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Feather icon - lightweighting


Enlightened Solutions from 3M


Creativity Without the Weight

  • Materials such as adhesives, 3M™ Glass Bubbles and fasteners carry a distinct advantage: they can help you use lighter substrates than those commonly used in automotive OEM design. With our long automotive history and our technologies in adhesives and advanced materials, 3M can supply solutions that help you transform your designs: tapes for bonding dissimilar surfaces and mixed material joints, reclosable fasteners that help create sleeker lines, structural adhesives that can reinforce or replace metal fasteners, and much more. 3M™ Glass Bubbles add performance without the weight, and 3M™ Friction Shims allow for increased power density and torque loads without the need for more or larger joint designs. This is just the start. Let’s explore what we can create together.

  • Green lightweighting image

    You need to make automobiles lighter. We can help.

    Whether you’re a manufacturer or auto industry supplier, there is pressure to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy – all while keeping performance at its peak and your manufacturing costs in check, including:

    • The stringent emissions rules being implemented in the US, China and EU designed to combat global warming
    • The need to reduce mass in hybrid and electric vehicles to achieve maximum efficiency and range
    • The challenge of reducing weight in automobiles while retaining or improving performance and affordability

    Design and build lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles with the help of 3M automotive lightweighting solutions.

3M Automotive Lightweighting Technologies

Discover 3M technologies for lightweight vehicle construction and learn how 3M supports you in developing efficient, low-emission products.

  • 3M™ Glass Bubbles can be used in the design of a variety of interior and exterior automotive applications. From body panels and engine covers to liquid plastisol for seam sealing applications, 3M Glass Bubbles can enable your lightweighting needs. Using this filler helps reduce the overall weight of the part while also optimizing manufacturing efficiencies.

  • The auto industry is using a variety of materials to reduce weight in vehicle designs. 3M has bonding and joining solutions for the modern materials being used today - from plastics to aluminum to composites – we have an answer.

  • Downsizing doesn't have to mean a downgrade in performance. 3M™ Friction Shims enhance friction to transmit higher loads while enabling more compact and lightweight designs.

  • Lightweight designs dominate automotive development today, but acoustic absorbers can contribute to both weight savings and increased customer satisfaction by giving passengers a quieter ride.

Automotive Lightweighting Materials: Making Vehicles Lighter

  • Cars need to be greener. As government regulations and consumer demand push automotive manufacturers toward more sustainable solutions, OEMs and Tiers are relying on lightweight components to reduce weight and meet performance standards. Manufacturers are currently benefitting from important innovations in materials to help reduce weight in vehicle designs, but dissimilar materials can be tricky to put together. 3M has solutions to help you execute your vehicle designs of the future with a portfolio of tapes, adhesives and reclosable fasteners that address the challenges of using modern materials.

    Because every ounce counts!

    Studies show that using lightweight materials can cut a vehicle’s body and chassis weight in half – helping to dramatically increase fuel economy and improve range in hybrids, plug-ins and all electric vehicles.¹

    Source: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

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Door Seals
Door Sealent Image

Self adhesive body and door seals improve NVH and diminish water and dust intrusion while reducing weight.

Adhesives and Tapes
Adhesives and Tapes image

Double-sided adhesive tapes, films and liquid adhesives are playing an increasingly important role in vehicle design – helping vehicle manufactures bond dissimilar and modern materials.

Underbody Protection
Underbody Protection image

Also in the underbody coating the hollow glass spheres can be used as filler material to reduce weight.

Friction Shims
Friction Shims image

Diamond-studded washers increase the transmissible torque and thus allow the construction of smaller and lighter engines.

Acoustic Absorbers

Non-woven acoustic absorbers from 3M are up to 50% lighter than conventional materials made up of cotton and felt. These mold, mildew and moisture resistant pieces are used in doors, headliners, wheel arches, package trays, pillars and instrument panels.

Damping Film
Damping Film image

This thin, light, self- adhesive film reduces vibration and noise in engine compartments, door panels and headliners – giving passengers a more comfortable ride.

Glass Bubbles
Glass Bubbles icon

Microscopic hollow glass beads of chemically resistant borosilicate glass are incorporated into plastic parts. They have a lower density and are up to 80% lighter than mineral fillers.

Solar Protection Films
Solar Protection Films image

The self-adhesive film is used for noise damping, inter alia, in the engine compartment, in the inner panel or in the headliner. It reduces vibration and noise, is extremely light and thin.

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    Almost a quarter lost in weight

    Weight saving in the fascia

    Together with two partner companies, 3M has developed a lightweight construction material that reduces the weight of the rear apron of a vehicle. Here, the microscopic glass bubbles from 3M are used.

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    Tapes and Adhesives enabling lightweight design

    Alternatives to spot welding

    For more than 45 years, automotive manufacturers and suppliers have used 3M™ Acrylic Foam Tapes to attach vehicle components such as moldings, trim and door seals. In recent years, the tendency to join parts with adhesives has increased significantly.

Need Help Finding the Right Solution?

3M is constantly working to meet the evolving challenges of automotive OEM and Tier suppliers worldwide. If you need help finding an existing solution or would like to talk about specific ideas you’re working on, get in touch with us.