A new plastic with the grand name “Suzuki Super Polypropylene (SSPP)” debuted this week on the front bumper under garnish of the Escudo, an off-road vehicle that has been in production since 1988. You may also know this vehicle as the Geo or GMC Tracker.
Suzuki Motor Corp. says this newly developed polypropylene is approximately 10% lighter than its current PP compound and is excellent in material coloring.
In a press release, Suzuki stated: “In the recent years, the need for weight reduction of automobile’s resin part is increasing, and there is a high demand for reduction of environmental load substance. For these reasons, material coloring of parts is carried forward, in which the colored resin, pre-mixed with colorant and bright coloring before molding, is used without painting.
“In order to satisfy both rigidity and impact resistance, the mainstream of the current resin material of automobile’s PP adds rubber and inorganic filler material such as talc to its base PP resin. The talc was the main factor of increasing weight and color-dulling due to degradation of transparency.”
SSPP achieves rigidity and impact resistance through use of styrenic thermoplastic elastomer without adding talc. Flexural rigidity requirements are maintained with the new material. And because the material has no talc, it is more transparent, and shows pigments better.
A bright silver metallic color is used for under garnish on the Escudo.
Suziki says it has applied for a patent on SSPP and plans to extend it use to bumpers and to other parts, interior and exterior, in the future.
The moniker Suzuki Super Polypropylene is a bit of a mouthful (and a tad pretentious), but the invention shows the interesting ways styrenic elastomers are being used to modify and improve polyolefins, particularly polypropylene. In an article I wrote for Plastics Today, I looked at some of the advances in the medical field in particular.
Suzuki did not identify its elastomer supplier, but there’s plenty of activity in Asia. Global suppliers of styrenic-based elastomers include Asahi Chemical, Chi Mei, Dynasol Elastomers, Kuraray Co., Korea Kumho P.C., Lee Chang Yung, LG Chemical, Polimeri Europa, Sinopec, Taiwan Synthetic Rubber Corp., Kraton and Zeon Corp.