02/19/2010, Düsseldorf / Germany
Loctite in Porsche Motorsport
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|Business Unit and Brand PR / Adhesive Technologies| Headquarters, Düsseldorf / Germany|
|Business Unit and Brand PR / Adhesive Technologies | Headquarters, Düsseldorf / Germany|
On a race circuit in Bahrain, a parade of tiny dots whizzes by in the blistering heat. The icons on parade are the cars that make up the field of the Porsche 911 GT3 Mobil 1 Supercup. The Porsche 911 is a legendary vehicle and a physical symbol of brand awareness rivalled only by a select few. It is one of the few products that have become a globally recognizable symbol, like Coca-Cola. However, what is not as well known as the elegant, curved shape of the 911 GT3 that just raced by under the burning desert sun is this "minor" detail: the construction of the car relies on modern adhesive technology. In order to draw attention to this fact, Henkel, with its strong Loctite brand, has engaged 2010 in a partnership to support the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
The Supercup competition is the overture to Formula 1, the most popular motorsport event in the world. Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races are held on every Sunday before a Formula 1 race. After the opening event in the Kingdom of Bahrain in march, ten more races in different European countries are scheduled throughout the course of the year. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, which only weigh 1130 kg, boast engines with 420 bhp and a top speed of 290 kilometres per hour. This lightweight construction is made possible using of alternative materials like aluminium and composites, which is where adhesives come into play. Since aluminium and composites don’t lend themselves to thermal welding, alternative solutions needed to be found.
Porsche and Loctite engineers worked together to find exactly those solutions, in the race car as well as in the series model 911 GT3. Loctite products are used in the construction of the engine, the gearbox and differential. Porsche relies on the proven Loctite durability when it comes to threadlocking and flange sealing, ensuring reliability of these vehicles even under extreme conditions like the heat of Bahrain. Loctite 243 is used to secure bolts on the gearbox clamping plate, the fixing bolts of the oil spray tube inside the gearbox and fixing bolts of the se-quential gear shift system. While Loctite 574, a fast curing gasketing product, seals the two-part gearbox housing.
The fixing bolts of the differential housing, the stud bolts of the gearbox housing as well as the fixing bolts of the oil pump housing and the bolts of the mounting frame of a pinion wheel shaft are secured with Loctite270. Loctite products are also used for component manufacturing: Loctite 270 for the tappet pins onto the wheel hub, and Loctite 243 for the heat protection shield mounted to the brake caliper protecting electronic sensors from the brake heat. Loctite is heavily used in the manufacturing of the vehicles, but it plays a part in their maintenance, too. At the beginning of the season in March, all 14 cars taking part in the Supercup were provided with a full set of Loctite threadlocking, gasketing and cleaning products. The cooperation between the two companies goes a lot further than that, however. Engineers of the two firms are in constant contact and Porsche’s demands often spur innovation in the Loctite labs in Dublin and Munich.
Bernd Homberg is the Loctite Sales Engineer responsible for the cooperation with Porsche Motorsports. “It can go both ways: either we have a new product and approach the Porsche engineers, they test it and check whether it’s helpful for them. Or, Porsche hits on a problem that can be solved with adhesive technology and they turn to us for assistance”. He explains the way the partners work together. “At the moment, Porsche is testing Loctite 5188 as a gasket for the differential housing. When they were looking for a way to attach a stopper to the tank we were able to solve the problem with high temperature resistant two-component epoxy adhesive Loctite Hysol 9492,” he continues.
One of the interesting features of what the American author Bruce Sterling calls the “silent revolution in adhesive chemistry” is the fact that adhesive technology doesn’t always receive a great deal of attention in academia. Groundbreaking research and innovative ideas are often a result of business needs and take place in companies rather than natural science faculties. Henkel is trying to remedy this situation, however, and is making its long years of experience and extensive know-how available to universities in a number of cooperation projects. As a professional partner to young engineers and a product supplier to their racing teams, Loctite has been part of “Formula Student” for several years.
This commitment to the high-end of innovation and quality represents only two of the values that Henkel and Porsche share. The fact that both firms are family businesses that maintain long-term relationships with their employees is one of the similarities in company culture that facilitates communication. Both companies are used to being consultants as well as manufacturers. Loctite provides its customers with high-tech solutions and individual support. Porsche actually started as an engineering consulting company and has retained that feature until today.
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA