Advanced polypropylene (PP) compounds provide a significant opportunity to save weight in automotive applications. As the leading company in this field, LyondellBasell showcases the latest applications at the Plastics in Automotive Engineering technical conference, which is organized by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) in Mannheim, Germany.
Saving Weight with Polypropylene Compounds:
One impressive and demanding application is the Rear Quarter Panel in the new 5-door MINI (image) that has been produced using a Softell-PP compound that has been reinforced with 25% glass fiber. Compared with the PC/ABS mix that has been used previously, Softell TKG 300N demonstrates improved haptic and lower weight and allows for a matte surface finish that meet the interior design criteria of the customer. Added customer advantages are a favorable balance between toughness and stiffness, low emissions, UV stability and scratch resistance.
LyondellBasell has also developed low-density material solutions for the bumpers of the latest BMW 3 and 7 series and the e-cars i3 and i8, where Hifax TKC 461X Black has been used successfully in both applications. The reduced talc content of 12% is realizing a significant weight saving compared to the 20% talk filled compound used before. This material supports the zero-gap concept in a temperature range with low thermal expansion. It exhibits good paintability and a balance between toughness and stiffness.
International highlight: Thermoforming with Sequel E3400 – Benefits across the supply chain:
The market for thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) compounds for thick-sheet thermoformed parts in the automotive and transportation industry continues to grow at a healthy pace.
The latest application is the use of Sequel E3400 in the U.S., where LyondellBasell is offering a TPO for the rear doors of a new range of refrigerator trucks.
The benefits compared with the foamed ABS previously used are enhanced low temperature impact strength and cracking resistance, and superior weatherability without the need for a cap layer. Additional customer benefits are excellent dimensional stability and chemical resistance which all contribute to a cost and weight savings in the production of these parts.
SAVE10 – a LYB weight saving initiative for Global - Intelligent - Solutions:
LyondellBasell is introducing SAVE 10 – a material concept that offers the potential to save 10 kg of car weight by using innovative PP compounds and technologies in support of the megatrend “car weight reduction for better CO2 balance”.
LyondellBasell is offering:
1) New generation of materials with lower density as drop-in solution (same tool shrinkage) for interior and exterior applications.
2) Manufacturing of aesthetically pleasing surfaces for interior applications with uncoated Softell-Compounds in one injection molding step, replacing painted technical polymers.
3) Latest generation of short glass fiber reinforced materials to replace higher density and higher cost technical polymers for structural parts.
4) Solutions with organic fillers and lower density to replace talcum reinforced grades for structural parts as drop-in solution.
5) Solutions with foamed PP compounds (soft & rigid) for weight saving.
6) Plastic Interface Technology, innovative bonding enabling back molded plastic composite materials with high class surfaces such as aluminum in one injection molding step.
In addition to these material solutions, LyondellBasell is supporting system suppliers and OEMs with world class CAE simulation services from injection molding to finished part testing to verify the performance of innovative PP compounds.