With the automotive industry’s continued focus on reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency, materials-maker SABIC presented a range of solutions at this year’s VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering Congress in Mannheim, Germany.
Solutions for Overall Vehicle Weight Reduction
The solutions cross a range of application segments – from a vehicle’s exterior and glazing to components like 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 13 to 15 kilograms.
Scott Fallon, global leader of SABIC’s automotive business, said;
“Our featured solutions at this year’s VDI Congress bring forward some novel approaches or highlight progress in other technologies. I especially like that we’re showcasing answers for the industry that can ease multiple pain points. They not only help OEMs shed weight. They add value in other ways, too.”
Plastic-metal hybrid (PMH) Reinforcements for Vehicle’s BIW
A good example of this is plastic-metal hybrid (PMH) structural reinforcements for the vehicle’s BIW.
- A PMH floor rocker reinforcement, for instance, can help reduce weight by up to 45 percent vs. an all-steel alternative.
- In this component, NORYL GTX™ resin (MPPE/PA) from SABIC combines with steel to form a very efficient energy-absorption crash box structure.
- This saves 1 kilogram (kg) in weight and maintains the required level of crashworthiness.
- The component is an industry-first use of plastic in a BIW reinforcement without the use of structural adhesives or foams.
- Use of the NORYL GTX resin allows the part to go through the automaker’s e-coat process with the rest of the BIW.
- Additional opportunities across the BIW mean that a manufacturer could save up to 8 kg of weight with these hybrid solutions vs. all-metal reinforcements.
Injection Molded Instrument Panel Carrier
|Injection-molded Foam Instrument Panel Carrier
SABIC is also featuring an injection-molded, foamed instrument panel carrier. The part uses the company’s STAMAX™ resin (LGFPP; 60YK270E grade) with SABIC® PP resin (612MK10EE grade) in a structural foaming process.
• In this approach, the manufacturer injects the material into the mold with a foaming agent.
• Immediately afterwards, the mold is opened a few millimeters (mm), 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.
• SABIC’s solution is emission-optimized and meets the VDA278 industry standard.
• Other potential benefits from this foamed STAMAX resin solution include the need for less material during processing, shorter cycle times, and a better balance of impact and stiffness.
Light-weight, Thin-wall Front Bumper
Another PP-based solution from SABIC
on display was a lightweight, thin-wall front bumper on a recently launched 2017 model.
- This part uses SABIC PP compound (8650 grade) to optimize the thickness to 2.5 mm, which can save more than 10 percent in weight.
- Low shrinkage, excellent impact-stiffness balance and potentially reduced cycle times are among the advantages of this approach.
- SABIC’s material is an open compound, which allows for greater dimensional flexibility for molders.
Plastic Glazing Applications
SABIC continues to highlight progress in plastic glazing applications.
- The featured part was an in-production rear quarter window, the largest in the world in LEXAN™ resin (GLX143 grade).
- A two-shot injection compression molding process combining LEXAN resin with CYCOLOY™ resin (PC/ABS; XCM830 grade) results in a final part that is up to 40 percent lighter vs. conventional glass.
- This glazing solution allows for design features not possible in glass, as well.
- Notably, this window is the first from a new production facility in China devoted to the manufacture of mass-produced LEXAN PC glazing parts.
Finally, SABIC highlighted ongoing development work in the use of unidirectional laminates.
SABIC and brands marked with ™ are trademarks of SABIC or its subsidiaries or affiliates.
- The idea is to combine the material supplier’s UDMAX™ tape with STAMAX resin to achieve further weight reduction, while improving mechanical performance.
- UDMAX tapes are fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, which offer high strength and stiffness, good processability and fatigue resistance.
High-resolution photos are available upon request.
SABIC should be written in every instance in all uppercase.
SABIC is among the global leaders in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It manufactures on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: chemicals, commodity and high performance plastics, agri-nutrients and metals. The company has more than 40,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 50 countries, with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and North East Asia.