This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Accept

ALUMINIUM

 

Although aluminium (Al) is the third widest-spread element in the Earth crust, mankind has known it for a little more than a century – its industrial production was patented as late as 1886 and launched four years later. It is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and – in various alloys containing silicon, magnesium and/or copper - also highly resistant. Aluminium is used extensively in ŠKODA vehicles – the obvious first thought is that of alloy discs, but aluminium alloys are also used in e.g. chassis parts and engine blocks.

The reason is that compared with steel, aluminium is much lighter, yet comparable in terms of strength. Aluminium can help us save as much as 150 kg per vehicle. Obviously, a lighter car of the same power is faster, its fuel consumption is lower, and so is the tyre wear… put simply, aluminium offers many benefits that we could list here, and car manufacturers have been using it for decades. For example, in 1913 the NSU 8/24, one of the predecessors of modern Audis, our VW Group siblings, featured an all-aluminium body.

Besides great properties, including easy recycling that is becoming increasingly important, aluminium has some negative properties, too. Compared with steel, the biggest negative is price, which is why - after some experiments with aluminium - car manufacturers took to steel and then stayed loyal to it throughout the twentieth century. The first series production car to feature an all-aluminium body was launched shortly before the end of the twentieth century – quite surprisingly, it was the Audi A8, a successor to the old NSU.

ŠKODA vehicles feature many aluminium alloy parts, predominantly in petrol engines and gearboxes, as well as in chassis. In engines and gearboxes aluminium alloys are used for big castings (engine blocks, cylinder heads, valve lids, oil sumps, timing covers, clutch cases, gearbox cases and many other small parts). From the technological perspective, these are primarily pressure castings (of which the ŠKODA foundry has long-time experience) and ingot mould castings – mainly cylinder heads. Aluminium alloys are hugely adaptable, and it is therefore possible to tailor the material composition to the application concerned, including for high-load parts such as pistons.

Another great benefit is that aluminium alloys can be worked easily.

Ordinary users of ŠKODA vehicles will mainly appreciate the fact that the extensive use of aluminium alloys leads to a substantial weight reduction which results in reduced fuel consumption, better driving properties and therefore higher safety and enhanced driving comfort.

Examine the aluminium using a microscope. You can go right inside using the slider!

If the window with the microscopic view is not visible, please try again with a higher-resolution display.


EXPERT

KAREL FRANC
EPO Engine Development Coordinator

 

“WE HAVE EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE OF USING ALUMINIUM ALLOYS ON THE ENGINE-DESIGN SIDE. MODERN DESIGN, CALCULATION AND SIMULATION METHODS ENABLE US TO DESIGN SHAPES OPTIMISED IN TERMS OF LOAD AS WELL AS COOLING OF THE EXPOSED ENGINE PARTS. MANY OF THE MODERN DESIGN SOLUTIONS EMPLOYED IN THE LATEST GENERATION OF THE EA 211 PETROL ENGINES REQUIRE THE USE OF ALUMINIUM ALLOYS.”

LEATHER

 
Look, power output, driving properties, value, low consumption …. all these are fine but may go “down the drain” at the end of the day if the driver does not feel comfortable in their seat or finds any other surfaces unpleasant to touch. That is why car manufacturers choose refined materials, and there is hardly any upholstery material better than that created by Mother Nature. Leather is a raw material that lives and breathes, is elegant and pleasant to touch. Compared to textile, it is slightly slippery on the surface, so the user can move over easily, and is fairly easy to maintain. Moreover, it does not trap pets´ hairs that then land on the car occupants´ clothes.

While in the past leather in the interior was only to be seen in the most expensive cars, today the market is different – leather is also used in small models and city cars. Moreover, customers can choose from a variety of textures and colours. While painted leather is completely smooth on the surface, smooth leather is finely structured, with microscopic pores on the surface, and can be either matte or glossy.

ŠKODA Colour&Trim specialists develop seat leathers in cooperation with a number of suppliers all of which meet VW´s environmental standards. Leather is offered in top-end trims and, of course, sporty models. Development efforts involve leathers of a purely natural texture for elegant vehicles, as well as leathers with various sporty-look perforations and special perforations for air-conditioned seats.

