Imerys develops innovative solutions that address the major global challenges of automakers and auto parts manufacturers, such as reducing mass and consumption, decreasing emissions, electric battery performance, and equipment reliability. From plastic parts like bumpers and dashboards to engine components and interior/exterior fittings, our unique range of products can be found in many of your vehicles’ functions.
- Plastics and polymers
Talc improves the rigidity, impact resistance, and dimensional stability of thermoplastic automotive parts by replacing heavier materials. The use of talc-reinforced polymers is becoming widespread in the automotive industry: They are lighter and thus help reduce vehicle weight, a key element in decreasing vehicle fuel consumption.
To improve manufacturing processes, permeability, electrical properties, fire resistance, and mechanical properties (tensile strength of auto parts, etc.), talc is used in the composition of joints, pipes, membranes, cables, vehicle tires, and more.
- Paints and coatings
Opacity, matte appearance, crack-resistance, and anti-corrosion properties...Used as functional fillers, Imerys kaolins, calcium carbonates, micas, and talc improve the quality of paints and coatings by bringing all these qualities to their end-performance.
- Technical ceramics and catalytic converters
Talc is used in cordierite honeycomb supports, a ceramic technology essential to all exhaust pipes on automobiles, trucks, buses, and heavy equipment (mining, construction, and farming vehicles) produced around the world.
High-purity kaolins and halloysite are essential components in automotive catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters. Imerys contributes to reducing harmful exhaust emissions to improve air quality.
- Disc brake friction and pads
Fused zirconia and electrofused magnesium oxide are used as additives in brake pads. Their resistance to extreme temperatures makes it possible to alter friction characteristics and prevent brake disc wear.
- Clutch coatings
Customized graphite-based solutions from Imerys provide the physical and mechanical properties required for surface coatings for vehicle clutch systems.
- Glowplugs for diesel engines
Electrofused magnesium oxide has electrical and thermal properties that make it an effective element in the manufacture of glowplugs for diesel engines.
- Lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid cars
Carbon-based mineral specialties in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries serve as conductive additives for negative and positive electrodes, allowing reversible ion storage in the negative electrode (essential for energy generation). Further, graphite and carbon black make lithium-ion batteries safer and more efficient.
Zirconia at the core of automotive emission control systems
Components manufacturers are constantly designing more “sophisticated” solutions to limit automotive environmental impact. Deep in the core of one of them, the oxygen sensor, lies an Imerys specialty: zirconia.
Measuring the effectiveness of automobile anti-pollution systems depends on the accurate assessment of the oxygen and hydrocarbon content of a motor’s gas output. An oxygen sensor makes such measurement possible.
Sensors are based on the principle of the fuel cell: The oxygen ions pass through a zirconia membrane produced by Imerys and this ion exchange creates an electrical current between the electrodes placed on either side of the membrane. This current allows measurement of the amount of oxygen present in the gas mixture.
This application represents a very promising market for the Group: Imerys’ Laufenburg plant (Fused Minerals division) in Germany produces the yttria-stabilized zirconia powder. This specialty product is the ideal material for casting ceramic membranes used in oxygen sensors. Imerys has become the major supplier to Bosch, the automotive parts manufacturer and inventor of the oxygen sensor. This market, which has shown steady growth (+7.5% annual growth projected between 2011 and 2015), could generate more than €10 million in turnover for Imerys by 2016.
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