LANXESS product can be used for automotive lightweight design

LANXESS product can be used for automotive lightweight design

Speciality chemicals company LANXESS produces Tepex dynalite continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite sheets. It can be used to manufacture even large, highly integrated structural components for automotive lightweight design. The Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV features a front-end support comprising two welded composite half-shells made from polypropylene-based Tepex dynalite 104-RG600(3)/47 percent sections measuring roughly 1.2 meters in length and 0.35 meters in width. Both shells are manufactured in a hybrid moulding process using an injection moulding tool with two cavities.

“This highly integrated one-shot manufacturing process is very cost-effective and enables short cycle times. The front-end support made from the shells weighs around 30 percent less than comparable designs made of sheet steel and boasts excellent crash performance and torsional stiffness,” says Henrik Plaggenborg, head of Tepex Automotive at the LANXESS High-Performance Materials (HPM) business unit.

The front-end support is the product of collaborative development by the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre, LANXESS and other industrial partners. Its hollow profile cross-section is the reason behind the outstanding crash performance of the component so critical to safety. Its good mechanical resilience is also demonstrated by the fact that the component does not need to be reinforced with sheet metal in the area around the hood latch, as is usually the case with purely injection-moulded front-end supports.

The front-end support features numerous openings and ducts for supplying fresh air to the engine. These are created by the injection moulding stage of the hybrid moulding process in combination with subsequent welding of the two half-shells. Reinforcing ribs, brackets, guide channels and openings for attachments and screw bosses are also directly integrated.

“Functional integration minimizes the number of components needed to manufacture the front-end support. That cuts down on logistical effort and makes subsequent assembly quicker and easier. This likewise helps to create a cost-effective solution,” says Tilmann Sontag, project manager at HPM’s Tepex Automotive group.

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