BASF Targets Special Polyamides For Charge Air Ducts

Specially tailored polyamides are targeting turbocharger components as automakers downsize engines to meet increasingly stringent fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions requirements.

One example is the 2.0L GTDI turbo compressor outlet duct in the 2017 FCA Alpha Romeo Giulia luxury sedan. BASF supplied Ultramid Endure D5G3 polyamide 66 for 3D flashless blow molding.

Charge air ducts, which take air from the turbocharger to the throttle body, can see continuous-use temps as high as 220ºC and pressures as high as 207 KPa. Optimized designs are required to fit in tight spaces. Turbochargers can be used to compensate for a loss of power in the engine while at the same time reducing the cubic capacity. Turbocharging produces higher pressures and temperatures in the engine compartment, especially in the charge-air duct.

Turbo compressor outlet duct (SPE Automotive Div.)

Turbo compressor outlet duct (SPE Automotive Div.)

Switching to the heat-stabilized PA 66 cut weight 30-40 percent and cost 20-25 percent less than metal versions. Tool supplier is the ABC Group. The part is a finalist in the 46th-annual SPE Automotive Innovation Awards competition. Winners will be announced Nov. 9 at Burton Manor in the suburbs of Detroit.

At K2016, BASF said that it is supplying selected locally manufactured polyamides with globally consistent specifications, locally manufactured for the charge-air duct requiring various demands on pressure and resistance up to 220°C.

Automotive, Europe, Polyamides

New Lincoln Seat System Relies On Molded Parts

Ford has applied for 83 patents on a new seat system that relies heavily on injection molded plastic components.

The modular composite front-seat cushion pan is being used on the 2017 Ford Motor Co. Lincoln Continental luxury sedan. Ford says that the system creates “a robust and dynamic crash-energy management system for front-impact protection, side airbag deployment, and energy management for occupant impact protection.”  The system also enables modular assembly and scalable features for ease of assembly.

Plastics used include impact-modified 35 percent glass-reinforced Ultramid polyamide (nylon) from BASF, talc-filled TPO for a side-airbag deployment back panel, and Delrin polyacetal from DuPont.

Processors are Leggett & Platt, Great Lakes Trim & Grammer Industries/Engineered Plastics, and Grand Traverse Plastics.

Twelve patents have been granted to date on the seat system, which is a finalist in the 46th-annual SPE Automotive Innovation Awards competition. Winners will be announced Nov. 9 at Burton Manor in the suburbs of Detroit. 

The 2017 Lincoln was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show last January.

New Continental seat system. (SPE Automotive Div.)

New Continental seat system. (SPE Automotive Div.)

Automotive, Composites, Design, Injection Molding, North America, Polyacetal, Polyamides , , ,

Solvay Uses Polimotor 2 To Test Additive Manufacturing

Solvay is using the Polimotor plastic-engine project as a testbed for developing what it feels will be a big business opportunity in additive manufacturing.

A plenum chamber for Matti Holzberg’s second go at a plastic engine was made with a modified DTM selective laser sintering (SLS) machine at a research center in Lyon, France focusing on polyamide for additive manufacturing. The part has a 40 percent loading of glass beads. Solvay launched its Sinterline range of PA6 powders for SLS four years ago.

Ralph Risse shows SLS plenum chamber.

Ralph Risse shows SLS plenum chamber.

A separate location using highly modified desktop 3D printers at Alpharetta, Georgia, made a fuel intake runner for the Polimotor 2  from carbon-reinforced polyetheretherketone (PEEK).

Solvay also has established a facility at in Brussels, Belgium, to develop AM software design, using Digimat from e-Xstream, an MSC Software company

“We also have collaborations with universities and equipment manufacturers,” said  Ralph Rissé, business development manager for Solvay’s Engineering Plastics business unit, in an interview on Monday at the Solvay stand at K2016. 

Heading up development of Solvay’s development of Solvay’s high-heat engineering plastics in Alpharetta is Brian Alexander. 

Brian Alexander shows fuel intake runner.

Brian Alexander shows fuel intake runner.

