Guangzhou, China — Anticipating a surge in demand for turbo-charged engines in China's automotive industry, DuPont Co.'s performance materials unit has installed a 3D suction blow-molding machine at its Shanghai research and development center.
The machine, from Monza, Italy-based S.T. Soffiaggio Tecnica srl, will support development of air ducts with complex designs, the company said. It comes after DuPont installed a similar machine at its Japan Technical Center in 2015. It now has four worldwide.
At a news conference at Chinaplas, DuPont executives said it saw strong growth in the automotive plastics market last year.
“Nowhere was this grown more evident than in China,” said Randy Stone, president of DuPont Performance Materials. “We've seen that growth continue into the first quarter of this year.”
The company highlighted the blow molding machinery investment in Shanghai because it said air duct designs are integral to turbocharging, which helps engines maintain or increase power even as regulations for emissions, fuel efficiency and light-weighting bite.
In China, the numbers of cars sold with turbo-charged engines is expected to double by 2022.
The machine will “create more value to our customers in the automotive industry,” said Woong Chung, technical service and development manager for Asia-Pacific DuPont Performance Materials.
Also at Chinaplas, DuPont rolled out 3D printing versions of its legacy Hytrel thermoplastic elastomers, Zytel nylons and Surlyn ionomers.
The new versions of the decades-old resins “will help our customers meet their needs for prototyping and manufacturing using 3D printing,” said Rahul Kasat, business development leader at DuPont Performance Materials.
DuPont also rolled out new grades of engineering plastics for the connector market, and said new versions of its Crastin polybutylene terephthalate, and glass fiber-reinforced grades of Crastin are aimed at electric and hybrid vehicles.
DuPont also announced plans to launch renewably sourced non-halogenated Zytel HTN grades soon, and said it had new versions of Zytel nylons and Hytrel polyester elastomer for thinner laptops.
China represents about one quarter of the global business for DuPont Performance Materials, said Tina Wu, the Asia Pacific business director for the unit.
As evidence of that growth, she noted that DuPont's big compounding facility in Shenzhen, which opened last year, is near full capacity.