VAVE Optimisation in the Automotive Industry

By Sebastian Bloechl

Constantly increasing costs are forcing product development towards innovative alternatives. This is where value engineering (VAVE) comes in.

What is VAVE, and how can it be used?

VAVE is an effective method of improving technology, optimizing processes and reducing costs. In the automotive industry, with its focus on efficiency and quantity, VAVE project implementation is the order of the day.

VAVE has a long history and is associated with powerful insights. In the 1940s, engineers discovered that replacing conventional materials and components delivered significant benefits for the final product.

What started as a necessity caused by scarcity of goods became a systematic process and a highly innovative tool. The approach has been steadily refined over the years. Value analysis became value engineering, which in turn became comprehensive value management. Today, VAVE is a fixed component of cost reduction measures for products.
But it is not always easy to replace product components or to find the right replacement product with a VAVE background. igus offers various options to obtain free samples of VAVE-optimized plain bearings. More information about this process can be found in the last section of this article.

Commonly used abbreviations, spellings and terms for VAVE

  • VAVE
  • VA/VE
  • Value analysis/value engineering
  • Value engineering
  • Value-added value engineering
  • Value analysis and VAVE engineering 
  • Value management

VAVE background at igus

“Give me your most difficult part and I will find a solution”, was the challenge igus founder, Günter Blase, issued to Pierburg, an automotive supplier, in 1965.
At the time, no one had come up with the idea of using plastic to make a small metal component, much less doing so with an injection moulding machine. This was due in part because the manufacturing process was complicated. For Günter Blase, however, this barrier was no reason to lose heart. He went into his double garage and experimented until the first perfect plastic plug valve emerged from his injection moulding machine. The result was a plastic part that gave Pierburg a longer service life at less cost than the commonly used metal plug valve.
We still follow this approach and have summarized it in our motion plastics® slogan: Tech up, Cost down. It’s our job!®

VAVE in igus products

Cost down 

  • Costs 40% less than conventional bearing solutions
    • Large selection of materials for the ideal VAVE solution, including plain bearings
    • Greater savings with replacements for components such as stainless steel composite bearings, ceramic bearings and graphite-carbon bearings
    • Cost-efficient manufacturing methods including micro injection moulding: low cycle time, less material for cutting and cold distribution, smaller machines, less power consumption and improved sustainability
  • Component reduction: replace solutions with a one-piece plastic part
  • Self-lubricating: no external lubrication necessary
  • Save installation time and process steps with improvements such as innovative designs of our clip bearings

Tech up 

  • Weighs up to 80% less
  • Noise reducing
  • Low wear and coefficient of friction
  • Self-lubricating: no external lubrication necessary
  • Reduces emissions
  • No corrosion
  • Longer service life of the application
  • Vibration-dampening
  • High chemical resistance
  • Design freedom
  • Easy assembly
  • Improved CO2 footprint

Value engineering for applications in vehicles

igus products can be found wherever there is motion. Our products reduce friction, wear and noise in automotive applications. From pedal mount to windscreen wipers to car seat adjustment mechanisms, from plain bearings and gears in actuators and small motors to high temperature ranges in gearboxes, the list of products is continuously being expanded.

Our engineers are researching materials and developing new, innovative products and designs. Our dry-tech product range currently encompasses products such as tribologically optimized plain bearings, gears, lead screw nuts and lead screws, spherical bearings, ball bearings and much more.

igus moving applications in vehicles
Areas of use for moving applications in vehicles – implemented with VAVE-oriented plain bearings

Initial test samples for your application – including those based on VAVE

It is not always easy to replace a product’s components. That is why we are offering the following options for receiving samples quickly and cost-effectively.

  • Extensive catalogue with more than 6,500 dimensions and no additional tooling costs
  • Bar stock in the form of round bar or plate material for individual samples
  • 3D printing: low-wear plastic components for the automotive industry
  • Injection moulding and special designs: customized products with tools manufactured in our own shop with low costs. Wide material selection that improves the technology for your application
  • Fastline: customized injection-moulded plain bearings and thrust washers made with short lead times and fully automated processes

Consultation with personal support, digital or on-site in >35 countries

igus representative

Virtual or on-site visits: We offer on site and in person or virtual and live visits right at our trade show stand in Cologne and at local subsidiaries. We operate at 35 subsidiaries around the world and have partners in 55 countries.

This year, we will be exhibiting 168 new products that can help you implement your VAVE product at our igus Motion Plastics Show (IMPS).  

Your value engineering partner? igus Automotive!
PS: plain bearings, spherical bearings, linear bearings, ball bearings, special sliders, gears or customized designs – the iglide® Designer configures them all. Find your part and receive a quote today.

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