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Technologies from Sigma Materials and Applied Nano Surfaces prevent abrasion of potentially hazardous particles in road and rail traffic

Applied Nano Surfaces, Erkrath in Nordrhein-Westfalen, March 2021

Particulate matter produced by the operation of motor vehicles is indisputably a potential health hazard. Tougher exhaust standards and the use of modern particulate filters have effectively reduced emissions from internal combustion engines, and with increasing e-mobility, fewer exhaust pollutants are being released into the environment. What remains is particulate pollution from the abrasion of tyres and brakes in road and rail traffic. With technologies from Sigma Materials and Applied Nano Surfaces, at least brake dust emissions can be sustainably reduced.

 

When cars stop at traffic lights or a train stops at the platform, the brakes have to cope with enormous loads. As sophisticated as modern braking systems have become, however, most systems are still based on discs made of grey cast iron, which wear out through abrasion and have to be replaced regularly. In the past, this was more or less taken note of and hardly anyone paid attention to the question of where the abraded metal particles ultimately remain.

 

Growing awareness of the problem and modern analysis technology draw increased attention to brake discs and brake dust

However, with advances in analytical technology and a growing awareness of the potential health hazards of particulate matter, brake abrasion is now coming more and more into focus. The attention of environmental researchers and health experts is focused in particular on particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres, officially referred to as “fine dust”, and even more so on particles with diameters below 2.5 micrometres, which can penetrate deep into the respiratory tract and cause lasting damage to the lungs and other organs. It is now clear that brake abrasion contains a high proportion of such particles. The State Institute for the Environment, Measurements and Nature Conservation Baden-Württemberg (LUBW) puts the annual brake dust emission for Germany from road traffic alone at 14,000 tonnes. As if that were not enough, brake dust contains particles of metals such as copper, iron or even antimony, which in turn can cause damage to health, the extent of which is still largely unexplored. Meanwhile, brake dust continues to be deposited along roads and railways, is stirred up as vehicles pass by and enters the air we breathe everywhere in densely populated areas.

 

Brake abrasion reduced to an absolute minimum: Tribo-conditioning and alternative materials make it possible

Wherever the principle of a disc brake is used, the abrasion of the finest particles can hardly be completely prevented: The braking process releases mechanical forces on the surface of the discs and generates heat, and friction repeatedly tears individual particles out of the material structures. However, the extent of the abrasion can be influenced, for example by coating the basic metal structure with wear-resistant materials such as tungsten carbide. With the triboconditioning developed by Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS), brake abrasion can be reduced even further: In this process, the brake discs are treated in a special surface finishing process in such a way that a “tribofilm” chemically bonds with the disc material and drastically reduces the abrasion of individual particles even under high material loads. As a result, not only is there less brake dust, but the durability of the brake discs is also increased several times over. However, this only works if the brake discs are made of special materials.

 

MMC: wear-resistant, temperature-resistant and lightweight

A technology developed by ANS partner company Sigma Materials is suitable for manufacturing such products. Sigma Materials uses so-called metal matrix composite (MMC) alloys with aluminium and/or titanium as a basis, which are enriched with particles and fibres from other materials depending on the application or to improve strength. As metal-matrix composites (MMC), the alloys go through a special manufacturing process: the material mixture is compacted by direct pressure sintering. The use of this type of sintering – i.e. pressing the powder together under high pressure and at temperatures close to the melting point – results in the ingredients bonding together extremely densely and homogeneously, with no residual porosity either on the outside or inside.

 

95 percent less particle emission and temperature resistant up to 800°C

When used as a brake disc, Sigma Materials reinforces the friction surfaces of the MMC product with special and particularly hard substances. On contact with the adapted brake pad, this structure ensures the formation of a fine transfer film between the contacting surfaces, which additionally reduces material wear. Although brake discs made of light metal are nothing new per se, such brake discs can only withstand temperatures of up to the order of 450°C and can therefore only be used as an alternative to classic grey cast iron products to a limited extent. The special MMC brake discs manufactured by Sigma Materials, on the other hand, can even be integrated into front axle brakes in which temperatures of up to 700°C can be generated during the braking process. And compared to conventional brake discs made of grey cast iron, the particle emission of MMC products is even up to 95 percent lower.

