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

Image

PolyOne says its TPE won't irritate skin in wearable electronics

September 12, 2014 10:58 am ET

PolyOne Corp.'s GLS thermoplastic elastomers unit says its Versaflex CE 3620 compounds have met all ISO 10993-10:2010 testing requirements with no...    More

Image

Beaumont battles technology theft from China

September 10, 2014 2:21 pm ET

John Beaumont, who runs a small company in Erie, Pa., making a product for injection molds called the MeltFlipper, is facing a website in China that...    More

Image

Orenda says new pulverizer improves efficiency through cooling

September 10, 2014 1:41 pm ET

Orenda Automation Technologies Inc. will unveil a new pulverizer with new cooling technology at the Rotoplas conference for rotational molders, Oct....    More

Image

Arburg to show LSR, powder injection molding at Taipei Plas

September 10, 2014 1:36 pm ET

Arburg GmbH + Co. KG will show specialty injection molding machines at the Taipei Plas 2014 show in Taiwan Sep. 26-30, for liquid silicone rubber and ...    More

Engel sets molder certification classes

September 10, 2014 1:32 pm ET

Engel Machinery Inc. in York, Pa., will hold Scientific Molder 1 Certification Sept. 22-27, with more than 20 hours of hands-on machine time and an eq...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Woods economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events