Materials maker Covestro AG and molding technology firm X2F are working together to develop a thermally conductive automotive heat sink with in-mold electronics.
The new heat sink uses transformative controlled viscosity molding technology from Loveland, Colo.-based X2F. Application samples will be displayed at Covestro's booth at the K 2022 exhibition, Oct. 19-26 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Officials said the new product will be "a unique alternative" for automotive OEMs and processors who seek a replacement for cast aluminum heat-sinks that is both lighter and more affordable.
The new heat sink is molded from Makrolon-brand polycarbonate made by Covestro of Leverkeusen, Germany. The material is almost 50 percent lighter than the typical aluminum part. It's part of an in-mold assembly that can be used to integrate LED modules directly into the headlamp housing — eliminating the weight and labor associated with installation of brackets, screws and adhesives.
Officials said the X2F technology is production-ready and has been demonstrated in high-volume series manufacturing for other applications. Covestro Senior Marketing Manager Paul Platte said the new program involves using controlled viscosity molding by X2F to attach the LED module directly onto the thermally conductive heat sink without changing the heat sink adjuster module design.
"We are pleased with the outcome so far of the X2F project where we have recently seen enhanced thermal management performance compared to traditional injection molded processes," he added.
X2F's process allows sensitive electronics to be insert molded, providing functional integration, heat management, modularity and miniaturization.
"This innovative technology enables the manufacture of previously impossible-to-mold thermoplastic parts that provide step-change improvements for our customers," said Reza Garaee, X2F project manager.
He added that, for heat sinks, the technology "dramatically streamlines production, reduces manufacturing times, eliminates fasteners and pastes, and increases product design flexibility. … This can be a game-changer for OEMs."
X2F recently added a rotary table that reduces cycle times and allows higher-volume production for its controlled viscosity molding machine. The rotary table enables X2F to reach production volumes of up to 4 million parts per year with one unit, depending on the cycle time, for critical components in the electronics, automotive, industrial and medical industries.
Covestro is a global supplier of polycarbonate resins and films, thermoplastic polyurethane, PU materials and foams, and other specialty chemicals and materials. The firm employs almost 18,000 and posted sales of 15.9 billion euros ($16.2 billion) in its 2021 fiscal year.