 

„Increasing electromobility only partly solves the brake dust problem“

For Andreas Storz, Managing Director of Applied Nano Surfaces GmbH and owner of Sigma Materials GmbH, tribo-conditioning and MMC-based products are currently the most suitable solution for getting the still acute brake dust problem under control in the long term. “In the current discussion about the expansion of electromobility, it is easy to get the impression that the occurrence of brake dust will virtually take care of itself over time thanks to recuperation,” says Storz, a mechanical engineer. “In reality, however, cars are getting bigger and heavier, which ultimately leads to higher loads on the brake discs and does not really reduce particle emissions, despite the recovery of braking energy via electric motors. Moreover, only part of the braking energy can ever be “saved”, and by not using the discs in everyday life due to recuperation, disc rust is a huge problem.” Apart from that, the brake dust emitted in road traffic also represents only a part of the total pollution, he said. “At the moment, it is not even possible to roughly estimate what brake dust is produced in freight traffic above ground on the railways or in passenger transport in the underground and is permanently swirled in the air along the tracks,” Andreas Storz points out, “and even if there are even brake dust filters in the meantime which add weight and service cost, the toxic residues still have to remain somewhere.”

 

About ANS

Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) offers friction and wear reduction solutions for industry and especially the automotive sector. The uniqueness of ANS technology is the optimisation of all treated components using a technology that can be easily and cost-effectively implemented into existing production processes. For reduced friction and increased wear resistance!

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Classic brake discs made of grey cast iron (painted silver in the photo in the background) release finest metal particles through abrasion, which pollute the environment as fine dust. The ANS tribo-conditioning (light grey surface of the segment in the foreground), on the other hand, enables an almost wear-free braking system. The segment shows the innovative material concept (dark MMC layers on a conventional aluminium carrier layer in the middle).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the help of MMC technology from Sigma Materials, extremely compact and highly resilient composite materials can be created. The light areas on the micrograph consist of an aluminium-titanium matrix, while the dark spots are ceramic hard particles. While conventional aluminium alloys typically melt at 560°C, this material remains stable up to over 1,000°C.

Friction optimization of engine parts for less wear, longer service life and lower fuel consumption

Applied Nano Surfaces, Erkrath in Nordrhein-Westfalen, September 2019
https://www.maschinenmarkt.vogel.de/

Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS), a specialist in surface optimization, has developed a process to optimize wear and service life of engine components. In addition, reduced friction of the drive components in passenger car engines can even result in fuel savings of up to four percent. The tribo-conditioning process for friction optimization significantly improves the properties of the component in terms of wear resistance and boundary friction. So that the automotive industry can continue to comply with ever stricter legal standards in the future. In addition, lower wear means a significantly longer service life.

 Triboconditioning is a mechanical-chemical surface refinement process for optimizing the friction properties of mechanical components made of steel or cast iron. The process combines the polishing of the component surface with the formation of a solid lubricant film (tribofilm), which is chemically bound to the surface of the component. This improves in particular the running-in behaviour of treated components, which is of great importance as better run-in engine parts remain in good condition over a much longer period of time.

When an engine is run in optimally, surface irregularities of the individual components are smoothed out and local pressures between the individual friction parts are reduced. This then favors full-film lubrication, which leads to dramatically less wear and lower fuel consumption. The patented ANS triboconditioning of engine parts improves this contact conformity. This is because the component surface is quickly damaged by microcracks and chipping, especially during running-in, which can lead to premature failure of the parts. The more advantageous surface increases the lubricating film strength, which in turn enables automobile manufacturers to use modern energy-saving lubricants. Triboconditioning alone has the potential to improve fuel consumption in modern engines by about one percent. In combination with low-viscosity engine oils, however, car manufacturers can even achieve fuel savings of two to four percent.

Various engine components benefit from triboconditioning, including camshafts, crankshafts, cylinder bore surfaces, connecting rods, rocker arms and cams, valves and valve guides. Triboconditioning therefore helps to prevent wear and tear and friction on all components in the lubricated contact.

