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Celanese showcases solutions for weight and cost savings for automobile industry

News International-French

26 Jun 2014

The company partners with the 16th Industry Forum in Wolfsburg and showcases 4 innovations under the motto “Automotive Globalization and Innovation”.

Celanese is a manufacturer of engineering polymers with more than 50 years of experience and supported the development of several applications. The linear polyphenylene sulfide Fortron PPS, the acetal copolymer Hostaform POM and the long fiber reinforced thermoplastic Celstran LFT especially have held a key role in saving fuel for years. And they are used both in structural and visible parts. From instrument panels
through front ends to sensors and door handles.

I - Window lift plates for the VW Amarok made from Hostaform XGC with improved mechanical and tribological properties
Celanese is presenting a study project for the VW Amarok; a window lift plate made from a glass fiber-reinforced POM grade. Celanese achieved improvements in stiffness, strength and impact strength over previous glass fiber Hostaform grades thus closing the gap to performance specification glass fiber-reinforced thermoplastics like polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyamide (PA). The improved mechanical properties are demonstrated over a wide range of temperatures and under continuous load. The optimization was achieved by a greatly improved fiber-matrix bonding. Levers, wheels, grippers, catches and gear casings are the most important applications for Hostaform XGC due to the superior sliding friction properties. 

II - Engine cover made from Celstran LFT for TSI engines
The Volkswagen Group develops and produces powerful and efficient TSI engines that also need high-performance polymers. TSI stands for Turbocharged Stratified Injection and is the brand name for the engine technology that combines the consumption benefits of a small cylinder capacity with the performance and torque of a large cylinder volume. A direct injection petrol engine is fitted with a turbocharger or two different chargers. The first TSI engine was a twin charged 1.4-l engine in 2005. Weber Dillenburg constructed an engine cover for the TSI models using long glass fiber-reinforced Celstran from Celanese. The long glass fiber-reinforced thermoplastic Celstran LFT (PP-GF-30) withstands continuous operating temperatures of 120 degrees Celsius with maximums of up to 140 degrees. The new engine cover from Weber Dillenburg also withstands higher mechanical loads without problem. The polymer withstood high thermal and mechanical loads in numerous tests.

The TSI engines at the core of the range of Volkswagen engines run well – and now even quieter than before because the acoustic damping characteristics of this application are also good. The design engineers also achieved a weight reduction of up to 20 percent by using Celstran. The engine cover made from low-warpage Celstran is also attractive due to the excellent surface character; these economical engines are also pleasing to the eye.

The cover was originally made from Polyamide 6, but the properties of Celstran LFT prevailed because it has outstanding impact strength over a wide range of temperatures as well as good resistance especially to hot engine oil. Resistance to vibration and low warpage also played an enormous role in the selection of material. Using Celstran LFT (PP-GF-30) provides a less expensive engine cover compared to polyamide. The experts from Celanese are directly involved in the ongoing tests and in the implementation of the new polymer solution – from the selection of material through component optimization using CAE simulation (Computer Aided Engineering) to mold design and injection molding tests.

III - Oriented UD layers for door handles
No compromises are made regarding safety in automobile construction; thus manufacturers are also increasingly using reinforced components made from continuous fiber-reinforced composites like the innovative door panels (PP and UD-GF) for the Ford Transit Courier. And the requirements are stringent: Optimum stiffness and strength are among the specifications as is reliable operation of the component. The specific lightweight construction also allows energy saving and efficient working processes.

A team of specialists from Celanese and developers from Fompak in Turkey are taking on these challenges. Their aim: To design local reinforcement in the door handle for safety-optimized door panels made from novel materials using innovative thermoplastic tape-laying thus utilizing the advantages of the material-specific properties to the maximum. Polypropylene (PP) was used for the strengthening inlay in the door handle with unidirectional oriented glass fibers (UD-GF) in the form of so-called UD tapes. 

The conclusion: the lightweight construction meets the high demands and reliability was increased in the demonstration component over the current customary construction made with conventional polypropylene. Thanks to low tooling costs, component design optimized to load, targeted minimization of material use and the decision in favor of the comparatively inexpensive material combination PP-GF70, a efficient solution for series production was found.

IV - Inexpensive storage compartment flap for trucks
One of the most important innovations this year is a weight-optimized commercial vehicle storage compartment flap made from thermoplastic UD composites. The tapes made from a thermoplastic matrix are reinforced with unidirectional aligned continuous fibers giving them mechanical properties: they are light, resilient and can be processed into complex forms. Thermoplastic tape-laying also reduces waste and costs.

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