An Innovative Thermoplastic Composite Suspension Arm

Compose was involved in a collaborative R&D project led by the CETIM with three other partners, Onera, PSA Peugeot Citroën & PEI, which aims to develop composite parts and process which meet automotive industry requirements.

CETIM, ONERA & PSA Peugeot Citroën have been working on the part design and its optimization to get a composite suspensions arm with similar properties than the ones of steel suspension arm.

Compose has been in charge of designing and manufacturing an innovative rotative tool allowing thermoforming and welding of organosheets simultaneously. Compose and CETIM patented the tool design.

Two net-shape organosheets are placed at the same time on both thermoforming tool cavities. Then the press closes and
thermoformed the sheets. The tool turns to place both shells, which are still hot, face to face in order to weld them together. Both shells are heated by infrared at the adequate welding temperature. Then, the press closes again to weld the shellsand thermoformed at the same time the next two shells.
This innovative process allows:

  • to manufacture efficiently parts in large quantities due to a short cycle time & automation.
  • to save energy as there is no need to reheat the shells for the welding
  • to reduce scrap as the part remains in the mould, it is unlikekly to be strained
  • to save weight: the composite car suspension arm is 50% lighter than the metallic one (1,050 grams instead of 2,400 grams, excluding connections)
  • to increase part durability by using thermoplastic composite: higher corrosion and mechanical fatigue resistance
  • to design more complex shapes and, in particular, hollow shapes by using composite materials.
  • to optimize joining technology by overmoulding the rubber connections

Mechanical tests are under progress and will be continued during the next two years by the partner of the project. This phase aims to improve confidence of the numerical simulation used for composite pieces development. This suspension arm, thanks to its geometry similar to the steel arm, can easily be adapted and tested on a physical demonstrator (prototype car).

Thermoplastic Composite Car Suspension Arm

Thermoplastic Composite Car Suspension Arm





Outillage PAMM Rotative Thermoforming & Welding Tool