Oil pan made of plastic reduces CO2

To prevent grinding in the transmission, metal gears need one thing above all: oil. Just a dab of the precious lubricant on the right spot can be enough to help a transmission enjoy a long service life. Simple enough. And yet, automotive manufacturers are constantly looking to further optimize the lubrication system.

When talking about sustainable and efficiency-boosting system solutions, the developers at Röchling Automotive are the right guys for the job as this is their specialty. This led to a new product: an oil pan made of plastic.

When high competency in materials and methods combines with physical-developmental expertise, CO2 emissions are bound to fall. In this case, the engineers put the internal disharmonies of gearboxes in the spotlight. No one could have imagined that a change to the lubrication principle would have the potential to save two grams of CO2 per kilometer. But that is exactly what they achieved with their development in which the oil that is used for lubrication is guided from a pan-like fluid bottle to the gear pairs via small openings. To get the oil into this oil pan and from there to the right spot, a feed system from the base of the gearbox is required. An oil distribution duct is built into the pan itself. 

Decreased Friction, Less Oil

The benefits of the system are primarily seen in that the gears are no longer rotating in a pool of oil. The corresponding reduction in friction is supplemented by the benefit of needing less oil for reliable lubrication of the gearbox.

“Röchling already had all of the competencies at the beginning of the project in order to successfully realize its completion,” says Walter Kral, Head of the Fluid Components and Systems product line. The supplier is a leader in the development and production of various liquid container types and has several years of R&D experience in the design and computation of fluid systems. “Our zeal in reducing emissions really delivered that extra kick,” says Ludwig Huber, General Manager Innovation and Business Development. “But structured development work in every area – from fluid bottles to coolant pipes and pumps – was involved behind the scenes.”

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