Lanxess' Easy-Flow Nylon 6 Enables Integrated Hybrid Front-End Module with Adjustable Air Flow
Durethan BKV30H2.0EF glass-reinforced nylon 6 from Lanxess used in highly-loaded plastic-metal structural bolster of new Ford Kuga SUV.
A highly integrated bolster produced with a ’hybrid’ plastic-metal composite technology for the Ford Kuga SUV, is produced with steel panels and Durethan BKV30H2.0EF, an easy-flowing, fiberglass-reinforced nylon 6 from Lanxess, Pittsburgh, Penn. The bolster and the fully assembled front-end module were developed and are produced by Germany’s Montaplast GmbH, a global system supplier of the automotive industry.
Explains Lanxess hybrid design expert Ulrich Dajek, “Our easy-flowing nylon 6 can be processed at lower injection pressures. For this reason, smaller injection molding machines with lower clamping forces can be used in the production of the hybrid bolster. This has a positive effect on the machine running costs and allows greater flexibility in terms of machine selection and production planning.”
The bolster houses an actively controllable unit consisting of four active grille shutters that ensure a demand-oriented supply of air to the engine cooling system. The bolster contains reinforcing metal inserts at the sides and in the upper chord. The latter accommodates the highly-loaded hood latch. The main task of the hybrid design is to support the cooling systems and hold them in position. Numerous additional functions are also integrated in the bolster – such as guides, mounts for the adjustment drive and fasteners. Said Montaplast product development team leader Horst-Dieter Haltrich.
“Our development engineers have succeeded in integrating all these elements, functions and interfaces so that the functional and load requirements are met. At the same time, they have ensured that the entire front-end module can be produced in different region-specific versions in an automated high-volume process in a cost-efficient manner.”
As a plastic component for the hybrid bolster, nylon 6 has two main advantages over PP, the possible alternative material. The first advantage is that the component contains several direct threaded connections; these are more cost-efficient than using additional metal inserts. The threaded connections designed using nylon 6 reportedly are significantly more stable, have a longer service life and are more reliable than with PP. The second advantage of the nylon is that it withstands the thermal loads that arise when the grille shutters are closed, in contrast to PP. Due to the high flowability of nylon 6, component areas with filigree geometries can be designed with thinner walls.
Said Lanxess’ Dajek, “It was possible to reduce the wall thickness by around 20% in the areas subject to lower loads. Compared to a standard nylon 6 with the same fiberglass content, this results in an appreciable weight saving.” Due to the lower filling pressure, another benefit of the easy-flowing material is that components with lower stresses can be produced, minimizing the distortion.
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