JSAE Exposition 2016： Cutting edge plastic technologies
Asahi Kasei, Kaneka, Sumitomo Chemical, Toray, Mitsui Chemicals, and more
The Automotive Engineering Exposition 2016 Yokohama was organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan and held at Pacifico Yokohama from May 25 through 27. This year's show was the largest ever, with 538 companies showcasing their technologies at 1,155 booths. The three-day exhibition drew approximately 87,000 attendees, slightly up year-over-year, and the event space was crowded down to the last day.
Companies exhibited a wide variety of materials and technological matters for at the expo that were extremely impressive. There were displays that presented PP, ABS resins, PMMA, and other general-purpose thermoplastics; excellent grades of engineering plastics like PA, polyoxymethylene (POM), PBT and PPS; and parts made from these resins. There were also a wide range of CFR(T)P-related exhibits, from materials to products that apply it. For plastic-related technologies, companies showed off techniques for decoration and bonding different materials. Moreover, interest in automated driving is growing, and exhibits of sensors and cameras were very conspicuous.
Weight reduction is one of the automotive industry's consistent and dominant challenges. This exhibition gave the impression that plastics will further increase in importance as an essential tool for weight reduction. This report will introduce key plastics-related exhibits displayed by plastic manufacturers and parts suppliers.
Plastic and chemical manufacturers: Asahi Kasei, Kaneka, Sumitomo Chemical, Toray, Mitsui Chemicals, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, and more
Asahi Kasei Chemicals Corporation: An ultra heat-resistant PMMA interior component; GF-reinforced PA cylinder head covers
The photo to the left shows an interior component made from ultra heat-resistant polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Ultra heat-resistant PMMA features:
1) High heat resistance surpassing that of standard-grade resins (deflection temperature under load: 108 to 118ºC, standard grade: 100ºC); and
2) High weather resistance and surface hardness.
Application examples: tail lamps, front grilles and other optical parts; components like meter clusters and interior panels in upper dashboard areas where high heat resistance is required.
The photo to the right shows cylinder head covers made from a glass fiber (GF)-reinforced polyamide (PA). In recent years, the temperature inside engine rooms has been rising for reasons including the downsizing of engines and installation of turbochargers. The covers use a GF-reinforced PA that exhibits superior strength and rigidity, as well as durable heat resistance.
Eastman Chemical Japan Ltd.: Sound-insulating interlayer film
Windshield containing PVB sound-insulating interlayer film (left)
A windshield containing a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sound-insulating interlayer film can be seen on the left in the photo.
Sound-insulating performance is growing in importance for the automotive industry. This is also the case for the cabin interior because of the promulgation of voice recognition, car navigation, and high performance audio systems. A windshield incorporating the company's Saflex Q series three-layer PVB sound-insulating interlayer film achieves a decrease of up to 3 decibels inside a vehicle cabin compared to conventional windshields. Noise will be decreased by 5 decibels if the film is also applied to every pane of side glass.
Ems-Chemie (Japan) Ltd.: A filament GF-reinforced PA part
Instrument panel carrier made from long glass fiber thermoplastic polyamide (LFT-PA)
The photo on the right shows a filament GF-reinforced PA instrument panel carrier.
An instrument panel carrier supports parts around a dashboard, and contributes to collision safety. The part that was displayed is made from long GF-reinforced PA with high strength and rigidity, whereas conventional instrument panel carriers are made by welding steel. As a result, this product is 30% lighter and achieves a 50% reduction in total cost. Additionally, the company displayed other PA materials and parts.
Kaneka Corporation: PC-PET slide-rail cover
PC-PET slide-rail cover
The photo on the left shows a slide-rail cover made from a polycarbonate-polyethylene terephthalate (PC-PET) composite.
This material is used for many exterior parts, and features high heat resistance, high rigidity, and low linear expansion. The highly fluid grade used for this product offers excellent liquidity and thereby meets thin wall design requirements. The high coefficient of elasticity and low linear expansion of the composite contributes to weight reduction. Kaneka also exhibited thermal conduction PET material, decorative film, and thermoconductive elastomer.
