Frankfurt/Main-based TecPart, the association for mainly German producers of plastic technical parts within the overall GKV German plastics processors' association, presented 13 innovation awards to 10 of its member companies on Oct. 16.
• Rottenacker, Germany-based Etimex Technical Components GmbH was awarded for a heat exchanger for dishwashing machines.
This involves blow molding two unreinforced parts: a relatively flat body with large external radii and integrated channels to handle water removal, overflow and emergency emptying, as well as the body's internal snake-shaped heat exchanger duct.
An essential requirement is perfect sealing between the two parts. After the duct has been formed, it is inserted via a robot into a second blow molding machine.
After cutting off excess material, the part is finished by injection overmolding a bayonet fitting and connection supports made from 40 percent talc-filled polypropylene.
• The only thermoset plastic application awarded was the positive displacement pump part molded by Lommel, Belgium-based Helvoet Rubber & Plastic Technologies NV.
The part is molded in a phenolic resin-based compound from the Gent, Belgium-based Vyncolit NV. The Vyncolit PF-(MD+GF+CD)80 material uses glass fibers, mineral and graphite filling to obtain its high strength.
Helvoet says the pump part is significantly less expensive, more highly integrated and lighter than an equivalent in steel. The design reduces the number of components and process stages. It also requires no wear-resistant coating, and it outperforms similar parts made in acetal or nylon.
• Aitrach, Germany-based Klaus Kunststofftechnik GmbH was awarded for a chair thermoformed in recycled black recolored 8-millimeter-thick ABS twin sheets, which are heated and cooled simultaneously to ensure they can be precisely bonded together.
The chair is then processed further with five-axis CNC milling and assembly operations.
The chair represents an alternative to chairs produced out of wood or steel, with or without upholstery.
As the outer shell has undercuts around it, a complex slider system is used to ensure release from the thermoforming tool.
• Niederwürschnitz, Germany-based Koki Technik Transmission Systems GmbH received an award for a highly integrated plastic gear shift for high-performance cars.
The part was designed with simulation software from Würselen, Germany-based Simcon Kunststofftechnische Software GmbH and support from Dresden, Germany-based mold maker GK Concept GmbH, a part of the Busslingen, Switzerland-based Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG.
The gear shift part is injection molded in 40 percent short carbon fiber-reinforced polyphthalamide resin, together with additional reinforcement from continuous carbon fiber tape inserts.
The result is a material that is stronger than aluminum and 30 percent lighter, has similar thermal expansion coefficient as steel and sounds like metal when knocked. This material is a less expensive solution to use of high-performance thermoplastics, according to Koki Technik.
RFID sensors are integrated in the molding to provide information on the gear shift condition during driving.
A number of production and assembly operations that are typically needed for cast aluminum gear shifts have been eliminated, but complex mold tooling is required, as are a number of insert parts.
• Helmbrechts, Germany-based decorated parts molder Kunststoff Helmbrechts AG received three TecPart awards. Details are covered in the sidebar story, "Kunststoff Helmbrechts wins three TecPart awards."
• Langenargen, Germany-based plastics processor SE-Kunststoffverarbeitung & Co. KG was honored for B-column three-dimensional trim on a car produced since September 2017 by the BMW AG subsidiary Rolls Royce Motorcars Ltd.
The part also recently took a second place award from the Society of Plastics Engineers Central Europe Automotive Awards.
The trim is thermoformed in the Bayblend T65 grade of polycarbonate/ABS, then finished with additional plastic material applied by the fused deposition melting additive manufacturing process.
The part is then trimmed via computer numerically controlled milling and assembled into the final part with application of metal inserts, brackets and bushings.
• Wilthen, Germany-based Lakowa Gesellschaft für Kunststoffbe- & verarbeitung mbH was awarded for a rooftop-mounted emergency vehicle warning light unit applied to the Otaris rescue vehicle for Schönebeck, Germany-based Ambulanz Mobile GmbH & Co. KG, itself based on the Mercedes Sprinter vehicle.
The ready-to-mount unit is thermoformed in coextruded white ABS sheet, and it replaces an earlier hand layup design in fiber-reinforced thermosetting plastic, supported from underneath by several support structures, applied by adhesive.
The six red, blue and transparent lamp covers are polycarbonate.
• Heiligenroth, Germany-based LKH Kunststoffwerk Heiligenroth GmbH & Co. KG received an award for SUV vehicle air suspension components in a combination of 30 and 50 percent glass fiber-reinforced nylon 6/6, applied to an aluminum flange and a steel ring.
Due to the asymmetrical shape and high glass fiber content, Moldflow reverse engineering simulation studies were made to find the optimum injection points in order to minimize warping. A data-matrix code is applied to the finished part by laser marking, in order to provide traceability.
• Stuttgart, Germany-based Odelo GmbH was awarded for rear lighting on the Audi 6 car, involving single-, two- and three-component injection molding in ABS, polycarbonate, PC/ABS and acrylic.
The parts are assembled using ultrasonic welding equipment from Dietzenbach, Germany-based Branson Ultraschall — Niederlassung der Emerson Technologies GmbH & Co. OHG to form the complete housing.
Cadmould software and Varimos simulation software from Würselen, Germany-based Simcon kunststofftechnische Software GmbH ensured the precision needed for welding.
• As a regular recipient of TecPart awards, two awards went to Coburg, Germany-based Ros GmbH. One of them, for a ball-shaped rotating slider for engine coolant media volume flow control, is injection molded in a combination of 40 percent glass fiber-reinforced PPS and 30 percent glass fiber-reinforced PPS containing PTFE reduce friction and wear.
The separate toothed and ball-shaped parts are bonded together by ultrasonic welding. This part also won an SPE Central Europe Automotive Award on Oct. 14, when it was revealed that the part is used on a 2017 Volkswagen and that the PPS materials come from Düsseldorf, Germany-based DIC Europe GmbH.
Ros uses a molding machine from Lossburg, Germany-based Arburg GmbH + Co. KG to produce the parts.
The other TecPart award for Ros was for a water pump thermostat module in 30 percent glass fiber-reinforced nylon 6/6.
The part offered tooling challenges, namely effective interior temperature control and ease of release from the mold despite the presence of interior sliders moving across the part.