Triboconditioning for cams and bearings of camshafts and crankshaft bearings: inexpensive and less complex

The triboconditioning of camshafts reduces friction and thus wear in the valve train. The specialists at ANS were able to measure the greatest advantages for direct-acting mechanical bucket (DAMB) valve trains in high-emission stop-and-go city traffic. The effect of ANS triboconditioning can be attributed primarily to the optimized surface topography. In addition, the tribological layer prevents the oil film from tearing off at low speeds, which prevents wear on cams and bearings.

Modern automatic start/stop systems and engine oils with an extremely low viscosity in particular tend to stress the camshaft bearings to their limits, leading to premature wear. Many car manufacturers therefore use electric oil pumps that reduce the risk of oil film breakage but cannot completely eliminate it. Compared to electric pumps, triboconditioning of camshaft bearings is the much more cost-effective and significantly less complex solution.

Due to the use of start-stop technologies and low-viscosity oils, crankshaft bearings also have an increasing need to optimize tribological behavior. This is because repeated starting and stopping of the engine increases friction losses enormously and exposes the bearings to a significantly higher surface load. This has made it necessary to use increasingly advanced and expensive materials. This increases production costs and can cause unwanted noise levels in the engine. Similar to camshafts, the ANS triboconditioning helps to increase the lubricating film strength on the crankshaft bearings, to minimize the starting friction and the bearing abrasion on the mating surface of the crankshaft journals.

Five years of tests prove: Triboconditioning works!

The technical potential of triboconditioning has been proven by intensive tests. These tests took place for five years at several research and technology centers for a wide variety of engine components such as valves, connecting rods and cylinder bores, both for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Among others at the car manufacturer Ford.

The measurable optimisation can be attributed to three main factors: the formation of a self-regenerating tribological film, the improvement of surface integrity after running-in and a modified surface roughness profile.

About ANS

Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) offers solutions for friction and wear reduction for industry and especially the automotive sector. The uniqueness of the ANS technology is the optimization of all treated components using a technology that can be easily and cost-effectively implemented into existing production processes. For lower friction and increased wear resistance!

Sunnen Product Company and Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) sign a joint development program focused on ANS Triboconditioning® process that reduces friction and wear on a variety of honed parts and components.

LOUIS, MO – JULY 2019 – Sunnen Products Company and Sweden’s Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) have entered into a joint market development agreement to advance technology and applications based on the unique Triboconditioning® process recently patented by ANS. The process reduces friction and wear on various steel and cast iron surfaces while improving surface finish, preventing seizures, and enhancing product life.

“ANS is on the leading edge of friction reduction technology,” said Chris Miltenberger, President and CEO of Sunnen Products Company. “We are excited about working with ANS on the development of new products and surface finishing methods which will bring unique solutions to all segments of the manufacturing industry.

Triboconditioning® is a combined mechano-chemical surface treatment process which uses a machining procedure to level off surface peaks and apply a friction- and wear-reducing compound to the component surface. Unlike spray coatings, the compound becomes an integrated part of the component structure at a nano level. The process is mechanically simple and, in most cases, can be done with Sunnen precision honing equipment. It is very cost-efficient in mass production environments, making it perfect for in-house manufacturing as a part of component manufacturers’ production lines.

Key applications include automotive engine components such as valve train parts, cylinder liners, crankshafts and connecting rods, as well as industrial applications such as hydraulic motors, rock drills, pumps, chains, gears and compressors.

ANS is looking forward to combining our knowledge of friction reducing technology with Sunnen’s expertise in surface finishing,” said Christian Kolar, CEO, Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB.  “The solutions under development have the potential to be a real game-changer in component efficiency and product lifetime.”

Headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, ANS offers unique surface treatment technologies on a broad range of industrial and automotive applications.

 

Sunnen is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of precision bore creation and finishing equipment with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, and manufacturing and tech support facilities in Europe, China, India and Brazil.

For additional information contact: Sunnen Products Company, 7910 Manchester Rd., St. Louis, MO 63143. Tel: 314-781-2100; or email sunnen@sunnen.com.