Sunwa Trading Corporation, LANXESS AG, and Bond-Laminates GmbH: CFRTP hybrid molding
CFRTP hybrid molding
The photo on the right shows a glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic (GFRTP) rear bumper beam adopted for Honda Motor Co., Ltd.'s Clarity Fuel Cell.
This rear bumper beam is a hybrid molding that was created using LANXESS AG's Tepex continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite sheet and a PA composite material. Tepex offers high strength and rigidity, and was adopted for a hybrid-molded rear bumper beam incorporating one-shot molding technology developed by Honda that the company claims is a world-first. Along with this the company showed various CFRTP hybrid moldings.
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.: Lamp peripheral parts made from super engineering plastics and an olefin adhesive resin
The photo on the left shows lamp peripheral parts made variously from a polyether sulfone (PES) resin and liquid crystal polymer (LCP). The lamp reflectors utilize PES for its high heat resistance and strength, while the lamp sockets take advantage of LCP’s heat resistance and electrical properties, and the lamp bezels its heat resistance and high rigidity. The photo on the right shows an aluminum deposited polypropylene (PP)-PET composite (right side) that has an environmentally-friendly olefin adhesive resin applied. PP has poor adherability, but this resin exhibits good adhesion with it and various other plastic substrates. The adhesive resin possesses the following characteristics:
1) Adherability even with mild heat treatment, and
2) Compatibility with environmentally-friendly non-chlorine aqueous materials.
Application examples: paint primers and bonding agents
Daicel-Evonik Ltd.: A power slide door rail and rear bulkhead
The photo to the left shows a power slide door rail. Noise is generated when metal sliding doors are opened or closed. This power slide door rail reduces that noise by coating it with PA 12 powder. When applied to door rails, PA 12 results in less slide hitting noise, a larger reduction in sound, and minimization of high-tones. The photo on the right shows a rear bulkhead made from a polymethacryl imide hard foamed substance. This substance is an in-mold foamed core material for composites and exhibits superior heat resistance and mechanical strength. It possesses the following characteristics:
1) Allows the insert of internal parts as needed; 2) High compressive strength and heat resistance at low density;
3) Compatibility with rapid curing processing; 4)Does not result in outgassing; 5)Includes no harmful ingredients; and 6) Fire resistance in conformity with DIN75200.
DuPont Group: Plastic engine mounting brackets and a curved switch plate
The photo on the left shows engine mounting brackets made from a GF-reinforced PA66 with high strength and rigidity. The company's proprietary CAE analysis technology was utilized to cut development time and costs for the parts. The plastic brackets are about 30% lighter than conventional aluminum die casting brackets, and offer reduced thermal conduction, which prevents thermal degradation of anti-vibration rubber parts.
The PA66 used in the parts features: 1) A high static load and strength to withstand engine torque stress; 2) Creep deformation resistance and fatigue characteristics; 3) NVH absorbing performance; and 4) Less thermal conduction to peripheral parts.
The photo on the right shows a curved switch plate. This switch plate has substrates made from PC and other resins, and circuits formed on the substrates by silver paste for three-dimensional circuit formation. Switch plates containing resins allow:
1) A curvy design that could not be achieved with conventional techniques; and,
2) Reduction of the number of components, simplification of production and assembly processes, weight reduction and downsizing.
Application examples: instrument panels/cockpits with switches and stylish switch plates
Toray Industries, Inc.: Hybrid long fiber pellets
The photo on the left shows hybrid long fiber pellets. Toray has been developing carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP). This pellet is a hybrid of carbon fibers and special fibers, and exhibits great impact resistance while maintaining strength, rigidity, and creep characteristics. This hybrid pellet is expected to have applications in automotive and other industries. The company is also developing the application of long fiber pellets to CFRTP.
