Automotive parts producer Magna International Inc.'s exterior business stood out at the July SPE Central Europe Automotive Awards Night in Neuss, near Düsseldorf, Germany, by winning three first-place innovation awards.
It took exteriors first place for the all-thermoplastic liftgate produced on an injection molding machine from Munich-based KraussMaffei Technologies GmbH (Hall A7, Booth 7303) on mold tools from Magna's Concord, Ontario-based Tyco Mold & Die facility.
The liftgate goes into serial production at Magna's U.S. plant in Belvidere, Ill., on the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2019. Magna claims it as the highest ever production volume thermoplastic liftgate. The plastic liftgate saved 25 percent weight by replacing multiple steel and assembled components. Its lightness makes it easier to open and close, Magna says.
The liftgate consists of two adhesive-bonded panels, infrared-welded together, however, in the upper head area by an ABB articulated arm robot. Structural and interior components are in black, gray or beige Enlite DLGF 9400.00, a 40 percent, 12-millimeter long glass-fiber-reinforced PP from Trinseo (Hall B5, Booth 3509), painted exterior components in Hifax 1235 from LyondellBasell Industries (Hall A5, Booth 5211), as a 30 percent talc mineral filled high modulus, low coefficient of thermal expansion (CLTE) thermoplastic elastomer modified olefin compound.
Guelph, Ontario-based Magna's Polycon received chassis category first place for a prototype carbon fiber composite front perimeter subframe developed as a structural element under the hood of the Ford Fusion car, produced in 2017 in a Tycos Tool & Die tool mounted on a press from Dieffenbacher in Eppingen, Germany. Global director material science Joseph Laux said 100 subframes had been produced in the United States and subframe testing has meanwhile commenced at Magna's plant in Sailauf, Germany.
The subframe has been produced in Magna's own EpicBlend molding compound — SMC — made with an Ashland LLC vinyl ester resin, reinforced with 50 percent chopped carbon fiber from Zoltek Corp. and with additional tailored reinforcement with selective EpicBlend noncrimp carbon fiber fabric prepreg co-molded with the SMC. The composite subframe replaces 45 steel parts with two molded and six steel parts while achieving 9.3 kilogram (34 percent) weight reduction over stamped steel.
Finally, Magna Exteriors (Bohemia) s.r.o. in Rochlice, Czech Republic, was awarded enabling technology first place for a torsional ultrasonic welding system used to apply park distance control sensor brackets in Sabic PPC 8650 to a 2.5 mm thin 2017 Skoda Octavia bumper fascia without needing to increase thickness in the welding area, as needed with conventional welding. This results in 10 percent weight reduction and eliminates welding area masking for painting.
Coburg, Germany-based molder Ros GmbH & Co. KG (Hall A5, Booth 5106) took the single powertrain award and grand innovation award for a 2015 Mercedes Benz four-cylinder diesel car's OM654 thermostat housing molded on an injection molding machine from Schwertberg-based Engel Austria GmbH (Hall A5, Booth 5204) in Ryton XE5030BL, a high-impact and impact-resistant 30 percent glass-fiber-reinforced blended polyphenylene sulfide from Solvay Specialty Polymers GmbH. The innovative aspect praised by the jury was molding the housing as a single part — something usually not considered being possible, the previous housing involved three parts.
Plastics News Europe established that this has been achieved with use of a complex slider system with sliders moving in different directions up to three levels (slider-in-slider-in-slider) to form complex undercuts.
Novem Car Interior Design GmbH won interiors first place for high-gloss wood-effect decorative trim on the BMW 2017 model year 5-series car, molded in a KraussMaffei machine in a rotating mold from Wirth Werzeugbau GmbH with a in-mold coating of Puroclear 2381 IT easy-release, self-healing polyurethane from Rühl Polymer GmbH (Hall B4, Booth 4303).
Lear Corp. won the interiors grand innovation award for cascade injection molded seat shells in Grivory GVL-5H HP and Grilamid TR30 from EMS-Chemie AG (Hall B2, Booth 2113), produced for an Opel 2017 model year car in a mold from Zhejiang Yusel Plastic & Mould Co. Ltd mounted on an injection molding machine from Haitian Plastics Machinery Group Co. Ltd (Hall A1, Booth 1101).
Structural components first place went to a Valeo Klima Systeme GmbH front-end carrier with an integrated air channel for the way in which the part is produced for a BMW car from September 2018, from two Bond Laminates GmbH (Lanxess Group) (Hall B4, Booth 4209) Tepex Dynalit organic sheet halves in a one-shot molding process in a mold from Frimo Sontra GmbH (Hall A1, Booth 1334) mounted on an injection molding machine from Engel Austria GmbH (Hall A5, Booth 5204).
Electronics/optical fist place was taken by automotive lighting equipment producer Hella GmbH & Co. KgaA and connector producer AVX Interconnect Europe GmbH for a universal turbo actuator high-temperature metal housing replacement application molded by Ansbach, Germany-based Oechsler AG in a mold from Cleebronn, Germany-based Ott GmbH & Co. KG. The two housing parts are laser welded together and produced in respectively laser transparent GF40-PPA and laser markable GF40-PA6T/6I from EMS-Chemie and used since January in serial production on Volkswagen and Renault cars.