zf’s new lightweight damper from the chassis technology division shows how various lightweight measures work together in one component. The damper has an aluminum outer tube and optimal design: variable wall thickness ensures strength where high loads occur. Other sections of the outer tube are designed to be as thin as possible – saving material and thus weight. To accommodate this design in mass production, complex production processes have to be mastered. In all, 17 well-coordinated steps are required for the different wall thicknesses.
equally challenging is the production of the corresponding damper piston rods: here, hollow tubes of hardened steel makes them, depending on length, 20 to 30 percent lighter than conventional piston rods made of solid steel. A special advantage of this hollow construction is that the cables for controlled dampers can be routed directly through the piston rods.