come with a slight decrease in diameter of the cast pipe, however the magnitude of this effect as well as those caused by the flow and the resulting thermal Relocation of the Pipes can easily be predicted using the casting simulation and can therefore be included in the cast part design. From a lightweight construction point of view, it is of importance that the stability of the pipes within the limits considered does not depend significantly on the wall thickness. The results show already that the usage of the same materials has advantages over steel-based solutions.