Technology overview: Connecting rods used in automobile engines are the power transmission part converting the linear motion of the piston into the rotating motion at the crank shaft by explosion of fuel, thereby requiring high strength and toughness, and fatigue strength. In addition, recently as the demand for high-strength connecting rods increased with the development of high-powered engines (GDI, T-GDI etc.), we needed the mass production technology of high-strength and high-precision connecting rods, thereby developing the relevant technology. In this study, we have secured the mechanical properties capable of responding to the high-powered engine through the high- strength powder alloy design for powder forging, and have reduced number of processing times and improved the mechanical property relative to the competing production methods by complementing the optimized design of mold (Net-Shape) and the post-treatment process.
In addition, based on the connecting rod design technology using the computer simulation, we have succeeded in producing the connecting rod for high-powered engine. By producing and supplying the test specimen and the test product developed without investment and change of equipment in the short term on the basis on these technologies, we have evaluated the product and applied the mass production system in early stages. Recently with the increasing demand for high-strength and lightweight connecting rods following the downsizing trend of high-powered engines, the recent issue of the automobile industry, it is expected that the demand trend of such connecting rods will be applied to both domestic and foreign markets, thereby doubling the economic effect.
Industrialization: We succeeded in mass-production of the developed connecting rod without change of the existing production line or additional investment, and beginning with application of the rod to the 2000cc T-GDI engine of Hyundai Motor Company in 2011, we applied the rod to all of the models mounted with a gasoline engine of 2000cc or larger (four models mounted with a 2000cc Theta Engine, three models mounted with a 3000cc Lambda Engine, and one model mounted with a 5000cc Tau Engine) of Hyundai Motor Company in 2013, thereby achieving turnover of about KRW 54 billion from 2011 to 2014 (KRW 2.4 billion in 2011, KRW 14 billion in 2012, KRW 18 billion in 2013, and KRW 20 billion in 2014, respectively). In addition, we also came to achieve the effect that the items of the localized parts pursuant to the reinforcement of Hyundai-KIA Motors’ localized production were maintained by or converted to domestic production. Therefore, it has become more likely that our connecting rod will be applied distendedly to various automobile parts requiring high-tensile and high-fatigue features, and it has become possible for the overseas competitors to produce, substitute and supply the connecting rod in Korea vis-a-vis the localization investment in China. Thus, it is expected that increase of export will be possible as the factories of GM, FIAT, etc. located in China are also reviewing development of the product.
Problem-solving in industrialization: Composition of the alloy powder mainly used for producing the connecting rod with the powder forging process before the research and development was Fe-Cu-C based alloy, and its tensile strength was 800MPa level having difficulty in being applied to the high-powered engine. In order to secure hardness, overseas competitors produce the product by increasing the content of copper(Cu) and sintering at high temperature (1,250℃), there is a limit in securing the property only by adjusting the content of copper and carbon(C), and increasing the sintering temperature causes the increase of investment for the processing equipment and processing cost. In order to solve this problem, we have concentrated on developing new alloy material for the connecting rod capable of responding to the high-powered engine without introduction of new production method or change of owned equipment. Besides, we could succeed in industrialization by mass-producing the product early as rapid evaluation of the product and complement verification of technology and quality were implemented for the development product attributing to the concentrative research and development through the connection of both the enterprise-oriented industry∙institute research system and the production∙demand enterprise.
Technology developer: Sinteron Co., Ltd. / +82-31-299-8114 / www.sinteron.com
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