Continental, a leading automotive supplier, has employed BASF's proven PA 66 - Ultramid® A3WG6 - for the plastic parts of the integrated control units for the highly advanced dual-clutch transmissions used at VW, Audi, Ford and BMW. As per the company, the material is highly heat-stabilized, oil-resistant and, if needed, can be laser-markable, thus ideally suiting the needed application. The transmission control unit is an advanced, compact mechatronic component that is installed directly on the transmission and is thus also surrounded by hot transmission oil. The main requirement made of this plastic part - into which numerous sensors, molded interconnect devices and other metallic structures have to be securely integrated - is that it has to be chemically resistant to transmission oil within the temperature range from 40°C to +145°C [ 40°F to +293°F]. In addition, the plastic parts demand enduring temperature upto +170°C [+338°F].
The dual-clutch transmission consists of two separate clutches, each driving specific gears. The main task of the electronic control unit is to ascertain the next gear needed as a function of the driving circumstances so that it can then engage one clutch and disengage the other. When the gear is being shifted, the next gear is already selected in the not-yet active transmission part before the actual shifting operation. This accounts for smooth gear shifting, without any interruption of the power transmission. Not least due to the intelligent control unit, it is now possible to further improve the efficiency of these transmissions and to cut fuel consumption to a level that is even lower than that of a manual transmission. These properties alone have already made the dual-clutch transmission and its electronic control unit a market success.