One of the major themes at NPE2015 in Orlando, Florida, next month will be technologies that enable lightweighting, particularly for transportation applications.
In the large booths of the major players, machinery and materials, the emphasis will be reinforcing systems. KraussMaffei (W903) will show CX 300-1400 FiberForm, a combination of injection molding and thermoforming of composite sheets. Fabric made of endless fiber in a thermoplastic matrix is heated, shaped in the injection mold and then back-injected. The process allows additional stiffening in the form of ribs and the integration of additional functionality. Cycle times typically run around 60 seconds and are primarily dependent on cooling time in the mold.
Among the materials’ companies, PolyOne (S35014), a specialty compounder, is expanding capacity for its OnForce LFT long-fiber specialty thermoplastics. A new, dedicated specialty production line became fully operational this month. The glass- and carbon fiber-filled compounds are said to offer higher stiffness, impact strength and surface finish than short-fiber filled materials. Compounder RTP (S28080) has expanded its Very Long Fiber reinforced Polypropylene (PP VLF) portfolio to include a range of low-emission products.
Also take a look at the booth of SABIC (S19001), which will demonstrate the capabilities
of polycarbonate to reduce weight through replacement of glass. Long under development, scratch resistance of PC glazing has improved significantly. In a recent demonstration, SABIC’s Lexan cuts weight by more than 13 kilograms and extends a concept electric vehicle’s driving range by up to two kilometers for a single battery charge.
There will be scores of examples at the show.
There will even be a view of the potential of graphene in the new Startup Garage (S203A) at NPE2015. A company called Garmor says it has developed methods for incorporating graphene into plastics. Graphenics will show materials based on a patented process to produce graphene and incorporate it into plastic with minimal disruption of plastics processes and minimal darkening of the composite.