 

Sunnen Contact

Bob Davis

Global Communications Mgr.

Sunnen Products Company

Tel: 314.781.2100

bdavis@sunnen.com

Editorial Contact

Jeff Drum

Kemble & Drum Communications

Tel: 513.871.4042

jdrum@kembledrum.com

ANS Contacts

Johan Falk

Director Global Sales

Applied Nano Surfaces

johan.falk@appliednanosurfaces.com

+46 73.393.1541

 

Wayne Gears

Director of Business Development North America

wayne.gears@appliednanosurfaces.com

+1 310.941.4495

18.03.2019, Frankenthal, Germany, and Uppsala, Sweden. Abacus alpha is leading an investment round alongside the existing investors BASF Venture Capital and Fouriertransform AB in the Swedish high-tech company Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB (ANS).

ANS headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, offers unique surface treatment technologies on various steel and cast iron surfaces to reduce friction and wear in industrial and automotive applications.

ANS will use the investment proceeds to support its customers with adoption and implementation of the technologies in series production. Key application areas are automotive engine components such as valve train parts, cylinder liners, crankshafts and connecting rods as well as industrial applications such as hydraulic motors, rock drills, pumps, chains, gears and compressors. ANS will also continue to advance the partnerships established with Bodycote, the world’s largest supplier of heat treatment services, as well as with leading machine suppliers that support the implementation of the ANS’ processes.

Frank Hüther, Managing Director of Abacus alpha: “We are convinced of the management team and the offering of ANS. Based on the evident value proposition we see a global potential for the company in diverse industrial applications.  ANS is an exciting enrichment of our Investment cluster “Materials and Additive Manufacturing”. We are looking forward to joint successes with ANS Team and our co-investors.”

Maciej Pasternak, Investment Manager at Abacus alpha: “ANS is one of the very few players on the market that can bring the deep knowledge of tribology into industrial application.  The proprietary technology portfolio offers a very competitive solution for friction and wear reduction.“

Christian Kolar, CEO and Co-founder of ANS: “Minimizing energy losses, lower CO2 emissions and increase component life are prioritized areas for many of our customers today. The funds raised, with Abacus Alpha as lead investor, together with funding from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument phase 2 program that we were recently awarded, will enable us to fully tap into these opportunities. We have now an exciting period in front of us where we will bring in our cost-efficient technologies in full scale for a range of different application areas.”

About Abacus alpha GmbH

Abacus alpha is a Frankenthal-based investment company centred around a multinational listed company rich in tradition. Abacus alpha goal is to develop a business group with a balanced structure of young and established companies. The company invests in Industrial IoT, Materials and Additive Manufacturing, CleanTech / GreenTech and Business and Industrial Services.

Further information is present at: www.ab-alpha.de.

About Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB

Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB (ANS) offers innovative solutions for friction and wear reduction. The technologies have a favourable cost-performance profile and are easily implemented in existing production lines. ANS has three core offerings: ANS Triboconditioning®, ANS Tricolit® and ANS TriboNite®. ANS Triboconditioning® is a mechanochemical surface treatment method that is used to reduce friction losses for components made of steel and cast iron. ANS Tricolit® is a series of low friction coatings applicable to components of various materials and shapes. ANS TriboNite® is an advanced heat treatment and coating process that gives the component a hard and durable surface with low friction capabilities. ANS has more than 70 ongoing projects with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers from the automotive industry as well as with customers in various industrial applications where friction reduction and increased durability is a major topic.

Further information is present at: www.appliednanosurfaces.com.

Further Information / Contact:

Christian Kolar

Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB

Knivstagatan 12, 753 23 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: +46 70 738 48 49, E-Mail: christian.kolar@appliednanosurfaces.com

Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Uppsala, Sweden, September 20, 2017 — BASF Venture Capital GmbH is leading an investment round in the Swedish high-tech company Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB (ANS), headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden. ANS offers unique surface treatment technologies to reduce friction and wear in industrial and automotive applications. The investment is co-led by the existing investor Fouriertransform AB.