“Additive manufacturing (AM) has emerged as a complementary plastics conversion technology of its own right and is increasingly advancing the particular needs of highly complex parts not possible through conventional melt processes,” said Alexander. “As the processes and equipment develop, there is still a lack of reliable high performance materials sourcing and standardization. Solvay is determined to play a leading role in expanding the available polymer choice and optimizing the supply chain for AM based on a solid understanding of the technology and comprehensive customer support.”  

Holtzberg’s goal is to develop a four-cylinder, double-overhead CAM engine weighing approximately 40kg less than today’s standard production engine. 

Alexander said that Solvay is using the experience with Polimotor to see how AM might extend its value beyond prototype parts.  Key target markets are healthcare and aerospace, big markets that make extensive use of Solvay high-end plastics and don’t require the large parts’ volumes of automotive. That’s the sweet spot for additive manufacturing, which has slow build times, but can manufacture highly complex parts. 

Increasingly, the battlefield is not equipment, but materials. All the big resin manufacturers hope to replace expensive, proprietary plastics required by Stratasys, EOS, and 3D Systems

“A recent study of the plenum for the Polimotor 2 project confirmed that AM offers a significant, yet grossly under-utilized potential for light-weighting and complex design, even beyond the scope of injection molding,” said Dominique Giannotta, Sinterline Program Leader for Solvay’s Engineering Plastics Business Unit. “However, to fully take advantage of this powerful potential, industrial designers must begin to conceive parts for additive manufacturing from day one.”

Solvay said that its PA 6 SLS materials have better stiffness and thermal resistance than PA11 or PA12 that are used in SLS. They are available in neat and glass-bead filled grades. An unfilled grade has passed compliance testing for USP class VI medical applications.

Alexander’s group is working on AvaSpire polyaryletherketone (PAEK), KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK), and Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) for fused-filament fabrication (FFF), and polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) compatible with SLS. Several products are expected to be available for sampling by the end of 2016, including neat and fiber-filled grades of Solvay’s KetaSpire PEEK and Radel PPSU for FFF 3D printing process.

Additive manufacturing ,

DSM Bioplastic Gains Traction in Electronics, Faucets

While renewably sourced plastics are not the primary focal point at DSM Engineering Plastics, they are experiencing solid growth rates and above-average investment in corporate R&D, said President Roeland Polet in an interview at K2016 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Trademarked EcoPaXX, the specialty long-chain polyamide grade (46) is about 70 percent based on castor oil beans. The grade is designed to provide excellent chemical resistance, low moisture absorption, combined with a very high melting point (highest of all bioplastics) and high crystallization rate (comparable to PA66 and PA46).

Brass replacement is a hot topic for water-mixing valves.

Brass replacement is a hot topic for water-mixing valves.

“EcoPaXX is experiencing growing rates of ten to fifteen times per year, but from a very small base,” said Polet. “Right now we are really starting to get traction.”

One interesting new application on display at DSM’s stand is water management, specifically water-mixing faucet parts. “There is growing interest in replacing brass because it has some lead content,” said Polet. The grade used in the valve is 50 percent glass reinforced. Components for ski boots are also on display.

The material offers performance advantages, but it also comes at a higher price.
“Most successes we have come when a customer is looking fir a sustainability solution,” he said. Electronics is a particularly promising market because many big players have appointed chief sustainability officers.

DSM is looking for growth opportunities, but carefully. New sources of renewable materials are being explored.

“We could come up with 17 eco products tomorrow, but you still have to have the right cost/performance ratio.”

Injection Molding ,

K2016: DSM Introduces New Plastic

At K2016 today, DSM Engineering Plastics introduced what it described as an all-new plastic, a polyphthalamide (PPA) called ForTii Ace that is directly aimed at replacement of die-cast aluminum in automotive parts.

“We are targeting ForTii Ace at die-cast metal replacement applications that require a high mechanical performance that stays constant even at constant-use temperatures as high as 150 degrees C, as well as superior chemical stability,” said Konraad Dullaert, global business manager for the new product. “Such applications may also have design space restrictions and/or NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) challenges.”

