At the recent 43rd-Annual SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, Audi took the Powertrain category award for its turbocharged air duct applied on the A4 and A5 TDI and TFSI.
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The component, supplied by Röchling Automotive, combines the air-intake duct with charge air cooler and integrates both into the intake manifold, reducing air-intake loop volume by up to 50% (for better engine response) while also lowering package space 40% and part count, weight, and costs by 20%.
The resulting system reduces pressure losses so that turbine work is reduced while keeping the same boost pressure at air-intake valves and helping reduce pumping work in the turbocharger 10% at high engine loads.
Novel production technology (suction blow molding) and a new high-performance soft TPV (thermoplastic vulcanizate), which can withstand 2.7 bars of overpressure at 125 °C were used. There was no need for bellows, since the material was able to decouple engine movements from the intercooler by itself, and no internal protection layer was needed to protect the material from exposure to acidic blow-by fluids.
Unlike conventional rubber, the part is fully recyclable at end of life. This led to a 50% direct and 50% indirect cost savings. Thanks to acoustic improvements, interior cabin noise also is reduced for occupants.