Structural components in exterior areas
Visually appealing surfaces
Structural components for outer skin components
The demands placed on plastic in vehicles have increased – particularly when it comes to components on display in interior areas. In addition to appearance, surface texture is key here, but the component weight and low emissions play an increasingly important role – while maintaining a high degree of design freedom. This also applies in ever greater measures to outer skin components such as sunroofs, where structural requirements take priority, with crash safety always in mind.
In addition to the aforementioned optical requirements, here, the plastic parts must exhibit high rigidity. Low noise development is an important aspect of comfort; a high level of dimensional stability is essential. The material must not change substantially, even when exposed to a wide range of temperatures, as otherwise the connection between the component and the sunroof is no longer entirely water or windproof. If the sunroof is opened, a ‘wind deflector’ usually diverts the airstream.
It reduces the typical hum and increases driving comfort and therefore also the well-being of passengers. The airstream places a wind load on the wind deflector. Depending on the speed, this could lead to deflection, which in the worst case scenario could result in component breakage. A material was required for this component that would be able to withstand the wind load even at high speeds, fulfil the structural requirements and have an attractive appearance. At the same time, of course, costs have to be kept in mind.
Thanks to their many years of experience, the plastic experts at AKRO-PLASTIC were able to recommend a suitable material from the AKROMID® RM-M type series. The RM-M product series is a blend of polyamide and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) with a glass fibre reinforcement of up to 60%. The materials combine the properties of both polymers – high rigidity and low water absorption is offered by the PBT, and the long processing window, as well as the excellent surface finish, is provided by the polyamide.
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Another future-facing, innovative solution approach towards sustainability, while simultaneously reducing weight, is the use of recycled carbon fibres. In comparison to fibre glass, this offers excellent mechanical and economic performance, and thereby enables the production of high-rigidity components, while simultaneously reducing density. AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH offers specially modified compounds in series production.
The compounds are also characterised by ease of processing, even with long flow paths and thin wall thicknesses. This combination of properties impressed the sunroof manufacturers, so that following the first initial sampling, component-specific examinations followed.
Now the material is used worldwide in different injection moulders. The compound is produced in the German headquarters in Niederzissen as well as in the AKRO-PLASTIC factories in China and Brazil. The consistent quality of the compounds, regardless of the place of manufacture, is ensured by the in-house ICX®-Technology.