Emerging Application for Tepex: Door Module Carrier

Lanxess contracts with German Tier I for use of the composite in large series automotive production.

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Tepex continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite semi-finished products from Lanxess (U.S. office in Pittsburgh) are increasingly getting more play in the automotive arena, as more OEMs are seek more significant weight savings by replacing steel in structural parts. According to Lanxess, one budding application for the composite is the door module carrier for a compact-class vehicle from and international automotive manufacturer.

In fact, the company recently secured a contract from German system supplier Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH to supply the carrier’s manufacturer, ElringKlinger AG, with the composite material. Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates, which develops and manufactures Tepex, will be supplying ErlingKlinger in Europe with the Tepex composite sheet.

Said Henrik Plaggernborg, who heads the technical marketing and business development of the Tepex automotive group:

“The structural component exemplifies the tremendous potential opened up by our composite in cost-effective lightweight design. With our know-how in materials, virtual component design and simulation of the manufacturing process, we’ve made a key contribution to this successful development.”

This component was developed over a number of years via a close partnership between Brose, ElringKlinger and Lanxess. The module carrier’s weight has been cut by around 3.53 lb (1.6 kg) per vehicle compared with injection-molded component designs. Weight savings of about 11 lb  (5 kilograms) compared with steel are possible when four modules are involved.

This door module carrier used Tepex 104sm-RG601 (1)/39% organo sheet with a thickness of 0.024 in. (0.6 mm) and a 30% glass-filled injection molding grade PP from Borealis. The module is produced in a hybrid molding process using forming and back-injection of Tepex directly in the injection mold. The one-shot process developed by ElringKlinger both eliminates the forming tool and allows for cost-cutting integration of functions.

Tepex has already made major inroads in various series applications in structural lightweight automotive design. It is used to produce front-end carriers, bumper beams, infotainment brackets, underfloor protection paneling, brake pedals, battery consoles, seat shells and seat backrests. Said Bond-Laminates managing director Christian Obermann:

“By annually supplying blanks in quantities of seven-digit figures for door module carriers, we’re once again demonstrating Tepex’s suitability for large series production on the market.”

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