The photo on the right shows a lithium-ion starter battery for motor cycles. The housing is made from a polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) resin that offers high strength and rigidity, as well as excellent chemical resistance. This battery has the following characteristics:
1) Vibration resistance, durability, environmental resistance, and safety; 2) Excellent starting characteristics; and 3) Weight reduction of about 40% compared to conventional lead-acid batteries.
Fujikura Rubber Ltd.: CFRP-rubber composites
The photo on the right shows CFRP-rubber composites. The company utilized its proprietary technology to integrally mold a tight-fit CFRP-rubber laminated material. Integration of the laminated material is achieved by simultaneously curing an epoxy resin, a matrix material for CFRP, and rubber. It has properties that are superior to those of CFRPs without rubber including quick vibration damping, wear resistance, anti-slipping, and insulation.
Mitsui Chemicals Group: Metal-resin integration technology and a bio-polyurethane foam seat
The photo to the left shows an ECU box made with Mitsui Chemicals' POLYMETAC™ metal-resin integration technology. POLYMETAC is a technology for bonding various metals and resins through injection molding. A special surface treatment is applied to metals by immersing them in chemical agents before injection molding. Bondable metals include Al, Mg, Cu, SUS, Ti, and Fe. Bondable resins include polyether ether ketone (PEEK), PPS, PA, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), PP, and PC. The photo on the right shows a bio-polyurethane foam seat. The plant-derived polyurethane foam is made from inedible castor oil. This material has properties required for automotive seats, and is combined with the company's proprietary material (special polypropylene glycol) to achieve a high degree of plant-content.
Mitsui Chemical Analysis & Consulting Service, Inc.
The photo on the left shows an image of a cellulose nanofiber (CNF) composite material taken with a transmission electron microscope (TEM). This is said to be the first time it was possible to observe the conditions within a CNF phase. The photo on the right shows a TEM image of the interface between a CF and CFRTP PA. The structure of the interface between the CF and polymer and the impact of the CF on the crystal structure of the polymer can be evaluated. These images are part of exhibitions that companies displayed to show their analysis technologies for automotive weight reduction. For example, there was an exhibition about testing plastic parts for durability.
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group: A bio-PC interior part and 3D circuit
The photo on the left shows an interior part made from a bio-PC resin. This resin takes on a bright hue when colored because of its excellent transparency. The bio-PC interior part takes advantage of the high surface hardness and scratch resistance of the PC resin.
The photo on the right shows a 3D circuit formed on a PBT part by the laser direct structuring (LDS) method. LDS has the following features:
1) A method to form circuits on formed parts made from the company's proprietary Novaduran grade PBT;
2) The ability to form circuits on 3D structural parts with complex geometries such as curved surfaces, edges and asperities;
3) Compatibility with LPKF Laser & Electronics AG's LDS technology; and
4) The capability to print circuit patterns with trace widths that are 400 μm or smaller.
Parts suppliers: Kasai Kogyo, DaikyoNishikawa, Toyota Auto Body, Yazaki Corporation, Bosch, Koito Manufacturing, Schaeffler, and more
Kasai Kogyo Co., Ltd.: A high-brightness metallic-color door trim
High-brightness metallic-colored door trim
The photo on the right shows a high-brightness metallic-color door trim. The company has developed injection molding technology that enables weldless forming of painting quality metallic resin. Kasai Kogyo used base technology for nanocomposite PP, its own expertise, and other applications. In so doing they achieved the spun-dyeing of metallic products with high brightness and gloss. The use of unpainted parts enables improved durability and environmental performance for automobile interior parts, and reduces their costs.
DaikyoNishikawa Corporation: Decorated interior parts
Decorated interior parts
The photo on the right shows decorated interior parts. The base material of these parts is an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin. The part in the middle was made using a hydrographic (wood-grain) printing process. The part on the upper right is covered with a glossy black coating.
Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.: Automotive parts made from CNFs
Automotive parts made from CNFs
The photo on the right shows a flowchart of cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production and automotive parts made from the material. The company says that by developing material created from plant matter with a light environmental burden, resin and wood meal can be tightly bonded to realize high rigidity and heat resistance. This CNF composite material has been the subject of a great deal of attention recently, and it will be worth watching how things turn out to see if it adopted for automotive applications.
