Safety, driving pleasure, esthetics – when you drive a car, it is not just the steering wheel that has a major influence on the driving experience, but also the top column module that connects the steering wheel with the control unit. The French automotive supplier Valeo has now developed a top column module whose housing and levers are made of BASF’s engineering plastics Ultramid® (PA: polyamide) and Ultradur® (PBT: polybutylene terephthalate). It is around 20 percent lighter than the previous model and benefits from the outstanding surface finish, the good UV resistance and the excellent mechanics of the BASF materials. The top column module is used by the BMW Group in its vehicles with rear-wheel drive for the BMW 3 to 7 series.
“Our steering columns are based on a highly developed, integrated design and therefore adapt perfectly to the particular car interior architecture,” says Jochen Foeßel, who is responsible for part optimization and plastic injection molds at Valeo. “In order to create a stable, functional and visually appealing top column module, we were able to select exactly the right materials from BASF’s wide range of engineering plastics as well as benefit from BASF’s service covering all aspects of component design, material development and processing.” For the indicator and windshield wiper levers Valeo uses the surface polyamide Ultramid® B3EG10 SI (SI= surface improved). For the two-part core module it employs the PBTs Ultradur® B 4520 and Ultradur® B 4300 G4