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March 29, 2017

Resins mix produces lightweight auto parts

Supplier SABIC has shown off light weight PP and plastic-metal hybrid products produced using its resins at this year’s VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering Congress in Mannheim, Germany.

Supplier SABIC has shown off light weight PP and plastic-metal hybrid products produced using its resins at this year's VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering Congress in Mannheim, Germany.

Applications include instrument panel carriers and structural reinforcements for the body in white (BIW). Combined, these solutions can potentially reduce the overall weight of a vehicle by 13kg to 15kg.

A PMH floor rocker reinforcement, for instance, can help reduce weight by up to 45% compared with a steel alternative. In this component, resin combined with steel forms an efficient, energy absorption crash box structure which saves 1kg of weight and maintains the required level of crashworthiness.

The component is a claimed industry first use of plastic in a BIW reinforcement without the use of structural adhesives or foams and allows the part to go through the automaker's e-coat process with the rest of the BIW.

An injection-moulded, foamed instrument panel carrier uses resins in a structural foaming process. 

In this approach, the manufacturer injects the material into the mould with a foaming agent. Immediately afterwards, the mould is opened a few millimetres, controlling the final density of the part. During the process, the foaming agent produces CO2 bubbles that create a foamed core. The final produced part is both light and stiff.

A lightweight, thin-wall front bumper is used on an unnamed, recently launched 2017 model. This uses PP compound to optimise the thickness to 2.5mm which can save more than 10% in weight.

A glazing part, a rear quarter window in production is claimed to be the largest using Lexan resin. A two-shot injection compression moulding process combining resins results in a final part that is up to 40% lighter compared with conventional glass. This window is the first from a new factory in China devoted to the manufacture of mass-produced glazing parts.

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