Development of Plastic Pulley for Automotive Air Conditioner Compressor 2002-01-0603
The automotive industry has increasingly been focusing its efforts on vehicle part weight reduction, with the aim of improving fuel efficiency as an environmental protection measure. As part of these efforts, the industry has actively been developing plastic pulleys to replace conventional steel pulleys. Of the various pulleys used in vehicles, the air conditioner (A/C) compressor pulley is exposed to the harshest working environment. We therefore investigated towards development of a plastic pulley for A/C compressor application. Required material properties were first identified on the basis of required product characteristic values. As a result, a phenolic resin material was developed that is superior in heat resistance one of the most important properties among those identified. Using the material, we succeeded in developing an A/C compressor plastic pulley, achieving approximately 50% weight reduction compared to conventional steel pulleys. The A/C compressor plastic pulley made of the newly developed material has been in use since early 2001.