Lanxess' Tepex reinforced composites a hit in automotive
The Tepex continuous-fibre-reinforced composites from Lanxess are becoming established in large-scale production of various structural components for lightweight automotive design. It is currently used in the Audi A8 car. Lanxess is a leading specialty chemicals company from Germany, with sales of €7.2 billion in 2018 and present in 33 countries.
The sedan car is also offered with two electrically adjustable individual rear seats, the shells of which have been developed by Faurecia automotive seating and are manufactured using the hybrid moulding process. The polyamide-6-based Tepex dynalite 102 RG600 (2)/47 per cent is used for this purpose. The short-glass-fibre-reinforced Durethan BKV30H2.0 polyamide 6, also from Lanxess, is used as an over-moulded material, the company said in a press release.
“The reason that our composite material was chosen for this structure was the fact that it is around 45 per cent lighter than a comparable metal design but can also be produced cost-effectively, thanks to the high degree of functional integration. It can also withstand the high mechanical loads in a crash,” Henrik Plaggenborg, head of Tepex automotive at the Lanxess high performance materials (HPM) business unit said.
“In the hybrid moulding process, by contrast, a ready-to-install component is created in a single process step. The pre-contoured and heated semi-finished composite product is formed directly in the injection moulding tool for this purpose, and equipped with numerous functions by means of injection moulding. This simplifies subsequent assembly and leads to considerable savings in production costs,” Tilmann Sontag, project manager at the Tepex automotive group of HPM said.
In addition to reinforced ribs, the piping groove for securing the seat cover in place as well as numerous holders and guides (for example, seat ventilation and cable holders) are integrated into the component. The clips to attach the seat shell are also directly injected.
Lanxess provided the project partners with comprehensive support in the development of the seat shells and the complete rear seat system as part of its HiAnt customer service. For example, HPM determined material data about the composite and over-moulded material that Faurecia required for structural simulations in order to calculate the mechanical resilience of the safety component. In addition, several strategies for forming the semi-finished composite product precisely and reproducibly were analysed in a draping simulation. The findings were incorporated into recommendations for designing the tools and processes.
Tepex is developed and produced by Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates, headquartered in Brilon in Germany. Tepex dynalite is already proving its value in numerous large-scale applications of structural lightweight automotive design. For example, it is used to produce front ends, brake pedals, underbody panelling components, reinforcing structural inserts for body detachable parts as well as carriers for door and electronic modules on a large scale. Lanxess anticipates that the composite material will be used in the future to manufacture backrests and armrests as well as seat shells for new, highly complex seat systems in autonomous driving. (GK)
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