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JCI concept shows composite gains


Johnson Controls’ Synergy Seat Gen 3 concept, which was unveiled at the Frankfurt automotive show in September, uses overmoulded thermo- plastic composite sheet to create its lightweight seat back structure. “We specifically combined fabric material with an injection-moulding process to create a similar stability to fibreglass-reinforced plastics and strength properties similar to carbon. We were able to dispense with the standard metal structure inside the backrest completely,” says Andreas Maashoff, director industrial design and craftsmanship and consumer and market research within Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. Aside from the weight saving, the injection moulding process allows mount- ing elements for side wedges or head restraints to be integrated into the moulding, reducing the total number of system components, he says. ❙ www.johnsoncontrols.com


1.4 - 1.8 kg/dm3 , which makes it a much lighter alterna-


tive to steel or aluminum sheets at around 7.8 and 2.7 kg/ dm3


respectively. More importantly, says the company,


the weight-corrected specific strength of a polyamide 6 grade reinforced with 47% continuous glass fibers is 225 MPa/g/cm3


around 50 and 120 MPa/g/cm3


, while steel and aluminum achieve values of respectively. Although the


specific stiffness is slightly lower than its metal competi- tors, this can largely be compensated using intelligent lightweight designs, it says. “Consequently, there are excellent opportunities for our high-performance composites in the large-scale series production of lightweight components for vehicles with low fuel consumption and emissions,” says Bond Laminates managing director Dr Christian Obermann.


“Benefiting from short cycle times and very repro-


ducible processes, [Tepex] can be turned into three- dimensional components with great cost-efficiency. That’s the big difference from other, mostly thermoset fibre composites with continuous fibres,” he says. One of the key areas of application is in replacement


of metal-polymer hybrid structures. Obermann says PA6-based overmoulded Tepex composites are almost


50 INJECTION WORLD | October 2013


as stiff as metal-polymer alternatives but provide double the strength and energy absorption. “In torsion tests, our composites are around 50% stiffer and some 65% stronger. The material bond between the two plastics really comes into its own here,” he says. Tepex is already being used in a range of sport and


leisure applications. According to Lanxess, mobile phone maker RIM has in the past used the material to produce battery housings at a rate of more than a million a month. The technology is also used to produce the lower beam in the hybrid front end system used on the Audi A8 car. At a briefing before the K2013 fair, the company said German automotive components group ZF Friedrichshafen would introduce a brake pedal for a series production premium car this year using Tepex composite sheet overmoulded with its Durethan PA6 resin. DSM will also be entering the thermoplastic


composites arena at K with the introduction of a number of continuous fibre reinforced composite sheet and overmoulding grades based on its EcoPaxx PA4,10, Akulon PA6 and Stanyl PA4,6 grades. The new products are targeted especially at automotive industry applica- tions such as body and chassis components and semi-structural parts. “Car makers around the world continue to improve the fuel efficiency and sustainability of their products. Over the years, thermoplastics have provided various solutions, in the form of lightweight components and systems in the passenger compartment, in bodywork, and under the hood,” says Rein Borggreve, global research and technology director at DSM. “Now it’s time for the next step, with advanced thermoplastic composites.” The company will show two advanced thermoplastic


composite applications at K. The first is an in-mould formed housing cover concept produced in conjunction with an unnamed processing partner in an EcoPaxx based composite sheet overmoulded with an EcoPaxx compound. The second is a plastic pressure vessel with comprising an Akulon fibre-reinforced tape wound over an Akulon liner. Actual production of overmoulded thermoplastic


composite parts will be demonstrated at K2013 by machinery makers Arburg, KraussMaffei and Engel. All three will show fully automated production systems but each takes a different approach to the task. Arburg’s exhibit integrates its recently developed direct long fibre thermoplastic moulding technology, while the Krauss- Maffei and Engel systems use conventional overmould- ing materials in horizontal and vertical moulding machine configurations, respectively. Arburg’s direct long fibre thermoplastic processing technology was first shown at the Fakuma show last


www.injectionworld.com


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