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5 points to help make your design possible
Agricultural and construction machinery are now much more than just powerful and functional commercial vehicles: their design embodies performance and strength, shapes brands and conveys a specific image. Manufacturers often use an eye-catching combination of plastic and metal to distinguish their vehicles visually from the competition. However, complex design features such as elaborately drawn perforated panels on the front of a vehicle pose a challenge for production and installation engineers. Our experience has shown that five design points in particular are crucial for a successful engineering process. Those who choose to work closely with Solvaro at an early stage of the design and production process will receive technical input enabling them to fully exploit their design freedom during the planning stage.
The following five points explain how you as the design engineer can lay the foundations for successful product development starting from the planning phase:
1. The right perforation
The high-performance engines in agricultural and construction machinery, buses and trucks need a reliable supply of cooling air at all times – ventilation grilles with hexagonal perforations providing up to 85% air permeability are therefore often the first choice.
The relevant parameters, such as the hole pitch, hole width and bridge width, depend very much on component requirements like dirt filtering function, stability, design and corrosion protection. Depending on the application, round holes are also a possibility. Solvaro helps you early on in the process to select the right perforation and the optimal material, thereby laying the foundation for creating a stable, durable and functional product.
2. Set reduction
It is worth taking a closer look when determining the dimensions and number of components, as not every opening on a bonnet needs a grille and not every grille needs to be produced in just one piece. Solvaro uses the design freedom that exists in the early planning phase to define the optimal number of components.
This means that the three openings on the bonnet of a construction machine can also be covered using two ventilation grilles if they are formed accordingly. The benefit is that the grilles fit seamlessly into the bonnet, cover several openings and ensure good stability.
3. The forming
Deep-drawn sections give the vehicle front its unmistakeable and distinctive look. Perforated sheet, however, demonstrates different flow behaviour to solid material and the forming processes cannot therefore be compared. Only with the right combination of professional equipment, experience and instinct can the very thin bridges be formed successfully without tearing.
In addition to deep drawing, alternative technologies are other possible ways to give the perforated sheet the required shape, depending on the application. This is because, even when alternative technologies are used, the struts that provide the plastic bonnet with support are still created in the metal component, making a lighter-weight design possible. Alternative forming techniques are often cheaper – Solvaro will advise you about the forming options available for your individual requirements.
4. The coating
Just like with forming, the process for coating perforated components is fundamentally different to that used for solid sheets. The main technical challenge is the effect of edge thinning, which can result in uneven coating of the steel. Solvaro has therefore developed a comprehensive pretreatment process that achieves excellent results – both in terms of appearance and air permeability.
Extensive testing in close cooperation with surface technology experts and the IFO (Institute for Surface Technology) in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, enables us to give you well-founded information about the technical implementation of your desired design. We have extensive experience in this area and will be able to give you targeted advice about your project so we can achieve the best possible result together.
5. Ready-to-install delivery
Inserting the finished perforated sheets in the bonnet is a key production step that needs to be considered during the early stages of product development. A formed component relies, for example, on special reinforcements for seamless installation. During product development, Solvaro works to ensure that a single reinforcement is sufficient to maintain the perfect visual line, for example. Multiple reinforcements, for instance, could require flexible deep-drawing tools and would cause significant additional production costs.
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