Auto part on displat at K2016 made from new DSM plastic.

Auto part on displat at K2016 made from new DSM plastic.

The glass transition temperature of 160 C is significantly higher than other PPAs and at least 80 C higher than polyamide 66, according to Dullaert. The new grade is also said to possess higher resistance to various automotive oils and chemicals, even compared to PEEK. Other key properties will be comparable to PEEK, “but at a much lower price,” said Roeland Polet, president of DSM Engineering Plastics.

The price for the material was not disclosed, but “it will be in the single digits”. Polet said the cost for a part made from the new plastic will be comparable to the same part made from die-cast aluminum after finishing costs are figured in. He said it can be used as a drop-in with current designs and can be designed to take advantage of functional integration with injection molding in the future.

Specific target applications include powertrain, transmission, chassis, and thermal management components.

Injection Molding ,

SABIC Will Expand Ultem Capacity

SABIC is committing to meeting demand in the fast-growing Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) market and is expected to make a decision “very quickly” on a major capacity increase.

Those statements were made by Ernesto Occhielo, who took charge of the SABIC specialties business when it was formed Jan. 1 as part of a sweeping reorganization that included the closing of the headquarters offices in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, established by GE Plastics.

SABIC acquired GE Plastics in 2007 and ran it as SABIC Innovative Plastics until its two volume products—ABS and polycarbonate—hit hard times of slack markets and weak pricing. The “commoditization” of those two plastics was one of the drivers in last year’s shakeup. ABS and polycarbonate are now part of SABIC’s petrochemical business unit, which includes polyolefins.

The Specialties business includes high-performance plastics like Ultem PEI, which has experienced growth rates “significantly above” global gross domestic product (GDP), said Occhiello. A supply crunch in Ultem began to surface about 18 months ago as customers in several markets embraced the plastic’s optimal basket of properties, including thermal and mechanical.

Occhiello told The Molding Blog that leadtimes remain extended despite capacity enhancements in SABIC plants in Mount Vernon, Indiana, and Cartagena, Spain. Occhiello would not indicate the potential geographic location of the anticipated new Ultem capacity.

In an interesting development, Occhiello said that the Polymer Processing Development Center—one of the jewels remaining from the GE Plastics acquisition– will remain open and, in fact, has added new “Centers of Excellence” in additive manufacturing and composites. SABIC had said last year that the  PPDC  may close, with  R&D moving to upstate New York.

It’s not a surprise that Occhiello liked what he saw at the PPDC. He is the former Chief Technology Officer at SABIC and had been based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Occhiello is also a former technology executive at Dow Chemical. He said there also will be emphasis on research collaborations with technical groups around the world. He specifically mentioned institutes in China and Germany. SABIC will also aggressively pursue new high-end technology through acquisition. Recent examples include carbon nanotubes and carbon composites.

Occhiello’s office is in Amsterdam, and he said operates Specialties as a “virtual” business.

Occhiello was interviewed following a SABIC press confetence on the opening day of K 2016.

Additive manufacturing ,

K2016: Arburg Extends Machine Range With New Design, Control

Arburg, known as a specialist in small injection molding machines since its 1950s beginnings, is introducing a 6,500 kN (727 tons of clamping force) model at K2016, extending its range from 500 tons.

Gerhard Bohm, who joined the company last year as managing director, sales, said in an interview that the move to larger model machines is driven by customer requirements. He said that molders in medical, packaging, automotive and other markets are moving to higher cavitation tools requiring bigger presses.

Dubbed the Allrounder H, the new model has a new Star Trek-like design and a new tablet-like control called Gestica that can speed up machine movements with the swipe of a finger. Taking a cue from an Austrian competitor, Arburg designed the machine to accommodate large molds. The distance between tiebars is 1,120 mm.

The electric toggle-type clamping and injection unit has a 2.4 seconds dry cycle time. “The Allrounder 1120 H combines electric speed and precision during mold movements with hydraulic power and dynamics during injection,” said Heinz Gaub, managing director of technology and engineering at Arburg.

