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Shot Peening in the Automotive Industry


in Vol. 19 - November Issue - Year 2018
We Are Moving To Electric Cars, And Shot Peening?



Mario Guagliano

It is enough to take a look at general newspapers everywhere in the world to read some news about hybrid and electric cars and to discover some new attractive things about them.
Indeed, the environmental emergency makes the definition of new mobility models an important issue to solve and the development and diffusion of such type of cars is an important step.
This is especially true if we think about air pollution in large cities and metropolises, where lots and lots of vehicles circulate every day and the quality of the air is getting worse and worse.
Many international cities are reducing and discouraging the access of internal combustion engine cars by introducing fees or simply by forbidding access to old cars that are not respecting the present toxic emission limits. Milan, the city where I live, in ten years will allow just electric cars to circulate in the central area of the city, and will be provided with electric buses only. And the same can be said for many other cities inside and outside Europe. This step will require a great effort also in terms of infrastructure that will lead to a completely new mobility approach, but it is done!
The recent diesel engine-gate has probably accelerated the trend, showing that with traditional engines and the present technological level, it is quite difficult to respect the present emission limitations fixed by the strict international standards.
And we see that more and more car manufacturers, even those who did not show a great interest in this technology in the past years, are announcing that they will be able to produce hybrid and electric cars in 2-3 years.  That is to say, that the automotive scenario will change within a few years and cars very different from the present ones will be produced and sold all around the world.
And…..how about shot peening in this new context?
We all know that the automotive industry is one of the most important industrial sectors for shot peening applications, with large volumes of production. Many parts of the engine can be shot-peened, even more if we consider the gearbox and the gears that transmit the power to the wheels. And how about the springs, the torsion bars and so on?
Indeed there are a lot of parts in a car that are or could be shot-peened and there is no doubt that moving to an electric (but also to a hybrid) car would affect this number and, considering the present state of the art, would probably reduce it. The motor as well as the power transmission system is quite different in an electric car and if we consider a hybrid car, the specific power requirements of the engine is lower, with a reduced need to use shot peening.
But it is true that shot peening and allied processes are quite flexible treatments and that also in the new propulsion system it is worth looking for shot peening solutions able to be downsized or to make better use of materials. And it is still not clear what will be the winning architecture of the electric car of the future (fuel cells? electric motor with range extender? something else?).
It is true also that the final development of the electric car will make clearer the role played by shot peening, but it is also true that it is time to think about it and to investigate how shot peening can improve the performance of such new cars. This means that research and investments in the field are needed to be ready at the right time to make shot peening still of interest in the next generation of cars.




Shot Peening in the Automotive Industry
by Mario Guagliano
Contributing Editor MFN and
Full Professor of Technical University of Milan
20156 Milan, Italy
E-mail: mario@mfn.li


 
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