The business unit Hydraulic Brake Systems (HBS) within the business area Autonomous Mobility and Safety is a part of the Continental Automotive Technologies group. It develops, produces and integrates active and passive safety technologies as brake systems for passenger cars and controls vehicle dynamics. In 2017, the product group started a special initiative with the goal of guaranteeing the feasibility of casting designs while striving for a “first time right” strategy. This article describes the motivation for introducing MAGMASOFT®at Continental, the subsequent implementation process and achievements up to today.
As casting components play a key role in the development of a brake caliper, Continental decided in 2018 to set up a Casting Competence Center (CCC) team to take care of all casting-related topics in R&D. To achieve the aim of “first time right”, it becomes necessary to understand the castability of the designs; for this purpose, Continental HBS implemented MAGMASOFT®. The team was soon joined by colleagues to support CCC with respect to design and supplier quality management (SQM) topics.
The main activity concerns ductile iron castings, accounting for approximately 60% of the brake caliper weight. A typical front axle caliper consists of anchor, housing, piston, brake pads and spring elements, Figure 1.
The cast parts are designed individually for each customer project within the available design space in the wheel house to fulfill the specific customer requirements, such as mass and stiffness. The consideration of castability of a part design in an early design phase avoids comparatively late rejections by suppliers and end customers.
With regard to the complex design and critical castability, Continental decided to choose housings as pilot project for the evaluation of internal simulation activities, Figure 1 (center). The main function of a housing is to apply the clamping force for pressing the brake pads onto the rotor, which then creates the frictional forces for the brake torque for decelerating the car.
A hydraulic pressure of 160 bar is applied which deflects the cast component and leads to an increased hydraulic volume between cylinder bottom and piston. This additional volume of brake fluid is called "volume consumption" and is a key criterion for the stiffness of a brake caliper, Figure 1 (right).