New cars and vans in Europe have become progressively heavier — from an average 1,268 kg in 2000, rising to 1,360 kg in 2010, and to some 1,420 kg by 2020. With the development of more hybrid and electric vehicles, this trend will increase. The weight of the battery alone means that an electric vehicle weighs on average 300 kg more than a vehicle with a conventional engine.

By optimizing fuel consumption and discovering new and innovative drive concepts, it has been possible to achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from around 175 g CO2/km in 2000, to 140 g CO2/km in 2010 and 95 g CO2/km by 2020. This trend needs to continue to achieve climate protection targets in future.

In this context, the issue of sustainability is a major priority for the German fastener manufacturer Arnold Group. This is why Arnold has set up the ACO2-Save initiative in which customers and users are activelySource: Arnold GroupSource: Arnold Group supported to reduce CO2 emissions by designing and using fasteners and cold formed parts sustainably. A carbon calculation takes place as early as the development process.

Using its own CO2 calculator developed in house, Arnold determines the product carbon footprint for the part the customer is enquiring about, and then can work with the customer to improve it. The greatest savings are made by using innovative fastening and cold-forming technologies. For example, working with its customers, the company analyzes options for changing the parts production technology — including whether parts that until now had been machined might be more efficiently produced as coldformed parts. It is also possible to check whether any existing threaded screws could be replaced by thread-forming screws, completely doing away with the need for thread-cutting tools and the emissions they cause. The aim here is that at the end of the development process, the product is technically of high quality and optimized with regard to costs and its CO2 footprint.

In one example, a special screw made of aluminum and implemented in a customer’s component was subjected to a review with regard to technology, cost and CO2 emission. A Conform Next screw was developed as an alternative. Due to its engineered design, it proved suitable for use in components with bigger diameters, longer components, more complex geometries and heavier weights.

Arnold’s developers carried out an ACO2-Save analysis and changed the part to a formed part on the Conform range. Following the improvement the volume and weight of the screw were reduced, resulting in lower material costs and cutting emissions by 45%.

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