Plastics News staff reporter Rhoda Miel wrote the following briefs from the Auto Interiors Show, held May 13-15 in Detroit.
Sentinel Products Corp. has added expanded polypropylene to its line of blown foam products in response to continuing interest by automakers in producing an all-olefin car interior system.
The foam, sold by Hyannis, Mass.-based Sentinel in roll stock or sheet stock to processors, can be thermoformed or vacuum formed for use in headliners, instrument panels and door panels said Robert Hooper, vice president of manufacturing.
The PP system is available in a range of densities and in thicknesses of 1-6 millimeters.
The company is seeing increased interest in the PP as the industry looks for ways to make cars and trucks easier to recycle by reducing the variety of materials used, Hooper said.
PP can fit into the same uses where urethane foam is used now.
Sentinel also is licensing the system for use in food containers and selling it for use in materials-handling units.
Paint system aims to replace laminates
Oakwood Group is seeking customers for its patented paint system to replace laminated surfaces on interior trim with a cheaper alternative that it said provides a greater variety of textures and looks.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based supplier already injection molds a variety of trim pieces, some of which are then laminated to provide a wood-grain look or mimic other materials, said Peter Bankert, account manager.
Those parts could cost more than $3. The paint system, developed by Oakwood along with a variety of paint suppliers, can apply a multicolored, textured paint, produce either a gloss or matte finish or match the interior trim to exterior body color. The system, named ``Luxcote,'' comes in at about one-tenth the price of a laminated component, Bankert said.
Oakwood also has launched production of an ABS version of its injection molded safety plastic. The parts were introduced in polypropylene as head-impact protection for interior components.
The new version is geared toward side-impact protection, fit into door panels.
Rogers Corp. offers more auto products
Rogers Corp. is beefing up its offerings to the automotive industry with both polyolefin foams and varied colors of its Poron-brand urethane foam products.
The company, based in Woodstock, Conn., first rolled out its polyolefin foam offerings last year, aiming them at automakers and suppliers anxious to cut back on the number of materials used in car interiors.
Now it is showing automakers a variety of Poron colors already used in other industries, but now available for designers anxious to use something other than basic black.
``We're trying to demonstrate all of the different things we can do with foams,'' said Erik Host-Steen, senior market development specialist.
``We want to get the engineers' gears turning.''
Rogers foam products typically are used for seals, gaskets, glove-box liners and other locations where carmakers want to improve fit or keep components from rattling and squeaking.
Generally, the products are not visible to drivers, but by taking advantage of the various colors already used in consumer products, designers could provide a visible rim to set off cup holders, glove boxes or various other elements, he said.