Injection Moulding Asia Automotive Industry
Speed to market mould cores, a chemical blowing agent and lightweight reinforcing fillers. To start in September, the project will also involve the participation of several other French companies: compound producer Sumika Polymer Compounds (a Sumitomo Chemical Group company; mould-maker Cero; polymer science research laboratory IMP at the University of Saint-Etienne; and Cemef, a research laboratory associated with CNRS, with expertise in process simulation. The firm is aiming for a total vehicle weight reduction of between 5 and 7 kg, resulting in carbon dioxide emissions falling by around 0.5-0.7g/km. The process is similar to one already used in Japan for production of parts used by such automotive companies as Honda and Toyota. However, that process has some limitations, especially in terms of surface finish, since the parts are made with talc-filled PP. The Plume process will use newly-developed compounds that contain little or no talc but contain new reinforcing fillers that help reduce part weight by as much as 7%. Based on PP impact copolymer, the new compounds boast good flow properties with melt flow index of over 50 g/10 minute. The material is injected into a mould with moving walls that are initially in the forward position. Once all the material has been injected and the skins of the part have solidified, the walls retract. This lowers the pressure in the mould cavity, and chemical blowing agent, until now dissolved in the melt, comes out of solution in the areas of the part that are still fluid to create a cellular structure that fills the newly created space. The foaming process on its own (disregarding compound formulation) enables a weight reduction in the part of at least 30%, compared to a conventional solid moulding. Cemef will look at melt rheology and its effects on the process and it will also carry out analysis of the microstructures created by the chemical foaming. IMPUJM will study the mechanical behaviour of parts. Mecaplast plans to trial the process on a tailgate interior trim and exterior beltline mouldings, which will be produced in a grained surface that will require no painting and another that will be paintable.
Plastics used in vehicles are expected to see tremendous growth in the next five years, according to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, driven by electric vehicle (EV) production, which is set to grow at a CAGR of over 80% through 2017 in Europe and the US. Meanwhile, resins continue to penetrate the automotive market, driven by lightweight issues. EV production to drive penetration rate he need to increase EV mileage ranges, paralleled by the lightweight advantage of plastics will drive penetration rates. EVs are typically characterised by huge batteries that add to the overall weight of the vehicle and affect the mileage. To compensate for the battery weight, metals are increasingly being substituted by plastics. In 2010, plastics in the EV markets in Europe and the US earned revenues of US$500,000. This is expected to reach US$73 million in 2017. The research firm estimates that just over 200 tonnes of plastics were used in the said applications in 2010 and this will grow to more than 23,600 tonnes in 2017. Although metals will remain the preferred material for crash-prone applications, plastics have huge potential in some of the minor, non-moving components such as energy recovery devices, cooling pipes, pumps, fans and casing materials. In line with this, German company Hella Group and Chinese automotive maker Beijing Automotive Industry (BAIC) are tying up to focus on lighting and electronics solutions for commercial vehicles. The partnership will optimise Hellaâ€™s production and development capacities, with the joint venture to produce lighting systems specially tailored to the Chinese market. In other news, BMW and Toyota Motor will develop a sports car together and cooperate in fuel cell technology, powertrain electrification and lightweight technologies. Toyota is strong in powertrains for electric and hybrid cars while BMW can help Toyota reduce the weight of its cars, making them more fuel efficient. BMW has taken a leading role in carbon fibre, a lightweight yet expensive material that is mainly used in high-end sports cars.
Structure of a foamed part
Process to lightweight parts onaco-headquartered automotive component supplier Mecaplast believes it can cut the weight of interior and exterior trim parts by between 30 and 50% by using a newly patented injection moulding processing technology in combination with PP compounds. The firm is about to embark on a French government-sponsored project called Plume (French for Feather) to industrialise the process, which relies on a combination of moving
3 AUGUST 2012
w w w. p l a s t i c s a n d r u b b e r a s i a . c o m
Automotive Industry Materials pave the way for lightweight vehicles anufacturers of charger cables for EVs can now enjoy more costeffective alternatives to both insulation and jacketing with the use of Flexalloy PVC compounds from Teknor Apex. These are Flexalloy 89504-90, a 90 Shore A formulation used for insulation; and Flexalloy 9610-78 with Shore A hardness of 78 used for jacketing. The materials feature brittle points of -46 and 38°C, respectively, and are both rated for a maximum continuous operating temperature of 105°C. Another US firm DuPont has used a 35% glassfibre-reinforced Zytel nylon resin to produce an oil sump, thereby helping vehicle maker Scania meet new challenges with regard to noise and emissions as well as reducing the weight of the component by over 50% or 6 kg, versus its aluminium predecessor. The oil sump – the lower shell of the oil pan module – is produced in Sweden by the Plastal Group, a supplier of engineered Teknor Apex’s new compounds, plastics to the automotive industry, with the unlike standard flexible material, design and processing support of vinyl, are based on ultra high DuPont representatives in the country and molecular weight PVC resin, exhibiting improved toughness, across Europe and the input of prototype abrasion resistance and low specialists Idé-Pro of Skive, Denmark. Resin company Teijin Chemicals and Toyota temperature properties for EV charger cable use Gosei have developed Panlite AM-9937, said to enable product designs that were previously unachievable due to the limitations of conventional metal. The company plans to market the material for external automotive body parts and expects to achieve annual sales of EUR102.17 million by fiscal 2020. The material is a polymer alloy made of PC and polyester resin that reduces the weight of components by about 20% compared with metal. Recently, it has been adopted for the booth on the Lexus HS250h hybrid sedan. Elsewhere, the new BMW 3 series will get a makeover from interiors manufacturer Johnson Controls in its door panels, seat structures and instrument clusters that are made of a combination of natural fibres and PP that is 20% lighter than conventional components. Depending on the model, the driver’s seat structure is said to save up to 4 kg. The non-visible door panel elements for the BMW 3 Series sedan and sports wagon models are largely made of wood fibre directly moulded with PP, which makes the door panel lighter. A process called groove lamination is used to apply fabric or leather trim to the door panel, with the trim being joined in recesses, eliminating the need for an additional component and further reducing weight.
The oil sump module moulded from DuPont material and used by Swedish commercial vehicle maker Scania on its new Euro 6 engines is said to be the first for the truck market and only the second development for commercial production vehicles worldwide following the launch of the awardwinning Daimler oil pan module in 2008
IMA August 2012 Automotove