The machine is being demonstrated at the K Fair molding an eight-part folding step stool, which is assembled within a molding cycle.


Arburg execs pose in front of brand-new Allrounder 1120 H at K2016

Injection Molding

K2016: Covestro Is Going Commercial On Carbon Dioxide Foam

Plastics made from carbon dioxide will debut soon in commercial products.

Belgian manufacturer Recticel says it will launch polyurethane foam made from carbon dioxide before the end of the year. Examples of the foam were on display at the Covestro stand at K 2016 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Covestro is the former Bayer MaterialScience.
Covestro has developed a way to make polyol, a component of foam, with a carbon dioxide content of around 20 percent. Trademarked cardyon, the new foam is made at a newly commissioned manufacturing plant in Dormagen, Germany. It’s located next to a factory that produces ammonia. The carbon dioxide is a waste byproduct of the ammonia production.

cardyon foam sample at Covestro's K2016. This is the company's debut at K since its spinoff from Bayer a year ago.

cardyon foam sample at  K2016.

Several more commercial cardyon products, including elastomers, will debut soon, said Kirsten Maisch, cardyon product manager.
The program to make plastic from carbon dioxide is financially supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
“Everyone thinks of carbon dioxide as a bad greenhouse gas,” said Covestro CEO at a press conference at the company’s stand at K 2016. “We view at as a valuable source of carbon.”

Injection Molding ,

K Chair: Machinery Shipments Will Continue Growth Through 2017

Plastics machinery shipments are expected to grow 2 percent this year and continue to expand next year, said Ulrich Reifenhauser, chairman of the Exhibitors’ Council, at a press conference a day before the opening of K 2016 in Duesseldorf, Germany.
“The United States is especially excellent; business is booming,” he said. The only economies showing weakness are China, Russia and Brazil, in Reifenhauser’s view. He is also the managing partner of Reifenhauser GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik, Trisdorf, Germany.

Opening press cnference at K2016

Opening press cnference at K2016

No surprise then that the 19- hall K Fair, a triennial show, is once again sold out with 3,285 exhibitors representing 61 countries. Two countries noted for significantly higher participation are Turkey (113 exhibitors, up from 96 at K2013) and Iran (13 exhibitors, up from three at K2013).
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Messe Duesseldorf. CEO, said that 200,000 visitors are expected at K2016, making it the most well-attended plastics event in the world. It’s not clear how many of those are unique visitors as a person is counted as a visitor each time he comes into the show.
The major theme that will be addressed at this hear’s show will be the increased wireless connectivity of equipment in an effort to make optimum use of data collected by sensors and other instrumentation. That trend is called Industry 4.0 and will be featured at many booths. Milacron, for example, is introducing the Smart Mold, which collects and the transmits data collected from a hot runner.
Another focal point will be marine litter and re-use of plastics waste generally. Reifenhauser said, in his opinion, there needs to be much better education on waste collection starting at a very young age,

Injection Molding

PolyOne Pultrudes CFRP Brace for Corvette

CFRP brace.

CFRP brace.

Compounder PolyOne of Cleveland, Ohio, is producing a carbon composite brace for General Motors using the pultrusion process.

It’s an interesting twist because most new carbon composite automotive applications use low pressure molding approaches.

The underbody brace is now offered as a performance upgrade for the current C7 generation of the Chevrolet Corvette sports car.

PolyOne says that the brace reduces weight and retains torsional stiffness versus aluminum versions used on production models while also increasing flexural stiffness for improved structural integrity and long-term fatigue strength.

“Our Glasforms team evaluated several composite types and identified a solution with optimal performance. The carbon fiber-reinforced composite part is 17 percent lighter than the stock aluminum part, and the composite held up well in GM’s extensive vibration, shake and road test regimen,” said Matthew Borowiec, general manager, PolyOne Advanced Composites.

The Corvette Z06 won last year’s Car and Driver Lightning Lap with the fastest speed, which also ranked as the second fastest lap time in the history of the event.

Automotive, Carbon Composites, Design, Injection Molding, North America