Materials similar to leather and/or leatherette are used on some other interior parts, too. Vinyl foils and vinyl and polyurethane leatherettes are used on soft components such as dashboards, door panels, armrests, etc. New materials are developed in cooperation with suppliers that meet the VW standards in terms of mechanical and chemical properties, and special emphasis is placed on the use of environmentally friendly materials, which is why all these materials undergo stringent lab tests for emissions. The overall objective is to develop materials that are pleasant to touch and soft and their properties are close to that of natural leather.

Examine the leather using a microscope. You can go right inside using the slider!

If the window with the microscopic view is not visible, please try again with a higher-resolution display.


EXPERT

MARKÉTA KALÍKOVÁ
Colour&Trim Designer

 

 

“IN LINE WITH THE LATEST TRENDS, WE AND OUR SUPPLIERS WORK TOGETHER ON NEW, EMBOSSED LEATHERS. BESIDES EMBOSSING AND PERFORATION, WE USE TECHNOLOGIES DESIGNED TO PRODUCE NEW EFFECTS, SUCH AS CARBON LOOK, 3D PATTERNS ETC. – THESE PRODUCTS ARE MOSTLY PLANNED FOR OUR SPECIAL-EDITION VEHICLES.”

PAINT

 

Neither the engine, nor the dashboard. Neither the gearbox, nor enough rear-seat room. The first thing to arouse the customer´s interest is, in fact, the paint, and car manufacturers therefore make every effort to choose the best colours that they believe are likely to attract customers.

Painting has always been and will always be a serious science – just think of the huge progress made on the way from nitrocellulose paints to modern water-soluble, environmentally friendly products. The chemical composition is not the only aspect, though – considering the fact that each new body spends about 10.5 hours in the (Mladá Boleslav) paint shop, the consumption of energy required throughout the painting process is an important factor, too.

The paint consists of several layers whose mutual adhesion determines the body´s resistance to corrosion. The objective of the first technological operation called “pre-treatment” is to remove impurities from the galvanised body. The next step is to create a crystalline phosphate layer to ensure proper adhesion of the subsequently applied layers. Using electrophoresis, this layer is coated with an epoxide primer that is crosslinked at 180 °C. In a simultaneous process, all of the materials applied in the welding shop are hardened. The next step of the painting process is to apply a special layer to protect the sealing materials and the chassis against penetration of water.

Depending on the application location, the thickness of this PVC plastisol layer ranges between 300 and 1,500 micrometres. After hardening this layer at 160 °C, the body is coated with the first primer – water-soluble, of course. This is followed by another hardening round, this time at 150 °C, and then, finally, the time comes to apply decorative layers. Stage 1 is a water-soluble basecoat to determine the body´s final colour shade - this layer is dried at 80 °C. Stage 2 is a clearcoat that is hardened at 140 °C. A paint quality check follows and then the bodywork cavities are treated with hot wax at 115 °C to create another layer to protect the body against corrosion.

Other “colour-dependent” parts such as wing mirrors, bumpers, decorative strips, spoilers, etc. are usually painted by third-party contractors, and the process is similar (except for plastics-specific stages). Harmonising the body with all the other parts in terms of colour is quite a challenge.

Customers´ colour preferences vary a great deal, depending on the model line. Generally, the higher the class, the more conservative is the colour. The most popular colour on the SUPERB is the Magic Black, followed by Business Grey and Quartz Grey.

Offering three or perhaps five colours for one model line? Forget it, that would not be enough today! A diverse portfolio is a must. Besides standard paints, our range includes metallic, matt and pearl products. The RAPID SPACEBACK, for example, is available in fifteen colour specifications, including some really striking ones, such as the Corrida Red, Rally Green, Race Blue (metallic), etc.

Examine the paint using a microscope. You can go right inside using the slider!

If the window with the microscopic view is not visible, please try again with a higher-resolution display.


EXPERT

MOJMÍR HÁJEK
Head of Paint Shop and Process Planning

 

 

“CHOOSING THE RIGHT PAINTS THAT WILL LOOK GOOD WHILE HAVING THE REQUIRED PROPERTIES TO PROTECT THE SURFACE AND GUARANTEE A LONG SERVICE LIFE IS INDEED ALCHEMY. WHAT PEOPLE SEE IN THE END IS JUST THE SURFACE, BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER LAYERS UNDERNEATH THE TOPCOAT, AND THESE LAYERS ARE ALSO ABSOLUTELY VITAL.”