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The test labs and product development facilities will benefit from enhanced plastic component testing technologies for future automotive systems.

Clare Goldsberry

January 19, 2017

3 Min Read
Norma Group embarks on million-dollar expansion of North American labs

Norma Group, a global leader in engineering joining technology, plans an investment of nearly $1,000,000 to expand its North American test labs and product development facilities to meet a future need for lighter exhaust, powertrain and electric-vehicle components, said the company.

New plastic components are lighter and easier to assemble than products that rely on metal or rubber, according to the Norma Group.

CEO Werner Deggim said Norma Group is expanding its product development facilities in Auburn Hills and St. Clair, MI, as well as test labs in Monterrey, Mexico. He added that similar investments are being made at Norma Group locations in Qingdao and Changzhou, China; Hustopece, Czech Republic; Maintal, Germany; Pilica, Poland; and Subotica, Serbia.

Norma Americas is headquartered in Auburn Hills, MI.

New plastic tubing and components for next-generation system designs are lighter and easier to assemble than current products that rely on metal or rubber, according to Jonathan Heywood, Director of Product Engineering for Norma Group’s Engineered Joining Technology business unit in Maintal, Germany.

“Tubes and connectors in a wide variety and combination of plastics provide an optimal solution for many customer needs for durable, recyclable, lightweight parts,” Heywood explained. “For example, plastic components with low fluid permeability and the ability to withstand wide temperature variations are ideal for hydrogen lines and battery-cooling applications.” He added that tubing designed with multiple layers of different plastics offers customers an even broader range of characteristics and flexibility in both performance and price.

Norma Group’s new product development facilities will evaluate the performance of fluid systems, such as cooling-system water pipes and urea systems, subjecting them to a broad range of temperatures from –40 to 300° C, pressures up to 20 bar and different vibration frequencies. Simulation testing will take into account variations in temperature and pressure and will include chemical resistance to different media, such as glycol-water mixtures, oil, diesel, gasoline and urea.

Deggim noted that plastic materials which can be reused or recycled are becoming more and more important and offer an opportunity to replace conventional materials such as rubber and metal, which often are heavier and more expensive.

“By investing in our global network of laboratories, we will be able to meet an even wider range of customer test requirements,” said Deggim. “Our goal is to take a leading position in the development of high-temperature-resistant plastics, as well. In labs around the world, we are developing and testing individual product solutions together with our customers on site.”

Norma Group has been expanding its test labs worldwide since 2015 to ensure the same high standards in quality assurance on a global basis. The reliable function of connection products is crucial, explained the company, since they are considered to be function critical. If even one element leaks, the function of the entire vehicle can be affected. For this reason, Norma Group is committed to comprehensive in-house performance tests for all products, whether plastic or metal. The company annually invests about five percent of its sales in engineered joining technology R&D, which totaled €25.5 million in 2015.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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