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Sustainable Highly
Flexible Material

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ABOUT THE Open innovation CHALLENGE

Air springs are one of the less prominent, but nonetheless crucial parts in many vehicles, such as buses, trucks and trains. Continental is one of the leading manufacturers of this piece of equipment and aims to, as part of their sustainability transition, make a big step into the direction of “Net-Zero”. To achieve this for the air springs product lines, they are looking for a disruptive sustainable rubber-like material to replace the fossil-based material in the air bellow (bag) for air spring suspension systems.

THE BRIEF

In terms of “net-zero” and sustainability the original flexible rubber-textile composite (rubberized fabric) material should be replaced with any sustainable “rubber-like” material.

The material can be homogenous or also include sustainable reinforcements to withstand the below defined requirements. The material should be bondable to other materials like plastics and/or metals. 

 

Detailed information will be shared with you after your application.

Potential Benefits

  • You can test your material under real-life conditions and explore the technology’s potential in different business areas.

  • You may start a PoC and/or product development project with Continental beginning right after the challenge (before EOY funds for PoC will be provided by Continental). 

  • You will be able to develop your technology to a mature state with an actual use case.

  • You will have a chance to develop strong cooperative ties. 

  • You can grow your international network.

  • You can build your reputation and branding.

product requirements

The material must be 100% sustainable, throughout the entire value chain. Besides, it must: 

  • Be highly flexible, near impermeable (air) and keep geometry over its life-span.

  • Be maintenance-free,

  • Stand forces up to 50 kN,

  • Have a temperature resistance of -30°C to 65°C​,

  • Be able to tolerate pressure up to 24 bar,

  • Have a minimum life-span >5 years,

  • Be water, NaCl salt, cleaning chemicals-resistant (outside), abrasion resistance (outside),

  • Be applicable in the rubber industry,

  • Have the potential to be industrialized and be scalable,

  • Not be ESH (Environmental Safety & Health) critical materials.

participation requirements

  • Any geography.

  • TRL 5+

  • Ideally, mid-mature companies/institutes with the capability to run PoCs and collaborate with large corporations.

  • Chemical/Materials Science background is highly favourable. 

  • Sustainability improvement is mandatory,e.g. providing a fully recyclable flexible material. 

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About Continental 

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2023, Continental generated sales of €41.4 billion and currently employs around 200,000 people in 56 countries and markets.

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timeline

APPLICATION

DEADLINE

15 July 2024

SELECTION

August 2024

PITCH DAY

September 2024

RESULTS

September 2024

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