The future is now when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), as every major US and international auto maker is currently involved in or has announced the addition of EVs to their lineup of cars, SUVs, and trucks. These auto advances are not limited to just personal vehicles, EVs are also being used in public transportation, freight and logistics, heavy equipment on construction sites, and within the military.
As the industry moves away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and into an era dominated by EVs, automotive fasteners will play a pivotal role in specific applications, design details, and the distinctive technical requirements needed to produce these models. It is projected that the automotive fastener market will reach $26.27 billion by 2028; this number greatly influenced by the need for further technical developments and design improvements.
EVs and ICE vehicles greatly differ, aside from the obvious ways in which each run. EVs require a large number of fasteners incorporated into their design, manufacturing, and technical requirements. In fact, Optimas Solutions reports that fasteners may make up only 1% of a project’s budget, but they make up nearly 50% of a product’s parts. The selection of fasteners used in EVs can have a variety of different impacts including lightweight benefits, product performance, and supply chain efficiency.
Applied in the design and manufacturing process, fastener techniques, like lightweighting, which occurs when less materials or components are used during assembly to reduce weight and in turn optimize fuel efficiency and performance, is one way fastener companies are adapting to the updated auto maker’s EV goals. Much like they have for the aerospace industry by shifting to lighter materials, such as replacing steel with aluminum, plastics, and carbon fiber, the new options allow for fasteners to maintain the same strength as with previous heavy metals, but at a much lighter weight.
Not only are fastener companies innovating through technique; with EVs entering the mainstream, interior car designs are changing which requires a new way of thinking when it comes to fasteners. These small components are now playing a large role in the visual design aspect and must match the aesthetics and quality of the overall brand.
Fasteners are not only key elements of vehicle structures but also of charging units, battery casings, and general infrastructure equipment where they must ensure very high levels of strength, safety, electrical insulation, and overall quality.
Two technologies are leading the way when it comes to fasteners used in EVs, cold heading and 3D printing. Cold heading is the forming of a specific shape from metal wire without adding heat. This method provides electrical and power components used in EVs. This process significantly reduces scrap, leads to faster production times, and has the ability to produce 30,000+ parts/per day from just one machine. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, creates a three-dimensional object from a CAD or digital 3D model. This process which occurs during the design, development, and manufacturing of EVs takes design limitations out of the equation and is ideal for prototyping. It also assists in creating components and parts that aid in lightweighting.
Don’t miss Sherex Fastening Solutions on the IFE 2023 Session Stage! Sherex’s President, Adam Pratt, will be discussing new rivet nut technologies that have helped EV makers save money and keep the line moving. Register to Attend!