JoinPlas, a Continental joint venture with the system supplier aft
automotive, has won 18th Materialica Design + Technology Award for its synthetic
modular coupling system for thermal management in vehicles.
The award-winning coupling system saves material, reduces weight and
optimizes media flow in vehicles both with electric drives and with internal
The new coupling system has been awarded in the process category. Arndt
Nikolaus of the Continental partner JoinPlas said, “We are absolutely delighted
with this award. It is an affirmation for the entire team that worked
tirelessly on this development. Pooling and sharing our know-how in order to
drive the future of automotive lines is a further major milestone in our
The complex line systems for thermal management both in electric
vehicles (EVs) and in vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs) place
high demands on the individual components. To connect these to each other, the
automotive industry requires a large number of custom couplings. Previously,
each coupling variant needed a dedicated injection mould which meant high
design, toolmaking and process validation costs. The modular coupling system,
on the other hand, needs just two tools per diameter. The connection angle can
be varied, and all the production steps can be fully automatically monitored
using a camera.
Furthermore, the optimised basic design of the coupling system enables
material savings of up to 15 per cent and a correspondingly lower weight. To
that improved performance can be added as the pressure losses are minimised
while line diameters are also smaller. The right mixture of rubber, polyamide
and aluminium materials and an ingenious line geometry ensure the system has
adequate inherent stability.
The smart use of existing components and the modular construction of the
JoinPlas coupling system impressed the Materialica Award 2020 judges, as did
the simplified production and the future-focused use in thermal management of
“This CO2-efficient solution shows the way for future
mobility,” declared the judges in their citation. This is because the coupling
system does not just cut CO2 emissions in operation, where the
weight saving results directly in low fuel consumption in ICEs in particular.
Even back at the manufacturing stage, the material saving means a lower demand
for resources and therefore further CO2 savings.
JoinPlas, which was set up this year, will begin production of these
high-performance synthetic couplings for future mobility at the beginning of
2021. The joint venture partners Continental and aft automotive have been
jointly developing synthetic connectors for cooling circuits, turbochargers and
charge-air coolers since the end of 2016 and are now further extending this
expertise to hybrid and electric vehicles.
The Materialica Award ceremony was held at the eMove360° Hybrid
international trade show for electromobility and autonomous driving in Munich.
Every year, it honors new products and concepts that feature a perfect
interaction of smart material selection, outstanding engineering performance, a
high level of innovativeness and impressive design.
aft automotive produces and develops innovative products for
media management in vehicles for the global automotive industry.