The first plastic compressed-air tank for truck trailers was exhibited by Schmitz Cargobull of Horstmar, Germany, at the International Motor Show (IAA) for Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany, last fall.

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The first plastic compressed-air tank for truck trailers was exhibited by Schmitz Cargobull of Horstmar, Germany, at the International Motor Show (IAA) for Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany, last fall. The tank was developed by Comat Composite Materials GmbH of Kaiserslautern, Germany, using three types of Ultramid nylon from BASF AG in Germany (U.S. office for engineering plastics is in Wyandotte, Mich.). The reservoir is 1.2 meters long x 320 mm diam. and holds 80 liters. It provides compressed air for trucks’ brakes, air suspension, and other functions. Up to now, it has been made of metal. Comat’s novel, multi-step manufacturing process starts with extruding a pipe of a high-viscosity nylon 6. A length of pipe is then over-wound with continuous glass fibers that are impregnated with a heat-stabilized nylon. Comat developed the impregnation method. Finally, a hemispherical cap injection molded of a third nylon grade is welded to the ends of the pipe using a special method that yields an air-tight seal. The finished tank weighs 22 lb less than the metal version. 800 BC-RESIN • www.plasticsportal.com/usa

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