“ANS has advanced its proprietary surface treatment technologies to meet the market demand for low-cost, high-performance friction and wear reduction technologies,” said Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital. “This is confirmed by the impressive list of applications under development with key customers. We are confident that ANS’s management will translate this into significant value for its shareholders.”

ANS will use the investment proceeds to put its ongoing customer projects into high-volume series production, initially in automotive applications such as valve train components, cylinder liners and connecting rods. In addition, the funds will be used to further expand business development activities in other industrial application areas as well, such as hydraulic motors, rock drills, pumps, chains, gears and compressors, where friction and wear are highly relevant topics.

“This financing through BASF Venture Capital allows us to mature our customer projects to high-volume serial production applications,” said Christian Kolar, CEO and Co-founder of ANS. “The demand for solutions to improve energy efficiency is strong not only in the automotive sector, but increasingly also in industrial applications. Once we have established production for key applications, we will be able to expand and fully exploit the great potential with our highly scalable processes.”

 

“ANS has developed friction reduction technologies with a very favorable cost-performance profile,” said Michael Nettersheim, Investment Manager at BASF Venture Capital. “Ease of implementation should support broad market adoption. Currently, late-stage tests at well-known OEMs from the automotive industry are underway. We expect that the exciting results from prior tests will be validated.”

About BASF Venture Capital

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investments in startup companies and funds. More information is available at: www.basf-vc.com.

About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at: www.basf.com.

About Applied Nano Surfaces Sweden AB

Applied Nano Surfaces AB (ANS) offers innovative solutions for friction and wear reduction. The technologies have a favorable cost-performance profile and are easily implemented in existing production lines. ANS has three core offerings: ANS Triboconditioning®, ANS Tricolit® and ANS TriboNite®. ANS Triboconditioning® is a mechanochemical surface treatment method that is used to reduce friction losses for components made of steel and cast iron. ANS Tricolit® is a series of low friction coatings applicable to components of various materials and shapes. ANS TriboNite® is an advanced heat treatment and coating process that gives the component a hard and durable surface with low friction capabilities. ANS has more than 50 development projects with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers from the automotive industry as well as over 20 customer projects in various industrial applications where friction reduction is a major topic.

Gnutti Carlo, the global market leader in development and supply of high performance heavy duty valve train and fuel injection components, and Applied Nano Surfaces have signed a partnership- and license agreement.

We are very proud to announce that we are now a preferred partner of Gnutti Carlo, strengthening their competitive offering for valve train and fuel injection components with the ANS Triboconditioning® technology. Triboconditioning® improves performance and also enables cost reductions as compared to competing technologies like for example DLC-coatings and bronze bushings. ANS will contribute with core competence in tribology and support Gnutti Carlo with implementation and technical support. Gnutti Carlo will give ANS access to the global heavy duty valve train market supplying parts treated with the ANS Triboconditioning® technology to the worlds OEMs.

Read more about ANS and Triboconditioning®

For more information please contact Nils Edlund, CEO or Christian Kolar, Sales Director:

Nils Edlund, CEO
+46 70 263 31 51

Christian Kolar, Sales Director
+46 70 738 48 49

We are very proud to announce that Applied Nano Surfaces (ANS) and Bodycote have signed a license agreement enabling Bodycote to offer both ANS’ Tricolit® low friction coatings as stand-alone products and in a vast range of combinations with Bodycote’s ordinary offerings.

As a part of the license agreement, ANS will support Bodycote with our core competence in tribology and high performance Tricolit® products. Bodycote will support ANS with access to a global sales force, a large customer base and a ready infrastructure for applying Tricolit® for existing and new customers. The partnership will also grant the opportunity to combine ANS’ Tricolit® with Bodycote’s broad portfolio of heat and surface treatments (TP&C). Extensive testing of combined Tricolit and TP&C treatments has shown great improvements in friction, wear and corrosion. In some cases the friction was reduced by up to five times and the corrosion resistance improved by a factor of ten.

By sharing competence and application knowledge between ANS and Bodycote, we are now able to guide our customers to the best solution for their particular purposes. Read more about ANS Tricolit® here.