WEB EXCLUSIVE: One of the materials trends hailed at this month’s K 2010 show in Dusseldorf was the replacement of plastic-metal “hybrid” composites with all-plastic “organic hybrids” in structural parts for automotive and other markets. Instead of overmolding preformed sheet metal to add ribs, attachments, and other features, the new potential trend is to preform and overmold resin-impregnated continuous-fiber sheets. At least three materials suppliers and two injection machine builders emphasized this concept at the show.
Both Engel and Krauss-Maffei (U.S. offices in York, Pa., and Florence, Ky., respectively) demonstrated organic hybrid molding. Both used woven-glass sheets impregnated with nylon 6 and overmolded with more nylon 6 (either unfilled or short-glass reinforced). Both used Tepex composite sheets from Bond-Laminates GmbH in Germany, as well as nylon overmolding compounds from Lanxess AG (U.S. office in Pittsburgh). Engel molded a steering-column holder and KraussMaffei a door impact beam. Both used six-axis robots to preheat the Tepex sheet in an oven at around 300 C for 30-40 sec and then hang the hot sheet in the injection mold. Closing the mold preformed the sheet, and then more nylon was injected over it in specific locations. Overall cycles were about 60 sec. Engel used rectangular sheets, which were laser-trimmed after molding by a robot. KM used precut patterns that formed a net-shape part with no trimming. Engel calls its process Organomelt, and KM calls its version FiberForm.
Meanwhile, Lanxess also displayed an Audi A8 front-end reinforcement molded by Magna Decoma Exterior Systems GmbH in Germany containing both aluminum and Tepex inserts overmolded with nylon 6. And BASF showcased a brand-new seat back from Faurecia of France consisting of CFRT woven-glass/nylon sheet inserts from Performance Materials Corp. (PMC), Camarillo, Calif., overmolded with 35%-glass-filled nylon 6. It weighs about 20% less than conventional seat backs and is 30 mm thinner. BASF (U.S. office in Wyandotte, Mich.) developed a special nylon overmolding compound, Ultramid CompoSIT XA3232, that combines stiffness, ductility, and Class-A-type surface finish.
800-BC-RESIN • plasticsportal.com/usa
+49 2961 966 285 00 • bond-laminates.de
(717) 764-6818 • engelglobal.com/na
(859) 283-0200 • kraussmaffei.com
(800) 526-9377 • us.lanxess.com
(805) 482-1722 • performancematerials.com
Engel Machinery Inc.
3740 Board Road York, PA 17406
Phone (717) 764-6818 Fax (717) 764-0314