KIYOSU, Japan—Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd. has established material technology for rubber that readily regains its shape after force has been applied for long times at high temperatures.
The technology was honored at the 71st Rubber Technology Advancement Awards sponsored by the Society of Rubber Science and Technology in Japan.
“Our aim was to develop new high performance rubber materials for sealing parts that will be used in battery units and other components of next-generation vehicles,” a Toyoda Gosei spokeswoman said. “There is a demand for long-term durability, and this new technology will help with that.”
One tradeoff for rubber with strong elasticity is that it becomes stiff, causing difficulty in assembly of such rubber when used for sealing parts. Toyoda Gosei said it has optimized the rubber mix design with a new selection of chemicals that contribute to heat resistance. Its new rubber material formulation technology makes rubber twice as likely to regain its shape while also allowing it to stretch four times the original shape.
Toyoda Gosei said the technology promises to contribute to sealing parts that are thinner, lighter and have longer lives for use in battery units and other parts of next-generation vehicles. The spokeswoman said the firm currently does not produce these parts and plans to bring the technology to market by 2020, after the firm can determine whether or not mass production is feasible.
She added that next-generation demands for sealing include parts that are higher performing, longer lasting and thin—and using materials that also meet those requirements. These sealing products need to be able to meet that demand to perform better than before.
“We see that our customers' needs for these vehicles and product inside these vehicles are increasing,” the spokeswoman said. “We're working to meet that same demand that they're seeing and that they're asking us for.”
Based in Kiyosu, Toyoda Gosei produces rubber and plastic automotive parts and LEDs with about 100 manufacturing plants and offices in 18 countries.