Dow Corning shares solutions with India
Global chemicals major Dow Corning's innovative silicon-based technologies are helping the Indian automotive industry increase productivity.
Another big trend, according to Dow, is that the rapidly growing automotive export market and its diverse demands will ensure that manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers increasingly seek new ways to customise their products. In addition, it sees that sustainable development is rapidly becoming a critical issue in the automotive industry with increasing concerns related to energy saving, environmental protection, safety and extension of vehicle life.
Supplier to the automotive world
The company has been the world's leading automotive supplier for more than 60 years. According to Dow, it has the experience and expertise to help increase safety, performance, comfort and environmental compliance of automotive systems, modules and components in most segments, including airbags, auto appearance chemicals, body components, chassis and brake systems, electrical components, electronic components, fuel and air systems, plastics and powertrain components and systems.
In India the company’s manufacturing plant near Pune supplies the domestic automotive industry with greases, lubricants and sealants, while the company’s Application Engineering and Technical Services laboratory enables Dow to collaborate with its customers in developing products that are customised for the Indian automotive market. Besides supplying leading automotive OEMs, the company also supplies several Tier 1 component manufacturers and its products support a wide range of automotive applications. Some of these include lighting systems, brakes, window regulators, seat sliding mechanisms, motors, control cables, switch actuators, starter motors, alternators and windshield wipers. The four major areas on which Dow is currently focusing its development efforts are airbags, tyres, electronics and lights.
For airbags the company is developing liquid silicone rubber which is used to coat airbags, enabling even deployment and protecting the fabric from the heat and force of inflation. In addition, a new textile coating developed by the company allows side curtain airbags to remain inflated longer to improve protection in rollovers. It also allows them to be folded into a narrow area above a vehicle's door to make design and assembly easier. Dow also offers silicone fluids which are used in deployment sensors due to their exceptional viscosity-temperature stability.
‘Green' tyres are becoming increasingly popular as they help drivers to save fuel due to their lower rolling resistance and also offer improved grip, even in wet weather conditions. Initially, the adoption of green tyres was slow due to their higher cost of manufacturing. This was because silica was used to reinforce filler in tread compounds rather than traditional carbon black. Dow Corning has developed a method to produce silane (a type of silicone needed for the silica treatment component) which is a much more affordable alternative that reduces the cost of producing green tyres, which could lead to wider use.
In the area of vehicle electronics, Dow has developed silicone coatings that protect delicate electronic circuits used to control sensors for electronic stability systems, as well as other electronic devices, against temperature extremes, moisture, salt spray, and other contaminants. Electronic stability sensors detect tyre slippage, obstacles on the road, and how fast the steering wheel is being turned in order to take corrective action for the driver on traction control.
As for lighting systems, Dow Corning's silicone-based high-performance lubricants allow new-generation headlights to turn with the front wheels, illuminating the path around a corner. In addition, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) using silicone lenses can provide performance and safety benefits with tail-lights that turn on instantly which gives trailing drivers more time to stop. These also offer better visibility in poor weather and last longer than incandescent bulbs, thus offering enhanced safety and lower cost. All in line with Dow's aim to make vehicles safer, fuel-efficient and environmentally sustainable.
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