PU in the middle of a one-step to soft-touch automotive components

Simon Robinson
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: November 14, 2013 11:56 am ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 11:58 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Product News, K 2013, Business News & Features

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — A four-way cooperation between South Korea's Huyndai Motors, Austria's Engle, Germany's Hennecke and Germany's GK Innovation Concept Tooling have developed Varysoft, a process that GK Innovation calls a unique method of producing padded, soft-touch automotive interior components.

Speaking on the side-lines in Hall 15, Roger Kaufmann, director, Innovation explained how the innovation happened: "We started thinking about this process six years ago, about 18 months ago we were approached by an IP expert at Hyundai Engineering's to look at the concept, to see if we can make it cost effective." He added: "we have a relationship with Huyundai, which goes back about eight years."

The idea grew out of earlier work that GK Innovation had done around applying copolyester TPEE foils to PC/ABS structural components. In this the PC/ABS armature is molded and then the copolyester foil is added and the mould is closed, a after a short period of time the mold is opened by a few mm. This gives the copolyester room to foam and produces a soft touch finish.

The new process uses polyurethane from BASF to weld the foil to the armature. This gives the option for a softer-touch component than the earlier process, says Kaufmann.

The Varysoft workstation comprises an Engel injection molding machine, producing the armature in PC/ABS, a thermoforming station. This grains and trims the foil to fit into the mold, and a Hennecke polyurethane dispensing machine.

The mold set-up is slightly complex and is made of a number of zones, despite this, it is relatively inexpensive, said Kaufmann. "High pressure is only used on the injection side of the mould, the rest is low pressure processing," he explained.

In the process the armature is molded at the same time as the foil is formed and shaped. Once the molding is ready the foil is placed in the second part of the molding setup and the armature side rotates to sit behind the foil. Polyurethane is then injected into the void between the armature and the foil bonding the components together.

"We worked with Engel on the project because we share patents around the Dolphin injection molding technology. Their head of automotive applications, Michael Fisher is a very forward thinking person."

Kaufmann said his firm has no previous experience of polyurethane molding and so Engel spoke to Hennecke. He explained that Hennecke bought its parent, BASF into the project to supply polyurethane. Hyundai introduced Moltex as the thermoforming components company, foils are supplied by a third party from Korea. The PC/ABS blend is supplied by Ria Polymers.

Although there could be capital costs involved in setting up the system, said Kauffman, automotive component suppliers could save money in a number of areas. This process would reduce inventory and simplify component supply because there is no need to keep track of individual sub components. Production steps are reduced, because all of the processes needed to produce the component in a single space. Additionally there can be space savings: "we're going up against slush molding with this, said Kaufmann, the footprint of this setup is small in comparison."


Comments

PU in the middle of a one-step to soft-touch automotive components

Simon Robinson
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: November 14, 2013 11:56 am ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 11:58 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Broad spectrum purging compound from Shuman

August 27, 2014 9:39 am ET

Shuman Plastics Inc. has developed a broad-purpose purging compound suited to a variety of processing conditions in injection and blow molding,...    More

Image

Sony entering recycled PC market

August 27, 2014 11:08 am ET

Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. is getting into a sideline of selling recycled resins.    More

Image

PolyOne expands special effects offerings for PET

August 27, 2014 11:03 am ET

PolyOne Corp. has added a new line of shimmer and frost-effect colorants to its InVisio line of color services and solutions.    More

Image

Scott & Fyfe launches fire-resistant mat for rail cars

August 27, 2014 10:56 am ET

Scott & Fyfe Ltd. has added an exceptionally fire-resistant chopped glass mat to its Polymat reinforcement product line.    More

Beckhoff Automation increases sales, expands headquarters plant

August 27, 2014 10:53 am ET

Beckhoff Automation GmbH of Verl, Germany, generated global sales of 435 million euros ($575 million) in 2013, an increase of 7 percent.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events