Material Solutions for Automotive ECU Applications

Solutions for the changing world of Electronic Control Units.

April 24, 2019 Author: Jim Sax

  • While not everyone has noticed the scope of the changes, electronics and computing have slowly inched their way into the total driving experience. These advances have resulted in better efficiency, increased safety and improved quality of life.

    It’s been over 50 years since the first rudimentary vehicle computer was introduced. From monitoring steering and brakes to improving general maintenance, ECUs evolved to make everyday travel easier and road trips more enjoyable. Through the decades, ECUs became more comprehensive and served more functions. In higher-end vehicles today, subsystems can number over one- hundred.

    As the market transitions, it demands change. The architecture and design of ECUs is being profoundly affected. With some companies moving toward more connected, autonomous and fully electric vehicles, ECUs will need to be capable of higher processing speeds and handling increasingly complex information.

    As new barriers arise in the face of vehicle computing, optimum unit operation is critical. The best solutions will reflect the evolving design.

Battling heat, EMI and environmental forces.

  • With so many electronic devices working in such a small space, the challenges multiply. These include thermal management, radiated and conducted emissions and harsh environmental conditions. The thermal component is pronounced: more processing power generates a notable level of heat and subsequent cooling challenges. 3M delivers solutions like thermally conductive adhesives and tapes, as well as boron nitrate cooling fillers that help manage temperature and ensure performance.

    Protection against EMI interference is another area where breakthrough thinking is needed. We bring solutions for effective shielding and absorption of EMI across a wide range of frequencies to maintain electronics performance.

    ECUs have to be robust enough to work for long periods of time under hostile conditions. They need to withstand the endless vibrations of highway speed. 3M offers innovative dampening, NVH solutions and mechanical reinforcement for electronic components. We also offer protective coatings, sealants and encapsulation materials for ECUs facing the constant onslaught of debris, weather, oil and other fluids.

ECU design changes: Substantial, impactful and ongoing.

  • As ECU design enters a new era, 3M is here with solutions. We have invested in research to develop technologies that will help enable the design of more efficient, higher-computing-power electronics. Our labs also collaborate with engineers at our customers globally to help develop unique solutions for the problems of today. We’ve found that when we elevate teamwork, every challenge becomes more exciting and every problem more solvable.

    We’re committed to making smart products that enhance new design ideas. We’re here to help create automotive ecosystems to complement your innovations, improve performance and ultimately, reduce costs.

Innovation from collaboration.

  • As the automotive industry decides the next steps in ECU design, 3M brings the experience to work alongside you. Together we’ll help find solutions to some of your most complex design challenges.

OEMs and tier suppliers have stated that having a 3M engineer working with their team helps accelerate the speed of development. The unique benefit of working with 3M is that we are able to pull from our wide range of technologies to help solve your problem. With each project, together we move the state-of-the-art forward to bring new solutions into the market If you’re interested in further discussion about how 3M can collaborate with your team or want to learn more about our automotive solutions please follow the link.