Yazaki Corporation: "DTG7" digital tachograph
The photo on the right shows Yazaki Corporation's DTG7 digital tachograph. A digital tachograph is a system for automatically recording a vehicle's driving data such as travel time and speed and for storing the data on a memory card or other data storage medium. The DTG7 is equipped with an in-vehicle camera and thereby offers an event data recording function as well. The housing and other parts of the DTG7 are made from plastics like an ABS resin.
Robert Bosch GmbH: An AdBlue injection system for exhaust gas after-treatment using SCR technology
NOx emissions treatment system
The photo on the right shows an AdBlue injection system for exhaust gas after-treatment using selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx). This system is made up of components including a urea solution tank for NOx absorption, various adjunct systems, and sensors. Some of these components are made from engineering plastics. The advantages of the AdBlue injection system are:
1) Compliance with current and future emission regulations;
2) Optimized fuel consumption for diesel engines; 3) Suitability for fuel business model creation;
4) Cost reduction by means of supply module standardization; and 5) Minimum installation space and a design for high robustness.
Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp.: A thin control valve for turbocharger boost pressure
Air bypass valve for turbocharger
The photo on the right shows a thin control valve for turbocharger boost pressure intended for improved turbo engine drivability. This valve is composed of PEEK, PPS, and PA66 resins, which are arranged from the interior in descending order of heat and corrosion resistance. Molding the three different resins requires a complex and advanced molding technique. Features of the valve are:
1) Improved mountability due to downsizing and weight reduction technologies; and 2) High corrosion resistance resulting from resin molding.
Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd.: An ECU for headlight self leveling systems
ECU equipped with an acceleration sensor
The photo to the right shows an ECU for a new headlight auto leveling system. The ECU housing is made from PBT. Conventional auto leveling systems calculate vehicle orientation angle based on information from vehicle height sensors attached to axles to control the optical axis. The company's newly-developed system calculates the orientation angle of a vehicle based on information from a built-in acceleration sensor in the ECU to control the optical axis of the headlights. The new ECU is in volume production. It reduces the number of components and contributes to weight and cost reductions.
Schaeffler Japan Co., Ltd.: A thermal management module
Thermal management module
The photo on the right shows a thermal management module. The module is attached to the cooling system and manages water volume and distribution. The module housing is made from PPS with excellent resistance to heat and water. Its advantages are:
1) Improved fuel economy through proper maintenance of oil temperatures in engine and drive systems; and
2) Improved comfort through a prompt cabin temperature increase during cold starts.
Sumida Corporation: Rotor position sensor
Rotor position sensor
The photo on the right shows a rotor position sensor. This is an absolute position angle sensor for electric and hybrid vehicle motors. The sensor housing is made from PBT. Its advantages are:
1) Compliance with the Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) C;
2) A maximum operating temperature range of155ºC;
3) Automatic amplitude offset control; and
4) An 80% reduction in externally mounted parts.
Nippon Vinylon Co., Ltd.: PBT washer nozzles
The photo to the right shows washer nozzles made from PBT. Washer nozzles are installed near windshield wipers and allow the injection of water so that windshield wipers can clean windshields. The company's washer nozzles are available in either vibration diffusion or spray diffusion types. The company has recently developed wide-angle vibration diffusion type.
HKT Corporation: Magnetic valves
The photo on the right shows magnetic valves made from syndiotactic polystyrene. This resin is used because of its excellent hydrolytic properties.
TPR Co., Ltd.: An electric double-layer capacitor
Electric double-layer capacitor
The photo on the right shows an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC). EDLCs and secondary batteries are used as power sources in vehicles like electric and hybrid electric vehicles. EDLCs feature considerable charging capacity, high output and high-speed responsiveness, and are suitable for start up or climbing hills. The company's EDLC is a tabular cartridge and has a PP or PPS housing.
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